In a year full of chaos across college football, South Carolina got in on the party with a massive upset on Saturday. The Gamecocks hosted the No. 5-ranked Volunteers and entered the game as 23.5-point underdogs.
Not only did they cover, but Shane Beamer’s bunch won the game outright by a big margin. South Carolina beat Tennessee 63-38 behind a huge night from Spencer Rattler.
As soon as the clock hit zero, epic scenes played out in Columbia as the fans rushed onto the field and gave their first-year transfer quarterback the hero moment that he deserved. It was a great night to be a Gamecock.
In addition to Rattler’s six touchdowns, South Carolina’s defense deserves a lot of credit. Tennessee was scoring 47.4 points per game entering the weekend, but was held nearly 10 points short of its average at Williams-Brice Stadium.
A large part of that defensive effort stemmed from the secondary. Especially in the second half. It kept a prolific Volunteers passing in check for most of the evening and held opposing quarterbacks below a 60% completion clip.
Of the many standouts, cornerback Cam Smith was near the top. The 2021 Second Team All-SEC player recorded six tackles on the night and held the Tennessee pass-catchers in check, especially Jalin Hyatt.
Smith spoke about the dominant day during his postgame press conference and said that his and South Carolina’s play did the talking on the field.
He was also asked about the defense strategy and offered a blunt assessment.
Smith said that neither he, his team, nor defensive coordinator Clayton White made any big adjustments at halftime. They didn’t try to key on anything in particular.
Instead, the Gamecocks simply had to “drop their nuts.”
South Carolina didn’t change any of its schemes or its game plan. It didn’t move things around or switch-up its coverages. Smith and his teammates dropped their nuts and took down Tennessee.