South Carolina Upsets Tennessee 24-21

South Carolina Upsets Tennessee 24-21

Three years after Butch Jones snagged his signature win against a ranked South Carolina team, a new Gamecock coach received a signature win over Jones and his Vols. Coach Will Muschamp and the South Carolina Gamecocks now sit at 4-4 overall, 2-6 in conference play. Spirits are higher than they’ve been in over two years in Columbia after this upset.

Who Takes the SEC East?

Up on good ol’ Rocky Top, things aren’t looking nearly as festive. The Gators now sit comfortably in the driver’s seat of the SEC East. Saturday night’s loss handed the Vols three defeats in the SEC.

For the Gamecocks, it’s the same song but with a much different melody. Three years ago, Tennessee knocked them out of contention for the elusive Georgia Dome. Saturday night, Coach Muschamp returned the favor.

It wasn’t all quite so easy, however. Chris Lammons was ejected for throwing a few punches in the first half. In the second half, the Gamecocks saw a targeting penalty. The Vols ran a kick back for a quick and easy seven, and Jake Bentley‘s pocket was often unable to protect him.

Jake Bentley

As any sports fan will tell you, however, an ugly win beats a pretty loss any day of the week. Jake Bentley completed 75% of his 20 passes for 167 yards. He made showed surprising agility for his size as well, netting a few key run plays.

Though he should still be playing high school football, he looked like comfortable on the field. Bentley demonstrated poise and maturity beyond his years. Though plagued by sacks, he never quit. His passes and scampers reminded the Gamecock faithful of former quarterback Connor Shaw before him.


The freshman’s counterpart, senior Vol quarterback Josh Dobbs, passed for five fewer yards at 162. The difference came in the form of turnovers. Dobbs threw two interceptions alone and only completed 12 out of 26 passes. Tennessee’s normally potent running game was hampered. Injured tailback Alvin Kamara never saw the field, and Jalen Hurd looked sluggish.

Although Tennessee never led, a trend continued: the game was settled by a mere three points. This signature win puts Will Muschamp at 5-0 against Tennessee. Jones now sits at 0-3 against Muschamp 3-1 versus South Carolina, his first loss to the Gamecocks in his four-year career in Knoxville.

Looking Forward

A bowl bid, once so far away, now seems nearly manageable. South Carolina hosts a 2-6 Missouri squad next weekend, and still has lower division Western Carolina remaining on the schedule. Wins over those two teams would eclipse the six wins necessary to go bowling.

Between Mizzou and WCU, the Gamecocks have a date with the Gators in Muschamp’s old stomping grounds. Of course, there’s also the season finale up against their in-state rival, Clemson.

Hope, recently all but gone, now shines anew down in Gamecock country. South Carolina has leadership under center, and some momentum entering the final third of the season.

It’s no doubt a long, rough road back up to the top. South Carolina has a long, hard path ahead of them. However, they look to be headed in the right direction. The Gamecock football program is on the road to recovery.

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