Vols cook up chicken feast with win over South Carolina
Published 5:51 pm Monday, October 2, 2023
KNOXVILLE – There is nothing worse than getting a bad taste in one’s mouth from chicken and for the Tennessee Volunteers, all they have tasted since last season was some spoiled gamecock thanks to South Carolina’s 63-38 win in Columbia.
Saturday wearing dark mode uniforms before a sellout-frenzied Neyland Stadium of 101,915 mainly Tennessee fans, the Vols did just that as they dealt the visiting Gamecocks a 41-20 defeat to get a measure of revenge from last season.
Tennessee amassed 477 yards of total offense in the game as quarterback Joe Milton completed 21-of-32 passes for 239 yards and one score. He was also picked off twice. Volunteer running backs accounted for 40 rushes to the tune of 238 yards.
The Vols led 24-10 at the halftime break before South Carolina cut the lead down to 14 points on two occasions in the second half trailing 31-17 and 34-20 before the Vols salted it away for good with 4:09 remaining to play in the contest as Dylan Sampson pushed across a six-yard rushing score and Charles Campbell added the final point on his PAT.
Tennessee suffered a huge loss in the game, however, as star wide receiver Bru McCoy suffered a horrendous injury in the first half as the senior broke and dislocated his ankle on a play. McCoy was carted off the field to the crowd’s chant of ‘Bru’.
Jaylen Wright led the way on the ground for the Vols with 16 rushes for 123 yards and a score, while Jabari Small finished with 11 carries for 59 yards and a score. Sampson added nine carries covering 49 yards and a score, while Squirrel White had one carry for five yards.
South Carolina was led by quarterback Spencer Rattler who completed 24-of-35 passes good for 169 yards and had one interception returned for a touchdown by Kamal Hadden covering 28 yards. Rattler also carried the ball 11 times for a net gain of 19 yards and one score.
Running back Mario Anderson carried the ball 10 times for the Gamecocks, covering 101 yards and a score, with 75 of those yards coming on a broken coverage by the Tennessee line allowing the fleet-footed Anderson to break free for the long score.
Defensively for Tennessee, Elijah Herring, Jaylen McCollough, and Wesley Walker each recorded five tackles to lead the Vols. Aaron Beasley added four stops.
Jalon Kilgore and DQ Smith led South Carolina in double-digit tackles with 15 and 12, respectively.
Tennessee will enjoy a much needed bye week and then return to action on October 14 when they host the Aggies of Texas A&M. The game time has yet to be released for that game.