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Gamecocks' Late Goal-Line Stand Preserves 15-9 Win Over Vols

Oct. 14, 2017

Final Stats |  USATSI Photo Gallery 

South Carolina 15, Tennessee 9

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Parker White made all three of his field-goal attempts, including a a tiebreaking 21-yarder with 5:17 remaining, and South Carolina produced a goal-line stand Saturday in the closing seconds of a 15-9 victory over Tennessee.

After being completely shut down the entire second half, Tennessee's offense reached South Carolina's 2-yard line with nine seconds left before Jarrett Guarantano threw three straight incompletions to close the game. The game ended on a pass intended for Brandon Johnson in the right corner of the end zone.

Tennessee (3-3, 0-3 SEC) hasn't scored a touchdown in its last 10 quarters and settled for field goals after having first-and-goal on two separate drives in the first half.

''When you play good red-zone defense, it's going to give you a chance to win ballgames,'' South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said.

The Volunteers' third loss in their last four games will turn up the pressure on coach Butch Jones, who already was occupying one of the hottest seats in college football.

''I think they showed their character (today) and we'll continue to show our character in this football season,'' Jones said.

White, who had been 4 of 11 on field-goal attempts before Saturday, made his tiebreaking 21-yarder in the fourth quarter plus a 36-yarder with 1:13 left. White also had a 47-yard field goal in the second quarter.

The comeback continued Muschamp's mastery of Tennessee.

Muschamp, who coached Florida from 2011-14, now owns a career record of 6-0 against Tennessee and a 4-0 mark against Jones.

The Volunteers gave Guarantano his first career start but still couldn't awaken their dormant offense. Tennessee was off last week after a 41-0 loss to No. 4 Georgia on Sept. 30 that marked the Vols' worst home defeat since 1905 and the first time they'd been shut out since 1994.

Guarantano went 11 of 18 for 133 yards and was sacked seven times. He had 17 carries for minus-2 net yards.

''It hurts,'' Jones said. ''It stings. I don't know what else I can tell you.''

South Carolina (5-2, 3-2) scored on each of its last three drives.

The Gamecocks appeared ready to take the lead when A.J. Turner's 20-yard touchdown run around the right end tied the game at 9-all with 1:02 left in the third quarter. But on the ensuing extra-point attempt, holder Danny Gordon mishandled a low snap. Gordon threw an incomplete pass that prevented South Carolina from grabbing a 10-9 lead.

South Carolina pulled ahead for good on its next possession with a 16-play, 72-yard drive that lasted over nine minutes.

Tennessee grabbed a 9-3 halftime lead after Brent Cimaglia made field goals from 29, 33 and 24 yards out.

Cimaglia normally shares Tennessee's kicking duties with Aaron Medley, as Medley handles the shorter field goals and extra points while Cimaglia has the long-distance attempts.

An illness prevented Medley from playing against South Carolina, so Cimaglia took over.

GAME CHANGER

Tennessee's offense attacked the red zone four times in the game, but came away with only three first-half field goals. The South Carolina defense held the Volunteers to just 253 total yards, a season best for the Gamecocks defense. The game ended with Tennessee at the South Carolina 2-yard line but a pair of incomplete passes gave the Gamecocks their fifth win of the season.

KEY STAT

86 — A.J. Turner entered the game with 60 yards rushing but more than doubled that in the win over the Volunteers. Turner ran 14 times for 86 yards and the touchdown that tied the game at nine in the third quarter. Turner's rushing also helped chew the clock as South Carolina had the ball for 12:22 in the fourth quarter.

UP NEXT

The Gamecocks will enjoy their lone bye week of the season next weekend. They will return to action on Saturday, October 28, when they host the Vanderbilt Commodores at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia. The Gamecocks lead the all-time series with Vandy by a 22-4 count, including a 10-2 mark at home. Carolina has defeated the Commodores in each of the last eight meetings between the two SEC Eastern Division rivals, including a 13-10 victory in the 2016 season opener in Nashville.
 

 

 

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