Oct. 29, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Taking three turnovers from No. 18/18 Tennessee (5-3, 2-3 SEC), South Carolina (4-4, 2-4 SEC) picked up a 24-21 victory on Saturday evening at Williams-Brice Stadium.
With 7:03 left, Tennessee drew within three for a second time when Joshua Dobbs connected with Jauan Jennings for a six-yard score. After the Vols forced a Gamecock punt, junior cornerback Jamarcus King came up with his second interception of the game, marking the third turnover the Gamecocks captured from UT.
The Gamecocks picked up one first down after the King pick before punting the ball back to Tennessee with 35 seconds to play. Two big pass plays and a run by Dobbs put the ball at the Gamecock 40-yard line with five seconds remaining. The potential tying field goal fell short, however, giving the Garnet and Black the 24-21 win.
South Carolina claimed an early 7-0 lead when freshman Rico Dowdle capped a 73-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Freshman quarterback Jake Bentley had a big 16-yard run on fourth down to keep the drive alive, and he followed that with a 21-yard pass to sophomore Deebo Samuel, giving the Gamecocks first-and-goal at the 2.
The Volunteers responded with a one-yard run of their own by Jalen Hurd to tie the game. But the next Tennessee drive ended with King's first interception. Three plays later, South Carolina scored when Bentley hit fellow freshman Bryan Edwards with a 17-yard scoring toss to put the Gamecocks up 14-7.
Senior Elliott Fry hit his first field goal try since Oct. 1 with a 28-yarder late in the third quarter. Tennessee's Evan Berry, however, returned the ensuing kick 100 yards to make it a three-point game at 17-14.
The Gamecocks took advantage of the second Tennessee turnover of the night, as a Volunteer fumble gave South Carolina the ball at the 50. Four plays later, Bentley hit sophomore K.C. Crosby for a 35-yard strike, making it 24-14 for the Gamecocks.
King's two picks and the fumble recovery by Darius English led to 14 Gamecock points off of turnovers.
King had two interceptions and two pass break-ups to go with five tackles, all solo stops.
Bentley was 15-of-20 in the passing game for 167 yards and two scores.
Dowdle ran for a career-best 127 yards on 27 carries and had one touchdown.
Samuel had eight catches for 83 yards, while Edwards made four for 41, including the score.
Dante Sawyer had two quarterback hurries.
The Gamecocks controlled the ball for 35:54, including 21:44 in the second half.
Quoting Head Coach Will Muschamp
I'm proud of our players, and I told them after the game to continue to invest and have some belief. Some good things are going to happen, and I told them to continue to do the things we're asking them to do. They continue to do that, and our guys played their guts out tonight. We have to enjoy tonight and put this one behind us and get ready for a game against Missouri. I'm very pleased with our guys' efforts, and they have continued to fight.
South Carolina closes the homestand against Missouri at 4 p.m. EDT on the SEC Network.
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