9. How many big plays will the Vols generate?
Everything about Tennessee football’s offense is big plays. The Vols lead the nation in 30-yard pass plays with 35. Nobody else has 28. They also lead in 40-yard pass plays with 22, 50-yard pass plays with 12 and 60-yard pass plays with seven. Josh Heupel likes to lure teams to sleep and then strike big.
South Carolina, however, is actually pretty decent at limiting big plays. They are No. 8 in fewest passing plays of 30 yards or more allowed with just eight, and they are tied for No. 15 in fewest pass plays of 40 yards or more allowed with five. Simply put, they don’t give up the big play.
That should make this an interesting matchup. Jalin Hyatt being from South Carolina and Cedric Tillman returning to form will be storylines among the Vols’ receivers, as both will look to hit some big plays, but it’ll actually be tougher for them in this one than it usually is.
Of course, the Vols have proven they can move the ball down the field even if you take away the big play, as they did against the Kentucky Wildcats, but having it certainly helps. As a result, keep an eye on what happens here. Taking away the big passing gains could be South Carolina’s first step to making this a game.