Vols defeat Gamecocks 45-20
Tennessee improves to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in SEC play
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Tennessee Volunteers are taking on the South Carolina Gamecocks in Neyland Stadium this afternoon.
The Vols are coming off a big win at Missouri last weekend.
Festivities Saturday included the return of UT legend Al Wilson, who will be honored at halftime as an electee for the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame. Wilson will join Heupel and the team for the Vol Walk, which begins at 9:45 a.m.
In addition, the Volunteers will wear their Nike “Dark Mode” black alternate uniforms. It’s the first time Tennessee is going with the black jersey’s since 2009 and their win over these very Gamecocks.
Vols win the toss, but defer tll the 2nd half. Gamecocks start from the 25 yard line. CarQB olina picks up five yards on swing pass on first down. A second down pass is incomplete and on 3rd and 10 following a false start, QB Luke Doty goes back to the air and is forced to scramble picking up just 6 yards and forcing a Carolina punt.
A 13 yard return of the 51 yard punt by Velus Jones sets up the Vols at their own 34 yard line. Hendon Hooker at quarterback and his short pass over the middle to Jones is incomplete. The next pass to Velus in the flat almost goes the distance as UT gets to the Gamecock 42. On 3rd and 1 at the 33, Tiyon Evans bulls his way forward for the first down. Vols found themselves in another 3rd and short and again it’s Evans picking up the necessary yardage, but on the next play Hooker is sacked back to the 24, where it was 2nd and 15. A completition to jalin Hyatt and short run by Evans picked up another first down. First and goal at the 9. The Vols would be faced with a 3rd and goal at the 3, and from there it’s Hooker with a beautiful strike on a slant pattern to South Carolina native Jalin Hyatt who hauls it in for the first TD of the game. McGrath’s PAT is good as the Vols take 7-0 with 9:18 remaining in the 1st quarter.
After a penalty on the kick return South carolina starts fits neext drive from the 13. Two 9 yard gaines gets them quickly to the 31 yard line. An incomplete screen pass and the deep pass would set up a 3rd and 10, and tennessee brought the pressure and sacking Luke Doty for a loss of six yards was senior Matthew Butler forcing another Carolina punt and another good return by Velus Jones.
Vols start their second possession from their own 43 yard line. A jet sweep to Velus Jones gains 15 yards and gets UT into Carolina territory. From there it’s Hooker going up top to Javonta Payton who was wide open in the end zone. The play covers 39 yards and a touchdown for Tenenssee. It’s Payton’s 4th game ina row with TD reception of 25 yards or more. Vols lead 14-0 with 6:46 remaining in the 1st quarter.
South carolina picks up good yardage on first down but then faces a 3rd and 4 at the UT 47, which they pick up on an 11 yard pass from Doty to TE Traevon Kenion. Another pass complettion and then 11 yard run sets up carolina with a 1st down at the UT 13. Injured on the play was Tenenssee lineman Ja’Quain Blakely.
Faced with a 2nd and goal at the UT 2 yard line carolina turns to the trick play with Doty getting it to Jalen Brooks who throws it into the end zone, but this time the Vols were ready. Jaylen McCollough intercepts the pass and the ball goes over on downs to UT.
The Vols waisted no time in driving back down the field. A deep pass from Hooker to Velus Jones gets Tennessee down to the South Carolina 11 yard line. On the next play it’s Hooker calling his own number rushing it in for another Vols touchdown. PAT makes it 21-0 Volunteers with :58 left in the 1st quarter. What a turn around and a big deflating sequence for the Gamcocks who thought they were about to pull to within 7, but now trail by 21 points on the road.
South Carolina fumbles the ensuing kickoff and it’s recovered by the Vols. Then with Tennessee facing a 3rd and 7 at the Gamecock 21, Hooker hits Velus Jones on the near sideline and the senior does the rest. For the second straight week, the Vols have scored 28 first quarter points. That’s 90 points in the last five quarters of football. 28-0 Vols at the end of the 1st quarter.
The next carolina possession, first of the second quarter was not much better. a sack on 3rd down forced a 4th and 20 from their own 26 and another punt. The Vols will start their first drive of quarter number two from their own 35 yard line.
