South Carolina Ends Tennessee’s Playoff Run With Shocking Upset, Causes Chaos In College Football Playoff

A massive night from Spencer Rattler and a dreadful performance from the Tennessee defense led to the Gamecocks upsetting the 5th ranked Vols Saturday night. The best performance of the season from Rattler led to Shane Beamer picking up his biggest win at South Carolina, as fans stormed the field to celebrate the monumental 63-38 win.

There was absolutely nothing Tennessee could do to stop the Gamecocks offense, who scored on their first five possessions of the game. Shane Beamer said all week that they just had a bad outing last week in Gainesville and his team proved him right on Saturday. Spencer Rattler had over 430 yards passing and six touchdowns.

“This is what this place can be. We’re just getting started here in Columbia,” Shane Beamer said following the win.

The Vols defense looked horrible all night, giving up chunk plays to South Carolina all evening. Tennessee was in the best position possible heading into the night, just outside the playoff’s top-four, but will now head to Vanderbilt for a game that could send them to the Sugar Bowl.


Unfortunately for Tennessee, quarterback Hendon Hooker was hurt in the fourth quarter, going down and immediately grabbing his knee. Hooker did not return and went to the locker room in what looked to be a good amount of pain.

One of the biggest wins in program history for South Carolina looked easy for most of the night, leading 56-31 at the eleven minute mark of the fourth quarter. Not only was this a massive win for the Gamecocks, but the College Football Playoff has now taken a turn down the road of madness.

What This Tennessee Loss Means For College Football Playoff

This was the perfect night for LSU, who came into the weekend ranked 6th. Now, there is a clear path for the two-loss Tigers to make a playoff appearance if they can beat Texas A&M and then Georgia in Atlanta. In all, this was the chaos folks were hoping for, but many weren’t expecting it to come at the hands of Tennessee.

Shane Beamer celebrates touchdown
South Carolina HC Shane Beamer Celebrates the touchdown over Tennessee

The monumental game for the Gamecocks could turn into the spark Shane Beamer needed in year two, just like the Auburn and Florida wins were in 2021. But the impact of this game will be felt on the national scale for the whole week, considering Ohio State and Michigan play next weekend.

We will now wait to see what the rankings look like on Tuesday, but a massive wrinkle has been thrown into the equation. Could Clemson now sneak into the playoffs? Sure, especially if TCU somehow drops a game in the next two weeks. Now, the loser of the game in Columbus next weekend could still make a case for a playoff spot, if it’s a close one.

If South Carolina has its way, they’ll do the same to Clemson’s playoff hopes next week when the two teams square-off. A huge night for the Gamecocks has now certainly helped a number of teams hoping to finish in the final four.

We expected some type of chaos down the stretch, I don’t think many thought it would come at the hands of South Carolina.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.


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  1. I’ve seen too much college ball to not be desensitized to most “shocking” upsets. But this was absolutely shocking when I paid zero attention to it and saw the score blazed across a website homepage. Is this better or worse than UF’s first loss at Vandy since 88?

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