Tennessee (3-2 | 1-1 SEC) vs. South Carolina (3-2 | 0-2 SEC)
Saturday, October 9th, 2021 | 11:00am CT / Noon ET
Knoxville, TN | Neyland Stadium | TV: ESPN2/ESPN App
Knoxville, TN – After two road games to open conference play, the Tennessee Vols football team is back on Rocky Top this Saturday for its SEC home opener against the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Anish Shroff (PxP), Mike Golic Jr. (analyst) and Taylor McGregor (sideline) on the call. Kickoff is slated for 11:01am CT.
The game is also available to stream through the ESPN App on your connected streaming device and on ESPN.com.
Bob Kesling (PxP), Pat Ryan (analyst) and Brent Hubbs (analyst) will call the action, with Kasey Funderburg handling sideline duties. Big Orange Countdown begins at 9:30am.
For the most up-to-date information on Tennessee’s 2021 gameday policies, please visit the Tennessee Football Gameday Information page on UTSports.com. Some important information is also listed below.
Tickets and Parking
Fans with digital tickets and/or parking are encouraged to download their ticket(s) and parking to their phone prior to arriving at the gate or parking lot. Fans still interested in purchasing tickets to the game can visit AllVols.com. The ticket office will open three hours prior to kickoff on Saturday (9:00am).
Tennessee Athletics App
Fans are encouraged to download the Tennessee Athletics app, which now houses the Coca-Cola GBO Zone, allowing fans to play trivia, take part in a light show and much more. Search “Tennessee Athletics” in the Apple or Google Play Store or use this link to download: www.utsports.com/app
Game Day Events and Activities
With this year being the 100th season at Neyland Stadium, Shield-Watkins Field, Tennessee Athletics has unveiled several new, exciting fan experience enhancements for the 2021 football season. Among the new gameday enhancements are new LED stadium lights, ungraded fireworks and “I Will Give My All” signs throughout the stadium.
More info on all of the new gameday enhancements can be found HERE.
“I Will Give My All”: As fans make their way to their seats, they can participate in a similar tradition as the Volunteers who take the field. “I Will Give My All” signs have been installed above the portals entering each section of Neyland Stadium. Just as the team is reminded to “Give My All” before running through the T pregame, each fan entering the stadium is encouraged to do the same.
Vol Village: Make sure you visit Vol Village presented by Toyota for a whole new fan experience. It’s FREE for all fans with or without a game ticket. There will be live music, activities for everyone of all ages, food trucks, and more. Vol Village, located in a great spot to see the Vol Walk and the Band March is just across from Circle Park. The Toyota Vol Village on Oct. 9 will feature a free concert by Fairview Union, axe throwing, face painting, tailgate games and much more! Fans can stop by from 7:30am-10:30am.
Truly’s Tailgate: Truly’s Tailgate, located outside Gate 9 will open at 9:00am and stay open through the end of the third quarter. Any fans with tickets to the game can stop by for food and drinks during that time.
Pregame Flyover: At the conclusion of Saturday’s national anthem, a joint flyover will be conducted by a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 134th Refueling Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard and four F-16s from the 169th Fighter Wing of the South Carolina Air National Guard, stationed at McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Columbia, South Carolina.
UT Vols to Honor UT Legend Al Wilson
The University of Tennessee and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame will jointly honor 2021 College Football Hall of Fame electee Al Wilson with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments. The Salute will take place at halftime of this Saturday’s game against South Carolina.
Wilson will be formally inducted on December 7th, 2021, becoming the 25th Vol to be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame and first since Peyton Manning in 2017. Of the 25 inductees, 21 were enshrined as players and four as coaches. The 25 inductees are the most in the SEC and sixth-most nationally.
Tennessee will don its Nike “Dark Mode” black alternate uniforms on Saturday. It’s the first time since Halloween 2009 that Tennessee will wear black jerseys, a night that saw the Vols defeat the Gamecocks, 31-13. The Vols’ “Dark Mode” uniforms can be seen in more detail Here.
Tennessee put on a record-setting offensive performance last Saturday, erupting for 683 yards of total offense while dominating Missouri, 62-24, in Columbia to give Josh Heupel his first SEC win as a head coach.
The Vols rushed for 458 yards, representing the most rushing yards in a road game in school history, the third-most rushing yards in a game overall and the most overall since rushing for 513 yards against Washington & Lee on November 10th, 1951.
RB Tiyon Evans led the way with 156 yards on 13 carries and three touchdowns. His 92-yard rush in the first quarter was the third-longest rush in UT history and the third-longest rush by an FBS player this season. QB Hendon Hooker accounted for 305 yards of total offense and four touchdowns en route to being named a Manning Award Star of the Week.
Hooker has taken control of Tennessee’s quarterback position in recent weeks. The graduate transfer from Virginia Tech has thrown multiple touchdown passes in four straight games for the first time in his career, throwing 10 touchdown passes to only one interception during that span. He’s the first UT quarterback to throw multiple touchdown passes in four straight games since Joshua Dobbs did it from November 5th-26th, 2016.
Hooker’s 182.46 quarterback rating in 2021 ranks fifth in the FBS and second in the SEC, behind only Alabama’s Bryce Young (185.75). In Hooker’s three starts this season, Tennessee is 2-1 while the offense has averaged 44.0 points per game and 507.7 yards per game.
Ranking Among Nation’s Best
Tennessee’s rushing offense (255.2, 7th FBS) and rushing defense (104.0, 24th FBS) both rank in the top 25 nationally. They are second and fourth, respectively in the SEC. The Vols are one of only five FBS teams to rank in the top 25 in both, joining Air Force, Army, Auburn and San Diego State. Auburn and UT are the only Power 5 teams.
The Vols are putting up 474.6 yards per game of total offense, good for fourth in the SEC and 19th in the FBS. In SEC only games, Tennessee is putting up 553.0 ypg of total offense, which leads the league. The Vols are the only team in the conference averaging over 500.0 ypg in SEC-only games. UT has put up at least 400 yards in four of its five games this season. In 41 games as a head coach, Heupel teams have put up 400 yards 38 times.
Vols lead series, 27-10-2
Tennessee and South Carolina are meeting for the 40th time with the Vols owning a 27-10-2 all-time advantage. UT has won two in a row in the series, including a 31-27 road victory against the Gamecocks to open the 2020 COVID-19 Coronavirus shortened season. The Vols are an impressive 17-3 all-time against South Carolina in Knoxville.
About the South Carolina Gamecocks
South Carolina enters Saturday’s contest with a 3-2 overall record after snapping a two-game losing streak with a 23-14 win over Troy last weekend. The Gamecocks are led by first-year head coach Shane Beamer, son of longtime Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer.
USC features a defense that ranks among the top 30 nationally in total defense (26th-304.6 ypg), scoring defense (23rd-17.4 ppg), passing yards allowed (12th-160.4) and interceptions (3rd-9). Redshirt senior DB Jaylen Foster has been the defensive leader for the Gamecocks with a team-high 39 total tackles and four interceptions. Redshirt senior linebacker Brad Johnson leads the team with 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
Offensively, Carolina is led by sophomore QB Luke Doty, who has 566 passing yards and three touchdowns in three games played. Doty’s top target is senior wideout Josh Vann, who leads the team with 16 receptions, 343 receiving yards and two touchdown catches. The Gamecocks also feature a balanced rushing attack with four players entering the game with between 101 and 167 yards on the ground.