South Carolina’s offense dominated Tennessee during its 63-38 win. Redshirt junior quarterback Spencer Rattler and his receiving core played their best game of the season to lift the Gamecocks to victory.
South Carolina scored a touchdown on all but two of its drives. The first possession in the second half resulted in a three-and-out and the team kneeled the ball on its final possession. Every drive the team moved the ball down the field with ease.
This was mostly because of how effective Rattler was. He had a career-best game, setting career highs in passing yards and touchdowns.
Since he arrived on campus, fans were hoping to see shades of what made Rattler a Heisman candidate at Oklahoma. Saturday, he showed what made him as big a name as he is, recording 438 yards and six touchdowns.
“That was probably the best I've ever felt in a game. Just feeling unstoppable,” Rattler said. “I mean, we felt truly unstoppable and that confidence this game just gave us is amazing.”
Rattler even snagged a reception thrown from redshirt senior wide receiver Dakereon Joyner. Rattler earned 15 yards on the play, but he and Joyner felt like it should've resulted in a touchdown.
“Before I even said something, Spencer apologized to me. So I ain't even have to say nothing to him,” Joyner joked.
Rattler wasn’t the only guy making big catches. Seven different Gamecocks had multiple receptions and four had a touchdown catch. Junior tight end Jaheim Bell and fifth-year receiver Josh Vann each scored two touchdowns.
The most productive receiver on the night did not need to catch a touchdown to have an impact. Junior wide receiver Antwane Wells Jr. caught 11 passes for 177 yards and even added a rushing touchdown to his stat line.
“Coach (Marcus Satterfield) just said ‘we just got to go out there and ball,’” Wells said. “We ran the regular plays we knew from week one. We’re just going to win our one-on-one matchups and just go out there and play ball.”
The success of the passing attack translated into an efficient game for the Gamecocks. The team converted eight of its 11 third down attempts and went 2-2 on fourth down. South Carolina was also a perfect 8-8 in the red zone.
“This is my favorite game of all time,” Rattler said. “Dudes like (Wells) made it so easy. The (offensive line) made it so easy. All the receivers ate. It was a beautiful sight to see.”
Down its top two running backs, South Carolina didn’t lean on the run game like the team is accustomed to. The Gamecocks stuck with the passing game but did find some success on the ground, scoring three touchdowns.
Bell took lead back duties rushing 17 times for 82 yards. The balanced attack made getting South Carolina off the field almost impossible for Tennessee.
“We knew they couldn’t stop us,” Wells said. “We went three and out. We were like ‘Alright cool, can’t stop us, we just going to get back to what we’ve been doing.'”
The offense will face a more challenging test next week when South Carolina travels to Clemson in search of its eight win, a landmark the Gamecocks haven't reached since 2017.