Tennessee (3-2, 0-2 SEC) plays host to South Carolina (4-2, 2-2 SEC) in a pivotal SEC East matchup on Saturday. The game provides an opportunity for the Vols to bounce back after a 41-0 trouncing to No. 4 Georgia before their bye week, while the Gamecocks are looking to keep momentum from a 48-22 win over Arkansas a week ago. Let’s look at the matchup by the numbers.
0 – The number of times Butch Jones has beaten Will Muschamp. It’s also the number of times Tennessee has beaten Will Muschamp. Jones is 0-3 against him, with two losses coming during Muschamp’s tenure at Florida and the other last season in Columbia. Muschamp beat the Vols twice as Florida’s head coach before Jones rolled into Knoxville.
1 – The number of games this season in which Tennessee won the turnover battle. That game came against Georgia Tech, when the Vols came up with two takeaways and didn’t turn the ball over. Since then, teams have turned Tennessee over 10 times compared to the Vols’ four takeaways. Tennessee needs to win the turnover battle against a South Carolina team that can score points.
2.7 – The average yards per play the Vols put together against Georgia. Butch Jones elected to start redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano for the first time in his career, hoping that the change might inspire a currently sluggish offense.
3rd – South Carolina’s +7 turnover margin is good enough for third in the conference, so getting those takeaways won’t be easy. The Gamecocks have forced 13 turnovers, with a balanced seven fumble recoveries and six interceptions.
6 – The number of both touchdowns and interceptions former starter Quinten Dormady has thrown so far this season. Neither number is impressive.
7 – The number of losses in its last nine SEC games the Vols will have with a loss to South Carolina on Saturday. Since a loss to Texas A&M in College Station last year, the Vols’ only conference wins have come against Kentucky and Missouri.
10 – The jersey number of hybrid South Carolina Skai Moore, who is one of the best defenders in the conference. Moore is second all time in career interceptions for the Gamecocks with 13, and he’s second on the team in both tackles and tackles for loss. Guarantano and the Vol offensive line have to account for him at all times.
12 – The number of completions Guarantano has thrown this season. Six of those came against Georgia, though they combined to go for just 16 yards. The young starter has to be wary of the defensive wrinkles that Muschamp and company will throw at him come game time.
19.4 – The average number of rushes per game for John Kelly this year. With the pass game struggling and a mobile quarterback holding the reigns, this number may increase with the Vols looking to lean on the ground game.
31.3 – The average number of pass attempts per game Jake Bentley has had in the 2017 season. The Gamecocks haven’t been dominant on the ground, so it’s no secret what they’re going to go to: Bentley and his throwing ability.
104th – Out of 129 ranked FBS teams, Tennessee is 104th in third-down conversion defense. Teams are converting third downs against the Vols over 43 percent of the time, better than only South Carolina (ironically) and Missouri in the SEC.
152- The number of receiving yards South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst has racked up in the past two games. Hurst is one of the best at his position in the SEC, and Bentley loves going to him.
242.7 – The average number of passing yards per game Bentley has this year. The Vols’ have good passing defense ranks, but only because teams have chosen to run the ball against them. The Gamecocks will test Tennessee in ways the Vols haven’t really been tested in yet.
328 – Days since Tennessee’s last SEC win, a 63-37 barn-burner over Missouri.
1667 – The number of total yards the Vols’ offense has accumulated this season. That’s compared to the 1909 total yards the Vols have given up to opponents. That 1667 total yardage rounds out to about 333 yards a game, good enough for 109th in the country. If the offense doesn’t start moving in the right direction, there won’t be much offensive movement at all.