In case you missed it, the Tennessee Volunteers were able to overcome the South Carolina Gamecocks in Neyland Stadium last Saturday. Senior leader Jauan Jennings was able to lead the team to a dominant 41-21 victory in Knoxville. In the process, the Vols were able to finally shed a long standing stigma. They were able to defeat a Will Muchamp coached football team. Coming into the contest, fans were well aware their beloved program was 0-7 against the coach. That record stood through an infamous stint at rival Florida as well as his current tenure at divisional opponent South Carolina. After the long awaited win, Tennessee fans took aim at Muschamp across social media.
A Peculiar Rivalry
The swift attack on the besieged coach was not your typical post-game jabs from an excited fan base. The rivalry between Muschamp and the Tennessee faithful dates back to his time as head coach of the Florida Gators. Muschamp took over for Urban Meyer amidst some turmoil in 2010. despite this, he was able to extend the much maligned “streak” over the Vols to nine by 2014. Facing a potential double digit losing streak, the Vols took on the Gators in a defensive struggle in Knoxville. It was the first of several “Checker Neyland” games. Despite a fourth quarter Tennessee lead and raucous crowd, the Gators scored 10 unanswered points to steal a win 10-9. After the victory, an elated yet embattled coach took an uncensored jab at the rival fan base.
The Feud Continues
While Muschamp was able to maintain the winning streak against the Vols, his tenure in Gainesville would ultimately be deemed a failure. At the end of that same 2014 season, Muschamp would be fired after a disappointing 7-6 season. Still, that would not be the end of the saga of Muschamp versus the Vols. After spending a year on the plains as defensive coordinator of Auburn, he was given the opportunity to return to the ranks of SEC head coaches. He was hired in 2015 to turn around the South Carolina program after the sudden decline of legendary coach Steve Spurrier.
Muschamp did not take much time to draw the ire of Tennessee fans once again. In his first season in Columbia, Muschamp’s Gamecocks were able to single-handedly end the Volunteers hopes of an SEC East championship. Ironically, after Tennessee ended “the streak” against the Gators earlier that season, it would be Muschamp who would place Florida back in the driver seat for the East. After humbling, tough losses to no. 8 Texas A&M and no. 1 Alabama, a battered Tennessee team fell to the unranked Gamecocks 24-21 in Columbia for their third straight loss. It would be the beginning of the end of the Butch Jones era.
Tennessee Fans get Revenge on Muschamp
Finally, after two more narrow losses to Muschamp’s Gamecocks in 2017 and 2018, the Vols were able to get the elusive victory in a decisive manner last weekend. Despite extensive injuries at quarterback, Tennessee was able to have their way against the Gamecock’s secondary. Senior receivers Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway each had over 100 yards receiving and touchdowns of over 40 yards. The Vols scored 24 unaswered points in the second half as they shut out the Gamecocks offense. Shortly after the game, Tennessee fans gleefully took aim at Will Muschamp, unleashing half a decade of frustration at the coach.
. @CoachWMuschamp AINT IT GREAT TO SEE ALL THESE PEOPLE OUT HERE GETTING DISAPPOINTED??? I LOVE IT
— Recovering Vol Fan (@DrunkVolFan) October 26, 2019
FINAL: Tennessee blows past South Carolina in the 2nd half, winning 41-21 over the Gamecocks.
The Vols end their losing streak to the Gamecocks and Will Muschamp.
Vol fans: "It's great to see Will Muschamp out here getting disappointed."
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) October 26, 2019
Apart from the stunning upset of Georgia in Athens, the Gamecocks 2019 season has largely been a disappointment. South Carolina followed up the big victory with increasingly frustrating losses to divisional opponents Florida and now Tennessee. Now, Coach Muschamp now may find himself on an all too familiar hot seat. Many Tennessee fans would love nothing more than to see the loss in Knoxville be the beginning of the end.
South Carolina fans wanted to build a statue of Muschamp after they beat Georgia, but now just 2 weeks later they want him fired.
ya hate to see it. 🤣
— Lace ✨ (@lace_jay_bee) October 27, 2019
For Coach Jeremy Pruitt, he has now accomplished something that neither of the past two coaching staffs in Knoxville could. The undefeated Will Muschamp saga was a cloud over the program that needed to be dispersed. Now, the program can look to move forward. With the win this weekend, Tennessee looks to turn around a season that was left for dead just last week. The remaining schedule for Tennessee is manageable. A bowl game should once again be the bar to reach to see improvement in year 2 under Pruitt. Tennessee will take on UAB next weekend, November 2nd, as the Vols look to move one step closer to a bowl game. Still, look for Tennessee fans to revel in this victory just a little longer. After all, they waited 5 long years for this one.