KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As the first quarter started to unfold it quickly promised to be the most eventful start to Tennessee football yet this season.
The Vols sent South Carolina away with nothing after their first drive, the Gamecocks couldn’t do the same. Jaylen Wright got loose and turned on the rockets for a 42-yd checkerboards visit, putting the Vols up 7-nothing less than five minutes into kickoff.
Their first drive also featured the long-awaited return of starting center Cooper Mays, who had yet to play this season due to a minor procedure he had in August.
South Carolina went unanswered for their next 10-points, Mitch Jeter sent the pigskin 36-yards through the uprights and then the Gamecocks capitalized off Joe Milton’s second interception of the season, turning the turnover into a 6-yd Spencer Rattler touchdown.
Tennessee didn’t let the Gamecocks stay on top long, a quick 1:21 later and Jabari Small put the lead back in Tennessee’s hands with a 2-yd punch. That drive consisted of four plays that kept fans on the edge of their seat – including the touchdown run from Small, a 50-yd blast from Milton to Squirrel White and a Tennessee fumble that they recovered.
Tennessee ended the first quarter with a 14-10 edge.
The second quarter remained eventful, but for heartbreaking reasons. Bru McCoy went down midfield with a brutal knee injury. The senior was swarmed by his teammates as the cart took him off the field, along with cheers of “Bru” inside Neyland.
It appeared the senior made a heart and pointed towards the crowd on his way off.
Following the injury Tennessee was forced to punt two consecutive times.
However Kamal Hadden snapped the Vols back into it with the first pick-6 of the season. Grabbing one off Rattler at the 28-yd line, the senior gave the Vols a 24-10 advantage.
Vols traded touchdowns in the third quarter, Tennessee’s coming off a 6-yd catch by Jacob Warren.
Story was the same in the fourth, this time with a field goal coming from both sidelines. Campbell launched another, this time from 33-yds.
Dylan Sampson wrapped up the scoring inside Neyland with a 6-yd rush to give Tennessee a 41-20 lead.