Gamecocks Defeat Tennessee 14-3 To Improve To 7-1 For The Season
Freshman running back Brandon Wilds rushed for career-high 137 yards.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - South
Carolina freshman tailback Brandon Wilds rushed for a career-high 137
yards on 28 carries in his first career start and the Gamecock defense
limited Tennessee to just 186 total yards as the No. 13 Gamecocks
defeated the Volunteers 14-3 on Saturday evening at Neyland Stadium.
Carolina's defense was stellar the entire night and picked off
Tennessee starting quarterback Justin Worley twice inside the red zone.
South Carolina is now 7-1 on the year including a 5-1 mark in the SEC,
tied for first in the Eastern Division with Georgia. The loss drops
Tennessee to 3-5 and 0-5 in conference play.
Carolina has now won its last six "true" road games, which is a school
record. The Gamecocks won at Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson to close
out the 2010 season. Carolina has claimed victories at Georgia,
Mississippi State and now Tennessee this season.
With a 7-3 lead
in the third quarter and after a D.J. Swearinger interception on the
South Carolina two-yard line, the Gamecocks put together the squad's
longest drive of the season taking up 11:35 on the clock with 20 plays
for 98 yards, capped off by a five-yard touchdown run by Connor Shaw
that gave Carolina an 11-point cushion. The drive featured 51 rushing
yards by Wilds along with 33 yards on the ground by Shaw and a combined
three completed passes by Shaw to Alshon Jeffery and Nick Jones. The
drive is the third longest drive in school history by yards and is the
longest scoring drive by time of possession in Carolina history by two
minutes and 33 seconds besting the previous mark of 9:02 set against
Troy last year (11/20/10).
The Volunteers looked to rally in the
fourth quarter after a fumble by Wilds gave the Volunteers possession
at the Gamecock 27-yard line. But Carolina's defense answered on the
next play with a turnover as Stephon Gilmore picked off Worley in the
end zone to give the ball back to the Gamecocks.
finished the evening with 318 total yards including with 231 of those
on the ground. Along with the 137 yards by Wilds, sophomore quarterback
Connor Shaw rushed 16 times for 64 yards to pace the Gamecock offense.
Shaw was 10-for-18 in the air for 87 passing yards along with a
touchdown. Shaw improves to 4-0 as the Gamecocks' starting quarterback,
making him just the third quarterback in Carolina in the last 30 years
to start his career with four straight wins. Steve Taneyhill (1992) and
Chris Smelley (2007) also accomplished the feat.
counterpart, Worley, struggled most the evening and was just 10-of-26
for 105 yards including two interceptions. Carolina's defense also
dominated the line of scrimmage against the Tennessee offensive line
limiting the Volunteers to only 35 net yards rushing for the contest.
Junior defensive back DeVonte Holloman led the Carolina defense with
eight tackles. Junior safety D.J. Swearinger also finished with six
stops and an interception. South Carolina has 16 interceptions for the
season including 12 picks in the last four games.
Gamecocks halted the first drive of the game by Tennessee, a fumbled
punt return by Gamecock sophomore Ace Sanders on the South Carolina
18-yard line led to an early field goal for the Volunteers. The
Gamecock defense was able to hold Tennessee to three points on the
drive though as the Volunteers failed from first and goal at the six to
convert a touchdown and settled for a Michael Palardy 22-yard field
goal with 11:03 remaining in the first quarter.
Trailing 3-0 in
the second quarter, the Gamecocks made their move converting on a 4th
and 1 from the Tennessee 23-yard line with a touchdown pass from Connor
Shaw to Rory Anderson that put South Carolina ahead 7-3 with 7:43 to go
in the second quarter. The drive started on the Tennessee 44th-yard
line and featured a 12-yard end around by wide receiver Damiere Byrd as
well as a six-yard pass from Shaw to Justice Cunningham. With the
Gamecocks facing a 4th and 1, head coach Steve Spurrier elected to stay
with his offense and on a play action fake, Shaw was able to find a
wide open Rory Anderson for a touchdown pass, the first career
touchdown for the freshman tight end.
The Gamecock defense then
came up with a key stop in the following drive by Tennessee as on a 4th
and 1 on the South Carolina , 43-yard line, the defense stood up and
held Volunteer quarterback Justin Worley to no gain on the quarterback
sneak allowing the Gamecocks to maintain a four-point lead entering
Both teams traded turnovers on their opening drives to
start the second half. In Tennessee territory, Shaw was picked off by
Tennessee defensive back Prentiss Waggner, who returned the
interception all the way down to the South Carolina three-yard line
before being tackled by Cody Gibson. That tackle by Gibson would be
huge as South Carolina responded as Swearinger eyed Worley the whole
way on second down from the five and came away with an interception to
give the ball back to the Garnet & Black on the Carolina two-yard
line setting up the Gamecocks' key drive of the game. The interception
for Swearinger was his third of the season including the second
straight game he has picked off an opponent in the red zone.