South Carolina vs. Tennessee: Live Game Grades and Analysis for the Volunteers

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVOctober 19, 2013

Sep 28, 2013; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones during the second half against the South Alabama Jaguars at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee won 31 to 24. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee 23, South Carolina 21—Final

The Tennessee Volunteers topped a ranked opponent for the first time since 2009, beating the No. 11 South Carolina Gamecocks, 23-21.

Tennessee Volunteers Grades
Position Unit1st-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseBB+
Rush OffenseA-B
Pass DefenseB+B+
Rush DefenseB+B
Special TeamsAA
vs. South Carolina Week 8


Final Game Grades

Pass Offense: Justin Worley to Marquez North is just what the Vols needed to notch that signature win. They connected on a couple of big plays, including an against-the-odds circus catch to put the Vols in position to win.

Run Offense: The Vols were stagnant for much of the second half on the ground, but the rushing attack came through when they needed it most. Marlin Lane was a force in the red zone to set up Palardy's chip shot.

Pass Defense: Tennessee held Connor Shaw to 7-of-21 passing with a touchdown and a pick, and his inefficiency kept the Vols in the game down the stretch. A solid pass rush didn't hurt, either. 

Oct 19, 2013; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones (left) talks with South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier (right) prior to the game at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Run Defense: Mike Davis had a big day, with 21 carries and 137 yards for a score, and Shaw scrambled 19 times for 78 yards and his own touchdown. But UT stuffed the interior when it needed to.

Special Teams: Michael Palardy kicked a game-winning chip shot, but it was his punting advantage over Carolina's Tyler Hull that flipped the field consistently to give Tennessee a short field all game long.

Coaching: Butch Jones saved all three of his timeouts for Carolina's final drive, giving Worley the ball with a one-point deficit and three minutes left. It was all he needed, and it made Jones look like a genius. 


1st-Half Grades

Pass Offense: Justin Worley was a mere 5-of-11 for three yards in the first quarter but didn't throw an incomplete pass in the second quarter and connected on some big throws—including a six-yard score to Alton "Pig" Howard. 

Run Offense: "Rajion Lane" is in full effect. Feature back Rajion Neal had 16 carries for 57 yards and a score, while Marlin Lane acted as a change-of-pace back with four carries for 35 yards and some impressive runs. 

Oct 19, 2013; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Jacob Carter (87) is tackled by  South Carolina Gamecocks linebacker Sharrod Golightly (9) and linebacker T.J. Holloman  (11) during the first quarter at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credi
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Pass Defense: Other than a 76-yard touchdown from Connor Shaw to Damiere Byrd, the Vols completely shut down USC's passing attack. Shaw was 4-of-11 for 114 yards and constantly endured pressure. 

Run Defense: Mike Davis found daylight on a couple of occasions, but Tennessee's front seven stuffed up the middle many a time. Davis had 11 carries for 83 yards, but the mobile Shaw (8 CAR, 9 YDS) couldn't get free. 

Special Teams: Michael Palardy looks more and more like a Ray Guy Award finalist, hitting a 64-yard punt and consistently giving the Vols a field-position advantage by pinning the Gamecocks back deep. 

Coaching: A late Butch Jones timeout prevented what looked like a Gamecock touchdown, and Steve Spurrier's squad eventually missed a field goal resulting from it. That's called making your timeouts count.


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