Despite last year’s performance and a rocky start to this year, Tennessee Football will have plenty of matchup advantages against the South Carolina Gamecocks when the two kick off Saturday. Here are the five Vols who will be most important to UT winning this game at Neyland Stadium.
5. Jaylen McCollough
Spencer Rattler led South Carolina to a touchdown on all but one meaningful drive last year against the Vols, and he’s looked great this year. UT’s entire secondary will be tested, but Jaylen McCollough is the anchor of that group right now. As a result, he will be key to making sure a repeat of last year doesn’t happen.
4. Bru McCoy
South Carolina is No. 128 nationally in pass defense. One of their biggest weaknesses his been physical receivers, as the North Carolina Tar Heels relied on Kobe Paysour, and the Georgia Bulldogs relied on Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint to beat Shane Beamer’s team. McCoy fits that bill perfectly, so he should torch them.
3. Squirrel White
While physical receivers have more consistently dominated South Carolina, that all changed last week when the Mississippi State Bulldogs got 256 receiving yards from 5’10” speedster Lideatrick Griffin. Squirrel White can do that. This should be his true breakout game for Tennessee Football as a result, so watch out.
2. Joe Milton III
If the passing game is going to be what it needs to be against such a bad defense, well, the quarterback is somewhat of an important part. Joe Milton III has had his issues, but South Carolina’s horrendous pass defense is the perfect chance for him to put those aside and absolutely go off in this game.
1. James Pearce Jr.
You could really name James Pearce Jr., Tyler Baron, Roman Harrison and Aaron Beasley. As bad as South Carolina’s pass defense is, their pass protection is worse. Rattler has been under pressure all year. Tennessee Football edge rushers and linebackers need to show up as a result, but nobody is better positioned to dominate than Pearce, who looks like an early superstar.