South Carolina Football: Report card vs. Tennessee

South Carolina football defensive back Jalon Kilgore. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football defensive back Jalon Kilgore. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports /
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Shane Beamer’s South Carolina football team traveled to Knoxville on Saturday to face a Tennessee team bent on avenging their loss from last season.

The matchup was competitive early, but Tennessee felt as if they were in control the whole way as the Gamecocks fell 41-20.

Here are the grades for South Carolina football’s loss to the Tennessee Volunteers:

. South Carolina Gamecocks. FANS . C. The Gamecocks were on the road on Saturday, so this grade comes primarily from social media. Gamecock Twitter was in shambles at times during the game. Some of the negativity was 100% justifiable based on what was happening on the field. However, the panic and doom-and-gloom was too high amongst South Carolina fans online. Things are great for the Gamecocks right now, but there is still a long way ahead in 2023.

Frankly, other than the fake punt call in the 1st half, nothing sticks out as a major positive for the South Carolina football staff from Saturday. Starting Mario Anderson at running back was the right call, but several other personnel decisions were questionable, and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains had his worst game as a playcaller. Clayton White’s defense is still bad, and his days in garnet and black seem as if they are numbered.. . South Carolina Gamecocks. COACHING . C

B+. In a strange turn of irony, Pete Lembo’s special teams unit had its best showing of the season in a game where the Gamecocks struggled mightily at times in both other phases of the game. Mitch Jeter was perfect on the day with two field goals, an extra point, and a full slate of touchbacks (except one purposefully shorter kick that was covered well). Kai Kroeger had his best overall game of the year, as well, and he executed a big fake in the 1st half. The biggest knocks on special teams were Eddie Lewis’ decision-making on fielding punts and a Tennessee punt return for touchdown that was called back due to a penalty. Had the flag not been thrown, this grade would have been bumped down significantly.. . South Carolina Gamecocks. SPECIAL TEAMS