The VRS Staff’s Predictions for the UT-USC Game
Bobby C. McGraw- Tennessee 27, South Carolina 24
South Carolina’s defense will keep Tennessee in check, but the run game will be key for the Volunteers. Tennessee will win this game which will go a long way into their achieving hopes of a Bowl Game; I promise you that!
Billy Ratliff- Tennessee 20, South Carolina 17
Tennessee’s offensive line is going to have to perform out of their minds to hold back the Gamecock pass rush and protect JT Shrout or Jarrett Guarantano. On defense the D-Line will need to apply pressure toward Hilinski to force some bad throws when this happens, our DBs must capitalize. Vols by 3.
Luke Thomas- South Carolina 27, Tennessee 14
If JT Shrout gets the start, which I think will be the case, it is going to be extremely tough for him to win the game for Tennessee. He has an elite arm, but he was known for throwing the ball to the wrong color jersey in high school. I can’t pick an inexperienced quarterback over South Carolina’s defense in this game. Gamecocks by 13.
Matt Ray- South Carolina 23, Tennessee 14
This game is going to be a dog fight, in my opinion. I am almost ready to label it a must-win. It really probably is. However, I think Tennessee has some advantages in this one. The physicality of the receivers are key. They have to win battles downfield, regardless of who the quarterback is. Tennessee’s offensive line will have their biggest challenge yet with this South Carolina front led by Javon Kinlaw. Will Muschamp doesn’t lose to Tennessee. Does that change this weekend? I am saying no. 23-14 South Carolina
Brandon Martin- Tennessee 20, South Carolina 14
Tennessee is going to either start and heavily play a redshirt freshman in his first career start, or go with a redshirt junior with loads of experience. The problem is, most of the experience has been bad. Without Brian Maurer, the Vols could offense will be challenged, but so will South Carolina playing with an injured Ryan Hilinski. Tennessee’s run game and the offensive line will be key if the Vols have a shot in what figures to be a defensive struggle with the Gamecocks. This is a must-win for the Vols, and I think JT Shrout makes just enough deep throws to hurt Carolina and push UT over the top at home. Tennessee wins 20 to 14.
Josh Griffin- Tennessee 34, South Carolina 20
Tennessee’s defense is growing in efficiency by leaps and bounds. The offense, however, seems to be regressing. There are a lot of similarities between this Tennessee team and South Carolina. South Carolina has a very prolific offense and a questionable defensive presence on the field. Whichever team finds their identity on it’s the weaker side of the ball first will prevail. I think this week it’s Tennessee.
CJ Eldridge- Tennessee 12, South Carolina 7
I think JG will get the start and this will be an absolutely ugly game offensively. The run game will have a solid day but we’ll struggle to air it out. However, Brent Cimaglia goes 4-4 on field goals and the defense plays the best they have the entire season, and the field goals are enough to grind out a win.
Garren Covington- Tennessee 24, South Carolina 21
All the talk around this Tennessee team this week is about the quarterback situation. Many are wondering will it be the redshirt freshman J.T. Shrout or the veteran Jarrett Guarantano who has struggled up to this point. The Vols will rely heavily on their run game balanced by Tim Jordan and Ty Chandler as both South Carolina and Tennessee are coming into this game expecting a low scoring affair. With both Coaches also being defensive-minded coaches I would expect this to be a defensive battle all game.