Tennessee Volunteers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
Two teams looking to overcome major injuries meet in Knoxville as the Tennessee Volunteers host the South Carolina Gamecocks in SEC football action on Saturday. The Gamecocks are -4.5 favorites over the Volunteers with an over/under point total set at 54.
The Tennessee Volunteers have been fighting the good fight but Derek Dooley’s team has been at the wrong end of a brutal schedule as they have lost three games in a row. With Tyler Bray injured at QB and out for at least a few more weeks Matt Simms has taken over and while his play has been better than most could have hoped, he has yet to throw a touchdown pass. Tauren Poole has rushed for 492 yards and averages four yards per carry while Marlin Lane is averaging 3.2 yards. Da’Rick Rogers is Tennessee’s best receiver with 37 catches and six touchdowns while Mychal Rivera has 20 catches and Justin Hunter has 17. The Vol defense has two interceptions, 10 sacks, and four fumble recoveries. Tennessee’s defense is led in tackles by A.J. Johnson and Austin Johnson with 45 tackles each and Malik Jackson with 37 tackles. The drop off at QB from Bray to Simms has been dramatic with the completion percentage going from 65.9 to 42.2 but with the last three opponents being Alabama, LSU, and Georgia the Volunteers would have been hard presses no matter who was calling the signals.
Just when Steve Spurrier seemed to have some of his issues worked out on offense, the injury bug hit the South Carolina Gamecocks and the will need to rethink things going forward. Connor Shaw has taken over full time as SC’s starting QB thus far completing 64. 1percent of his passes and five touchdowns, one more touchdown in 40 less pass attempts than his predecessor Stephen Garcia who was kicked off of the team. The big blow to the Gamecocks came last game when all world running back Marcus Lattimore was injured and he’s gone for the season and more than likely it will take more than one player to attempt to fill in for him but he is simply a player who can’t be replaced. Alshon Jeffrey’s receiving numbers are on the rise as he now has 30 catches and five touchdowns while Ace Sanders has 16 catches. The South Carolina defense has intercepted 14 passes, recorded 15 sacks, and recovered 10 fumbles. Antonio Allen has accumulated 60 tackles, D.J. Swearinger has 42 tackles while Melvin Ingram has 5.5 sacks and Jadeveon Clowney has five. Everyone on the South Carolina roster will need to step it up to fill in for the loss of Lattimore.
Tennessee is 0-3-1 against the spread in their last four SEC games, 3-7 against the spread following a loss, and 0-6 against the spread in their last six home games against a team with a winning road record. South Carolina is 4-1 against the spread in their last five road games, 12-5 against the spread against a team with a losing record, and 4-9 against the spread following a win. The favorite has covered in four of the last five meetings of these two but South Carolina is 1-4 against the spread the last five times these two have met.
The line opened at seven and it has been dropping ever since. With the big question marks about replacing Lattimore and with margin of victory not mattering to Spurrier, taking the points seems to be the best option.
Tennessee Volunteers +4.5 South Carolina Gamecocks