South Carolina’s Shi Smith had 10 receptions for 140 yards and one touchdown. Smith was gashing the Vols with a lazy slant pattern in the first half. There were times Smith was able to get behind safety help as well.
The Vols only gave up 100+ receiving yards to two wide receivers last season. One being Smith (156) and the other was Micah Simon from BYU.
Ty Chandler ended his night with 86 rushing yards on 13 carries with a long of 20. Chandler only eclipsed the 80-yard rushing mark twice last season with 85 yards against UAB and 154 yards against BYU.
Henry To’o To’o had a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown. Hank T was all over the field and accounted for six total tackles and one quarterback hurry.
Starting quarterback Jarrett Guarantano threw the ball 31 times against the Gamecocks. The 12th year started was 19/31 for 259 yards with one passing touchdown.
This marks back-to-back games where Guarantano has attempted 31 passes. Against Indiana, JG was 18/31 for 221 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions.
Linebacker Ernest Jones for South Carolina led all players with 11 total tackles. Jones was very active and cause problems all night for the Vols offensive line.
The 31-27 win over South Carolina marks eight of the last ten games in the series to be decided by a touchdown or less.
Josh Palmer led all Vols in receiving with six receptions for 85 yards and one touchdown. Palmer looked really good on one-on-one matchups and should be able to take advantage of other SEC corners.
The Vols have a seven-game win streak with the win over South Carolina, which is the longest active streak in the nation among Power 5 teams. The LSU Tigers had the longest streak, but they dropped their season opener to Mississippi State 44-34.
The Vols defense looked shaky to start the game. Once Deandre Johnson was able to put pressure on Collin Hill, the game started to change. Johnson finished with 2.5 sacks on the night.
On what was easily the biggest play of the night, Jimmy “The Jet” Holiday recovered a fumble in the closing seconds of the game. Paxton Brooks punted a bouncer that hit a South Carolina player in the leg.
That was a very “Tennesseeish” type of play. Luckily for the Vols, they were on the right end of the bounce this time.