Gamecocks Rocky Topple Tennessee

Dick Cox

November 22, 2022 at 2:55 pm.

On a cold night in Columbia, SC the South Carolina Gamecocks took out all the offensive frustrations that had been building up all season with a 63-38 thrashing of the No.5 Tennessee Volunteers on Senior Night.

The sellout crowd of 79,041 watched in amazement as the Gamecock offense rolled up 606 yards of total offense. South Carolina had 35 first downs and were 8-11 on third-down conversions. The 63 points are the most by an unranked team against an Associated Press Top-5 opponent in the poll era.

South Carolina never trailed in the game as they scored on their first five possessions. The Gamecocks were 22.5-point underdogs going into the game.

Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler had a career record breaking night. He completed 30 of 37 passes for 453 yards and six touchdowns. He also had one reception for 15 yards. Antwane Wells Jr. caught 11 passes for 177 yards and Josh Vann and  Jaheim Bell each caught two touchdown throws for the Gamecocks. Dakereon Joyner had two rushing scores. Twelve different South Carolina players had at least one reception during the game.

When asked if this was the game he was waiting for all year Rattler said, “I can’t even explain the feeling we all have right now. This is a game we’ve all been waiting for. We had a couple of tough losses these past weeks, and we knew this game and the next one can change the narrative of the program forever. That was probably the best I’ve ever felt in a game where I felt unstoppable with my guys out there. We felt truly unstoppable and the confidence that this game just gave us is amazing.”

“I don’t even know where to where to begin,” South Carolina head coach said. “But I’ve been saying it every week. Don’t think I’m crazy, we got a good football team and we showed it tonight. I get it. We played like crap last week, but one thing we talked about in our team meeting on Tuesday morning, when we started this week, is that good football teams have bad nights and bad stretches. I get it. Missouri wasn’t pretty and the second half of the Vanderbilt game wasn’t pretty; last week wasn’t pretty.”

“We talked on Tuesday morning too, no disrespect, that you guys (the media) don’t get to write the story of this football team,” Beamer continued. “Every single person in here, I think, thought they knew how this game was going to go; every person in here thought we’ve seen this story before, you know how Carolina is going to finish.

“This is a new Carolina, guys. You don’t get to write the story. We write the story and that’s what we talk to our team about on Tuesday morning. They write the story of how this thing’s going to finish. Everybody thinks they’ve seen this, read this book, seen this movie. They know how the chapter ends. No, you don’t, because I know what this team is about in that locker room and I’m so proud of them and so happy for them.”

“Obviously, extremely disappointed with the performance and the outcome of the football game – everybody involved,” Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel said after the game. “From myself to our assistant coaches to players. We had an opportunity here and didn’t take advantage of it – didn’t play well. Credit to South Carolina. They did play well. It’s disappointing that we didn’t perform better.

“For us and this program, this one needs to hurt on the way back and needs to hurt guys that are on this trip that will be in our building tomorrow afternoon and be there on Monday. For us to grow as a program, you have to look at this as an opportunity and understand what happens and let it hurt and remember that as you move forward and let it help you help you grow.”

The Gamecocks were playing without their top two running backs, but tight end Jaheim Bell stepped up with a great game carrying the ball 17 times for 82 yards. Bell also had five catches for 39 yards and two touchdowns.

Bell talked about his performance after the game.

“It’s just next man up mentality,” he said. “I never thought I’d be playing running back this season, getting as many carries as 17. So I just stepped up to fill the shoes of Marshawn being out, and I just had success with it.”

Tennessee quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Hendon Hooker was 25 of 42 for 247 yards and three TDs before tearing his ACL in the fourth quarter. Hooker fell and fumbled on the play without being hit and is out for the rest of the season due to the injury.

South Carolina (7-4, 4-4) travels to Clemson to take on their in-state rivals on Saturday for a noon kickoff. Tennessee (9-2, 6-2) plays at Vanderbilt.

Lindy’s Sports Post Game Coaches Corner : South Carolina 63 Tennessee 38