Who: South Carolina Gamecocks — Columbia, SC
Distance From Knoxville: 263 miles
Head coach: Steve Spurrier (8th year, 66-37)
2013 Record: 5-1 (3-1)
Ranking: AP #11/USA Today #9
All time series: Tennessee leads 22-7-2
Last meeting: South Carolian won in Columbia last season 38-35
Leading Passer: Connor Shaw — 1,146 yards, 10 TD
Leading Rusher: Mike Davis — 742 yards, 9 TD
Leading Receiver: Bruce Ellington — 21 rec, 332 yards, 3 TD
At times this season the Gamecocks have looked like a top five team, at other times they’ve looked like a team that isn’t worthy of being ranked.
South Carolina, however, is capable of playing with anyone in the nation.
Quarterback Connor Shaw isn’t the flashiest guy in the nation, but he gets it done week after week.
Shaw, along with running back Mike Davis, provides the Gamecocks with an offense that can put points on the board in a hurry.
South Carolina moves the ball very effectively on the ground. They’re currently 19th in the nation in rushing yards per game (225.7).
Shaw will present another tough matchup for the Vols at the quarterback position. He’s not Marcus Mariota or Tyler Murphy, but Shaw can still get it done with his legs. The Vols have struggled against mobile quarterbacks this season.
Tennessee needs to contain Shaw in the pocket, if they plan on having a shot at winning this game.
If Tennessee can’t manage to generate a pass rush (which they’ve failed at doing so far this season), then they can kiss their hopes at limiting Shaw goodbye.
On the defensive side of things, Jadeveon Clowney will present matchup problems for the Vols.
Tennessee’s offensive line was able to contain Clowney for 59 minutes in their game last season. Unfortunately for the Vols, Clowney was able to break-through in the game’s final moments and got to Tyler Bray, forcing a fumble. That one moment of weakness from the Vols’ offensive line gave the victory to the Gamecocks.
Clowney has been highly scrutinized this season for not giving maximum effort.
You best believe Clowney will be “up” for this game, going against Antonio “Tiny” Richardson.
Clowney singled Richardson out as one of the best offensive linemen he’s went against in the SEC. He’ll definitely be giving it his all against Tennessee.
Despite what you’ve seen this season, Clowney is still a force to be reckoned with and the Vols will need to make sure they don’t overlook him.
Although I can’t imagine anyone (especially Butch Jones) overlooking Jadeveon Clowney.