South Carolina (4-4, 2-4) and Tennessee (3-5, 0-4) are both struggling so far this season and a win would go a long way for both teams. Tennessee would just like a conference win while the Gamecocks are trying to get bowl eligible and quell any fears of missing a postseason appearance. If South Carolina wants to win on Saturday when the game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. they will need to do these three things:
Play some defense: This unit is 12th in the SEC in total defense. It hasn’t been able to stop anyone, but Tennessee’s stagnant offense might be its chance for some redemption. The Volunteers are 99th in the nation on offense so the Gamecocks should be looking to keep this a low-scoring affair for UT.
Get Dylan Thompson throwing early and often: Tennessee got torched by Blake Sims and Amari Cooper. If Thompson can find some early targets in Shaq Roland, Nick Jones, or Pharoh Cooper this offense should be clicking rather nicely as the game goes on. It will also help to open up the run game for Mike Davis.
The South Carolina offensive line needs to get good push: Tennessee isn’t too great on offense, but the Vols sure make up for it on the other side of the ball. They are the fifth ranked team in the nation when it comes to tackles for loss. If South Carolina’s O-line can get a good push and free up Mike Davis, then the Gamecocks will be just fine. However, they should keep a special eye on defensive lineman Derek Barnett who is 15th on the national list of tackles for loss.