South Carolina-Tennessee: 5 Keys To a Gamecocks Victory

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South Carolina-Tennessee: 5 Keys To a Gamecocks Victory
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

South Carolina renews its Halloween rivalry this week with the Tennessee Volunteers with revenge on the brain from last year's thumping. 

This year will be a totally different picture. 

Yes, the University of Tennessee is THAT bad.  Any SEC team can win a game against anyone...as UT showed against LSU a few weeks back.  However, it would take Tennessee's absolute best showing and against the "bad" Carolina team (that admittedly shows up a few times per season).

However, Carolina doesn't lose often at home...it will take a minor miracle for UT to win this game.

Position South Carolina Advantage Even Tennessee Advantage
Quarterback X
   
Running Backs/Fullbacks X
 
Wide Receivers X
   
Offensive Line X
   
Defensive Line X
 
Linebackers X
   
Defensive Backs X

 
Special Teams X
 

Coaching X

 

I don't think that anyone would argue that at this point, South Carolina is superior in almost every fashion. 

Here are they keys to a Gamecocks victory.

 

1.  Come Focused and Prepared. 

Even though Tennessee is having a down year, they do have weapons.  If they play lights out, they can give South Carolina a game, especially if South Carolina comes in complacent.

This is right about the time South Carolina begins to struggle.  It is time for them to reverse course.  Treat this game like a big-time SEC game, and they should be fine.  Come in feeling like it will be a walk, and the nation will be talking about another SEC upset.

 

2.  Wrap up Tauren Poole...No Arm Tackles or "Big Hits"

Tauren Poole has been a nice story for the Volunteers this season.  He rushed for 118 yards and 8.3 yards per carry in the Alabama loss.  That is impressive.

He has the tendency to break tackles and make people miss.  However, if South Carolina maintains positioning and keeps him from reaching the second level, the Gamecocks could completely shut down the offense.

 

3.  Continue to Work in More Man-to-Man Coverage on Defense.

It still wasn't always pretty in a win over Vanderbilt, but there was a noticeable difference in the pass defense.  There was more man coverage, and less of the zone that has apparently been confusing the Gamecock defensive backs.

There is talent at UT at wide receiver and at quarterback...but they don't have the experience to win a game on their own. 

 

4.  Keep the Sack Machine Going

South Carolina is currently on top of the SEC in sacks.  They have monstrous athletes at defensive end and defensive tackle.

If they can get into young Matt Simms' head early, it could be an even rougher outing than the one they had against Alabama.

 

5.  Throw It to Alshon...Early and Often

There is no depth at Tennessee in the defensive backfield.  South Carolina should be able to torch the Volunteers through the air.  Alshon could have over 200 yards receiving by the end of the day.

Also, don't discredit the improved play of Tori Gurley.  If he becomes a more consistent factor in the passing game, look for South Carolina's offense to be extremely difficult for anyone to stop.

 

Prediction:  South Carolina wins in easy fashion, 38-10.

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