1. What big plays on special teams will occur for South Carolina?
Here is where South Carolina can defy everything on paper and give Tennessee football a game. Shane Beamer has continued the family legacy of Beamerball with his first head coaching job, and this is the big reason the Gamecocks are 6-4 on the year despite all the stats suggesting they should be much worse.
South Carolina is No. 5 in yards per kickoff return at 25.82. Leading the charge for them there is Xavier Legette, who is averaging over 31.5 yards a kickoff return and run one back for a touchdown. They are also No. 5 in yards per punt return at 16.93, and they have blocked two punts and returned them for touchdowns.
The Vols are top 15 in yards per punt return and have taken another step forward with Dee Williams, but that’s their only major advantage. They have allowed a punt to be blocked, they muffed a punt return, and they allowed an onside kick to be recovered.
Now, none of this has happened since their bye, but they have missed two extra points since then, and field goal kicking has been inconsistent. Simply put, South Carolina has a huge advantage here. They had a fake punt for a touchdown against Tennessee football last year. To make sure this is a blowout, the Vols have to neutralize this advantage.