The Vols would be held to a three and out and their first punt in a couple games. Paxton Brooks would boom it and push the Gamecocks back to their own 5 yard line. Alontae Taylor just missed a pick-6 and on 3rd and 13 at the 26 Carolina connects on the quick slant pass, but the play comes up short of the first down forcing another Gamecock punt. Velus Jones would call for a fair catch of the 42 yard kick at his own 34 yard line.
Hooker is sacked on 1st down bringing up a 2nd and 14. A short run would leave UT with a 3rd and 8 at the 40, Hooker would thread the needle and hit Cedric Tillman with a strike into Carolina territory at the 45 yard line. The Tennessee offense back in business once again. On the next play out of the shotgun, Tiyon Evans gets the handoff from Hooker, heads right up the middle and to the end zone. 45 yard TD run for the transfer who ran one from 92 yards out last week. The Vols absolutely lambasting the Gamecocks 35-0 with 5:40 remaing before halftime.
South Carolina would take the kickoff and put together their second good drive of the ballgame, once again moving into the red zone. This time the visitors convert and running back Kevin Harris takes it in from the 6 yard line. The PAT was good making the score 35-7 Tennessee late in the 2nd quarter.
The Vols would get one more possession before the brak and make the most of it. A couple quick passes to Velus Jones on the near sideline and then a couple hard nosed Tiyon Evans runs would help get UT down to the Carolina 20 yard line. On 3rd and 5 and with a lot of pressure in his face, Hendon Hooker eludes the rush and runs for the 1st down to the Gamecock 11 yard line. Chase McGrath would then come it to attempt a 25 yard FG and and the kick was good as time expried. Vols lead the Gamecocks 38-7 at intermission.
The 2nd half would start with the two teams exchanging punts. The Vols would start their second drive at their own 14 yard line and it would go well. The Vols would lose yardage on their first two plays and facing a 3rd and 12 at the 12, Tiyon Evans run for 8 yards. On 4th and 4 the Vols would punt it back to the Gamecocks, who take over from their own 4o yard line.
Gamecocks run a fake punt when Kai Kroeger airs it out to Payton Mangrum for the 44 yard touchdown and Gamecocks now trail the Vols 38-14in the 3rd.
Tennessee constinues to struggle on offense in the second half. After picking up one first down, the drive stalls again. On the drive tailback Tiyon Evans would go down with an injury. Vols came into the game banged up at running back, and now Evans is down and getting looked at by the training staff.
The Vols would punt it back to the Gamecocks who would promptly move back down the field into Tennessee territory. Tyler Baron would come up with a big sack of Luke Doty and then the Vols tackled RB Kevin haarris for a one yard loss forcing a 3rd and 18 at the UT 37, under pressure, Doty would scramble and pick up the first down to the Tennessee 15 toend the 3rd quarter.
Gamecocks start the 4th quarter in the UT red zone. On 3rd and goal from the three RB Kevin Harris is stopped short at the one. The Gamecocks go for it on 4th and goal at the one and this time Harris gets in for the touchdown. a 4:32, 80 yard drive pulls the Gamecocks to within 18 after the two point conversion is failed. Doty intercepted in the end zone by Tennessee’s Alontae Taylor.
Problems continue in the 2nd half for Hendon Hooker and this Tennessee offense. Another score here by the Gamecocks and it’s a game. Evans did not return in that last series replaced by R-Fr. Len’Neth Whitehead. South Carolina now with 6 sacks on the afternoon.
Facing a 4th and 11 on their 36 South Carolina decides to go for it. A false start penalty makes it 4th and 16 at the 31, Pressured, QB Luke Doty tucks it and runs, but comes up short at the Vols 41, where Tennessee takes over on downs. Vols defense dodges a bullet and gets off the field in a key situation.
On 3rd and 7, QB Hendon Hooker would run 21 yards to the South Carolina 17. A face mask penalty would take the ball half the distance to the goal to the Carolina 8 yard line. On 3rd and goal at the 2, Hooker hands the ball to Len’Neth Whitehead who powers his way into the end zone for Tennessee’s first score of the 2nd half. The TD makes it 45-20 Big Orange with 4:45 remaining in the game.
The Tennessee defense would come up with another big 4th down stop indide their own territory. Vols take over on downs and seal the win. 45-20 is the final as Tennessee improves 4-2 overall and 2-1 in SEC play with lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss Rebels coming to town next saturday night.
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