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

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South Carolina vs. Tennessee: Live Game Grades and Analysis for the Volunteers
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 Unit 1st-Half Grade Final Grade
Pass Offense B B+
Rush Offense A- B
Pass Defense B+ B+
Rush Defense B+ B
Special Teams A A
Coaching A- A-

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. 

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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. 

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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