Gamecocks get shocked by Vols up on ol’ Rocky Top

After No. 11 South Carolina (5-2, 3-2 SEC) fought back to take a lead in the third quarter, Tennessee (4-3, 1-2 SEC) used two fourth-quarter field goals to gain a 23-21 win on Saturday afternoon at Neyland Stadium.

After making a 33-yard field goal with a little over 10 minutes to go in the contest, Tennessee’s Michael Palardy hit one from 19 yards out as time expired to give the Volunteers the 23-21 victory. Palardy went 3-for-4 in field goals on the day.

The first half went Tennessee’s way. The Volunteers scored on their second drive in the first quarter on Palardy’s 37-yard field goal, the first of three Tennessee scores in the first half.

Late in the first quarter, the Gamecocks got the ball back at their five-yard line. Two runs by sophomore running back Mike Davis moved South Carolina to their own 24 to end the quarter. The first play of the second quarter saw junior wide receiver Damiere Byrd take in the Connor Shawpass and sprint to the end zone for the 76-yard score.

Tennessee responded, scoring twice in the second quarter to hold a 17-7 lead at halftime. Quarterback Justin Worley hit Pig Howard for a six-yard TD pass to give UT the 10-7 lead. On the next Big Orange possession, Rajion Neal capped a seven-play, 61-yard drive with a five-yard run to make it 17-7 at half.

The ball didn’t seem to bounce South Carolina’s way much in the contest. The Gamecocks lost a fumble in the first quarter and had a field goal miss late in the second quarter. Also in the first quarter, junior free safety Kadetrix Marcuswas disqualified after being called for targeting.

The Gamecocks came back in the second half under their senior quarterback Shaw. On their second possession of the half, Shaw and company drove 66 yards in 11 plays to move within three. Davis took a pitch from Shaw and ran for the 21-yard score to end the drive, but Shaw had big plays to keep it going. First he hit Byrd for an 18-yard pass for the initial first down of the drive. Then on 4th-and-8 at the Tennessee 45, Shaw scrambled and dashed for a 9-yard pickup, moving the chains.

Tennessee drove into Gamecock territory on the next drive, but the Vols’ 46-yard field goal try missed wide left. South Carolina marched 70 yards in six plays, and Shaw ended it with a sneak from a yard out with 2:50 to go in the third quarter. The senior ran for 29 yards on one play and hit junior tight end Rory Andersonfor a 25-yard gain as well on the drive. But in the fourth quarter, Shaw left the game after being sacked on South Carolina’s 10-yard line.

South Carolina had more yardage than Tennessee, 384-325, but the Gamecocks turned the ball over twice, while the Vols did not commit one.

Davis ran for 137 yards on 21 carriers to lead the Gamecocks, while Byrd had a career-best 121 yards receiving on four catches. Shaw threw for 161 yards on a 7-for-21 day, connecting for one score but throwing the one INT. Those passing yards moved him past two Gamecocks on the all-time list, making him seventh on the career charts. Shaw also rushed for 78 yards on 19 carries. Gamecock junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowneyhad 2.5 tackles for loss among his five tackles in the game.

Tennessee’s Marquez North had three catches for 102 yards, and Worley went 19-for-34 with one TD pass. Marlon Walls had 2.5 sacks to lead the Volunteer defense.

South Carolina closes the road swing next Saturday at 7 p.m. EDT against Missouri, with either ESPN or ESPN2 showing the game.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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