The Tennessee Vols should’ve left Columbia with a win on Saturday night.

But instead, Tennessee lost to the South Carolina Gamecocks 27-24, falling to 3-5 on the season.

The Volunteers controlled the first half of the game. But in the second half, UT couldn’t stop South Carolina’s offense.

Tennessee is a much improved team from where they were a year ago at this time, but it’s clear they still have a long ways to go.

The offensive line is still a work in progress. The defensive line still isn’t getting enough pressure. And the secondary showed they’re incredibly susceptible to the deep ball.

With the loss, the Volunteers now have to win three of their final four games to reach bowl eligibility. That’s a tall task with three conference games left on the schedule.

Here are some quick observations from Tennessee’s fifth loss of the season.

  • Jauan Jennings has swagger. And that’s a good thing. But it cost Tennessee some points before the half. Jennings placed the ball on a South Carolina defender after scoring a touchdown. A penalty was called and the Gamecocks got the ball in excellent field position, which allowed South Carolina to score before the half. Jennings has to be smarter.
  • Tennessee showed they can move the ball effectively via the pass and the run. But getting into shootouts isn’t who they need to be as a team. That’s essentially what the second half became.
  • The Vols let Jake Bentley get way too comfortable on Saturday night. Tennessee managed only one sack. That’s not a recipe for success in the SEC.
  • Tennessee got hosed on a defensive pass interference call against Baylen Buchanan in the fourth quarter. It was an absolutely terrible and embarrassing call and it has no place in the SEC. It shouldn’t have come down to it, but it might have cost the Volunteers the game.
  • Jarrett Guarantano passed for 207 yards, but he was helped out a lot by his receivers. Most of the play calls for JG were short passes. And most of them were passes that were behind the line of scrimmage. The yards after the catch were huge for Tennessee. Marquez Callaway, specifically, had a very good night. Callaway caught nine passes for 86 yards.

Featured image via Jeff Blake/USA Today

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