Appalachian State 20, South Carolina 15
Really, South Carolina? Now all hopes of going to a bowl game are reasonably gone – it’s not going to win at South Carolina and beat Clemson. After all the positives from the win over Georgia, everything has crashed and burned with three losses in the last four games. This was a tough, nasty schedule, but losing to a Sun Belt team – even a great one – isn’t okay.
The offensive line got manhandled. ASU kept the Gamecocks to just 21 rushing yards, nothing more than six yards on any carry, and the passing game couldn’t quite make up for it. Ryan Hilinski threw for 325 yards and a score, but drive after drive ended with nothing, or a field goal. Appalachian State bent, but rarely broke.
The USC D was fine. It allowed just 202 yards and gave up just 20 points. It held the Mountaineers to a mere seven second half points, and the offense couldn’t do its part to take advantage of its opportunities. And now …
The buyout is massive, but South Carolina fans are going to be screaming for this to be the end of the Will Muschamp era. Now 26-23 in his four years, this will likely be his first year without a bowl trip, and it should be his second career four-win season – he had one of those with 2013 Florida.
Tennessee 17, Kentucky 13
Tennessee was able to rally, and outugly Kentucky. The Vols were down early – a blocked punt didn’t help – but Jarrett Guarantano stepped in, completed 7-of-8 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns, and the defense dropped a hammer. Kentucky ran well, but went nowhere after a long early drive.
This is where the lack of a passing game turned into a huge problem. UK’s Lynn Bowden ran for 114 yards, the team rumbled for 302 yards and two scores, but there wasn’t anything late out of all the yards. Bowden completed just 4-of-7 passes for 25 yards with a pick. The O had the ball for almost 42 minutes, but the stall ball style didn’t do much to tire out the Tennessee D.
And now, after all of the issues early on, Tennessee is 5-5 and just need to beat either Missouri – who can’t score lately – or Vanderbilt to get bowl eligible. It might not be like pushing for the SEC title, but after losing to Georgia State and BYU to start the season, the Vols will absolutely