Tennessee desperately needed a win to keep their slim bowl hopes alive. They got that on Saturday, and they got it in a big way.
After a back-and-forth first half of play, the Vols trailed South Carolina 21-17 at halftime. In the second half, Tennessee dominated the Gamecocks in all three phases of the game, scoring touchdowns on offense and special teams and shutting out the South Carolina offense on defense. The Vols outscored the Gamecocks 24-0 in the final two quarters of play, and they did so while playing three different players at quarterback.
Wide receiver Jauan Jennings took the actual first snap at quarterback, but redshirt freshman JT Shrout was the first scholarship quarterback to guide the offense. After two series, redshirt junior Jarrett Guarantano entered, and he played one of the best games of his Tennessee career before exiting in the third quarter after taking a brutal shot.
All in all, UT’s offense put up 485 yards, including 351 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Defensively, Tennessee held the Gamecocks to under 80 yards rushing as a team, and both Daniel Bituli and Darrell Taylor had strong performances, with Bituli totaling 15 tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass breakup, a blocked punt, and recovering that blocked kick in the end zone for a touchdown. Taylor had two sacks, two tackles for loss, and two pass breakups.
On offense, both Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway showed out. Jennings posted a career-high 174 yards on seven catches, hauling in two touchdowns and adding 18 rushing yards on five carries as a wildcat quarterback. Callaway also eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark, gaining 102 yards and scoring on a 55-yard bomb from JT Shrout in the third quarter. The senior also returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown.
In the end, Tennessee finally defeated South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, earning their first victory over the former Florida and current Gamecock head coach in eight tries.
After the game, managing editor Nathanael Rutherford jumped on Youtube for the RTI Post-Game Reaction Show. He reacted — along with fans — to the play of Tennessee’s quarterbacks, the all-around domination in the win, the officiating, and much more.
If you missed the show live, here’s a full recording of our post-game show: