Tennessee vs. South Carolina score: Spencer Rattler explodes in upset, knocking No. 5 Vols from playoff race
No. 5 Tennessee is out of the College Football Playoff race after losing a shocker, 63-38, on the road against South Carolina. The Gamecocks scored on nine of their 10 full possessions against the Volunteers to capture the biggest win in the history of the matchup, besting a 24-0 South Carolina victory from 1903.
The Gamecocks were without leading running back Marshawn Lloyd and entered after a stunningly poor effort last week in a 38-6 loss at Florida. However, quarterback Spencer Rattler took control in the best performance of his career. The Oklahoma transfer threw for 438 yards and a program-record six touchdowns to eviscerate the Vols defense. Wide receiver Antwane Wells Jr. led the way with 11 catches for 177 yards, while Jaheim Bell and Josh Vann each notched two touchdowns.
Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker battled, but the Vols struggled to keep pace with the Gamecocks' scoring barrage. South Carolina went up 21-7 before Tennessee had a chance to catch its breath. Hooker threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns before leaving the game with an apparent serious left knee injury. With Hooker out, South Carolina went on a 21-0 run to end the game.
The loss officially knocked Tennessee out of the College Football Playoff picture with only a game against Vanderbilt remaining. The Vols were just on the outside looking in at No. 5 in the CFP Rankings, and they might have jumped into the top four after next week's battle between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan. However, two losses and the inability to pick up a key data point in a conference championship game makes the path nearly impossible.
South Carolina's win clinches a second straight winning season for Shane Beamer as the Gamecocks move to 7-4 on the campaign. The program has only reached that feat once since Steve Spurrier retired in 2015.