11 carries for 80 yards, 1 TD
One issue with Tennessee football getting so far behind early was the fact that they couldn’t exploit South Carolina’s weak rush defense the way they should have been able to. This is the worst rush defense maybe in the SEC, and Josh Heupel’s team missed an opportunity to torch them on the ground.
However, Jabari Small found a way to be effective, and he did so early. After the Vols fell behind 7-0, their offense went to work, and it started on the ground immediately. Hendon Hooker completed two passes, one to Bru McCoy and one to Cedric Tillman, and then he had a 29-yard gain on a running play.
On the next play, Small took the handoff, made a great cut, and ran 31 yards into the end zone for a score. That was his first touch, and you just felt that even though South Carolina scored first, the Vols would dominate since their run game would be unstoppable. It should have happened.
Small did his best to make that happen. He averaged nearly seven and a half yards a carry, and this was after getting hurt last week. Jaylen Wright had six carries for 28 yards, and Dylan Sampson had just four carries for two yards. Small was the star on the ground.