No. 16 Tennessee at South Carolina, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network).
Line: Tennessee by 3 1/2.
Series record: Tennessee leads 26-10-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Tennessee fans have plenty of enthusiasm that third-year coach Jeremy Pruitt has the Vols pointed back in their championship direction. A victory at South Carolina, where Tennessee has lost its last two games, would back that up. The Gamecocks have lost five of their last six and are in need of a strong showing after making several offensive changes this offseason.
Tennessee RB Eric Gray vs. South Carolina’s defensive line: Gray, a freshman last season, was a big part of the Vols’ last-season resurgence as he ran for 332 yards combined in wins over Vanderbilt and Indiana. South Carolina lost three starters on its front line led by first-round NFL draft pick Javon Kinlaw.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tennessee: QB Jarrett Guarantano lost his starting job last season, but chose to come back to school for another season after graduating. He has won the job outright and will look to get going fast to solidify his hold on QB1.
South Carolina: QB Collin Hill is a graduate transfer from Colorado State who was raised in South Carolina and grew up following the Gamecocks. He gets to start his first game and will need to channel his emotions to keep South Carolina on track.
FACTS & FIGURES
It’s been 78 years since Tennessee and South Carolina opened the season against each other. That 1942 game in Columbia ended in a 0-0 tie. … South Carolina has a new offensive coordinator in Mike Bobo, the former Colorado State head coach. …. Bobo and Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt are friends who worked together on Georgia’s staff. … South Carolina received state permission to have about 20,000 fans at Williams-Brice Stadium. … Tennessee kicker Brent Cimaglia made 23 of 27 field goals last season, the second best percentage (.852) in the Southeastern Conference last season.
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