College Football Preview: South Carolina vs. Tennessee
Published 12:00 am Friday, October 28, 2011
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ó The South Carolina Gamecocks are looking forward to playing Tennessee’s new starting quarterback Justin Worley.
Worley, a true freshman, has little college experience but led Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, S.C., to a state title and undefeated season last year. Those wins came against many of the Gamecocks’ players.
“I’ll get a little payback for the boys back at home. It was rough out there for them. I’m certainly going to be thinking about that when I go out on the field this time,” said South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, whose Greenwood High lost 42-10 to Northwestern in the state championship game last season.
This year’s meeting between No. 14 South Carolina and Tennessee certainly has a youthful tenor to it.
True freshman running back Brandon Wilds will make his first start for the Gamecocks (6-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) in place of star Marcus Lattimore, who led the SEC in rushing for much of the year until suffering a season-ending knee injury against Mississippi State. Sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw will try to find some offensive rhythm in his third start since replacing fifth-year senior Stephen Garcia, who was eventually dismissed for failing an alcohol test.
Meanwhile, the Vols (3-4, 0-4) will look to its young defense to expose Shaw and Wilds’ weaknesses while hoping an offensive line full of sophomores will protect Worley long enough for him to get the ball to his receivers. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley decided to start Worley in place of Matt Simms, who struggled against No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama after taking over for Tyler Bray, who broke his thumb.
“We’re going against the SEC East champs and they stroked us there last year,” Dooley said. “They have had a couple of personnel issues as well, but it hasn’t really affected them too much because they have found a way to win. We have to focus on improving.î