After a big win in Neyland Stadium last week, this week’s matchup sees the Vols on the road for the annual installment of the Tennessee vs. South Carolina game series. The 9-1 Vols kick off against the 6-4 Gamecocks at 7:00 PM EST on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium and on ESPN.
Tennessee vs. South Carolina: Last Week Recapped
Following their victory against the Missouri Tigers last week, the Vols are looking to land their tenth victory this year.
Tennessee’s win over Missouri saw the Vols’ star offense hit a program-record 724 yards with all-star performances from several players including Hendon Hooker, Joe Milton III, Bru McCoy, Jalin Hyatt, Jabari Small, and Dylan Sampson. While the defense had some shaky moments in the first half of the game, the 66-24 final score was another solid win for the Vols.
South Carolina finished last week with a win too, in a 38-27 victory at Vanderbilt but overall the Gamecocks have had a wobbly season so far. Despite wins over A&M and Kentucky and a brief spot in the top 25 ranked teams, South Carolina has struggled this year, most notably in a 38-6 loss to the Florida Gators.
Related Article: Tennessee vs. Missouri: Vols Final Home Game for 2022
Tennessee vs. South Carolina: The Miniseries
In the Tennessee vs. South Carolina game series, the Vols have won the last three matchups including a 45-20 shellacking in Neyland Stadium last season. But for the Vols, trips to Columbia can also be tricky; their past five trips to Williams-Brice Stadium have seen South Carolina claim victory three times (2012, 2016, 2018), with all five matchups being clenched by four points or less.
Despite the historic shakiness of the Vols’ trips to Columbia, this year’s offense is rock solid and lightning fast. The Gamecocks defense has struggled over the last two weeks, so Hendon Hooker should have ample opportunity to showcase his full skillset on Saturday. While Coach Heupel didn’t have a firm answer on Monday regarding Cedric Tillman’s status this week, he was optimistic about his chances of returning to the field on Saturday. The Vols didn’t require Tillman for their victory over Missouri but if he’s back to face South Carolina the Vols are all the more likely to score the style points they need to be considered for a playoff spot.
Can Tennessee Make The Playoffs?
It is imperative that the Vols win by a significant margin this weekend. They won’t make an appearance in the SEC Championship game so they’ll basically need to blowout the Gamecocks and blow away the CFP Selection Committee. This isn’t an impossible task.
There is really no question of whether or not Tennessee can win this game because they are the better team. But this year, they’re playing under more pressure than in seasons past–to have a shot at the playoffs, they have to win this one. And of course, they know that.
Tennessee vs. South Carolina: Betting Odds
Unsurprisingly, Tennessee is heavily favored among oddsmakers. Per FanDuel Sportsbook, the spread is -21.5 for the Vols. If you’re betting this week, take Tennessee to cover the spread. As they’ve shown all season long they’re capable of winning under pressure–and they’re having fun doing it.
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