4. South Carolina’s ability to intercept passes vs. Vols’ ability to avoid interceptions
Both of these teams have a huge strength here, and South Carolina has to win on this battle. Doing so will be tough. Tennessee football is tied for fourth in fewest interceptions on the year with three. Hendon Hooker himself has only thrown two, one at Georgia and another one against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
There’s no shame in throwing a pick in those games. On the other side, though, South Carolina is elite, and yes, we mean elite, at intercepting passes. The Gamecocks are No. 21 nationally in interceptions with 11 on the year. It’s a huge part of their game, and if they can take advantage in this one somehow, they could make this interesting.
Of course, one issue with this is the fact that South Carolina’s interception skills have been skewed towards the early part of the season. They have come down with many as of recent, and facing a team that doesn’t throw them could make it a lot more difficult.
Still, intercepting passes will be absolutely necessary for South Carolina to be able to make this a game, but it will also help neutralize this part of the game on a larger scale, which seems likely to heavily favor Tennessee football. We go to that next.