Oh, what a night! South Carolina upsets No. 5 Tennessee in Williams-Brice shootout

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dated: 2022-11-20 04:00:56 .

Quarterback Spencer Rattler stood on the 25-yard line and pointed to the sky.

When Dakereon Joyner plunged into the North End zone on South Carolina’s eighth touchdown of the night and turned an avalanche of white towels into a blizzard in the USC student wing, South Carolina’s gun-toting signal-caller could only look to the sky.

Call it divine intervention. Maybe the prayer was answered. Whatever it was, consider that any remaining bad juju or chicken curses that existed at Williams-Brice Stadium in years past have been exorcised.

South Carolina 63, Tennessee 38.

On a night that featured the most dominant offense in college football this side of Joe Burrow, it was a previously anemic Gamecocks unit led by its tattooed coin-tossing quarterback, Heisman front-runner Hendon Hooker and the visiting Volunteers that got killed.

South Carolina’s offense, which held Florida to just 37 yards in the first quarter in recent weeks, transformed from a Ford Pinto to a Lamborghini Murciélago in seven days.

Rattler served as the conductor for a suddenly masterful Gamecocks unit, completing 15 of 20 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone as the Gamecocks racked up more than 600 yards of offense on the night.

The former Oklahoma signal-caller looked every bit as hopeful as the Heisman Trophy as he patrolled Norman during his days in the backfield, hauling in touchdown passes of 11, 18, 19 and 60 yards in the first 30 minutes.

South Carolina jumped out of the gate with a nine-play, 75-yard drive that included a pair of third-down conversions and a fourth-and-six connection between the Rattlers and Antwane “Juice” Wells — who the Gamecocks had 177 yards on 11 catches. The Rattler capped the game later with an 18-yard toss to left tackle Jaheim Bell, who weaved his way over two Tennessee defenders into the end zone.

The former Sooner, whose name is now etched in Gamecocks lore, followed with scoring by Josh Vann (twice) and Juju McDowell, who put South Carolina up 35-24 at halftime over Rocky Top.

As the Volunteers desperately fought back, the Rattler and Gamecocks offense brought Heumacher after Heumacher against the nation’s fifth-best team.

First it was the end of Wells’ touchdown. Then, as he had done all night, Rattler performed the kind of drama that only a magician of his caliber can do.

The Rattler danced to the right and hit the orange and white wall of Volunteer defenders. He turned fields and fired back to the left, rushing to the opposite side of the broken formation and flipping what functionally developed into a game-ending 2-yard touchdown pass to Jaheim Bell.

Head coach Shane Beamer told reporters during his news briefing Tuesday that it’s time for South Carolina fans to put aside superstitions and curses. That people in Colombia should not expect bad things – despite almost 120 years of history, on the contrary.

As the clock struck zero and drunken students screamed over the hedge that separated the student section from the playground to celebrate with their team, the doom and gloom of the Gainesville lawsuit dissipated.

At 10:57 p.m., Beamer, South Carolina and a stadium full of maroon and white found nothing but joy.

Down first

South Carolina’s 35 first-half points were the most in a half against SEC competition since 1995. USC defeated Vanderbilt 52-14 in that contest.

The Gamecocks also had a game-high first quarter (21) under Shane Beamer on Saturday. The previous record (18) was accomplished in South Carolina’s victory over North Carolina in Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

Important statistics

4 – Spencer Rattler threw four touchdown passes in the first half

2019 – The last time South Carolina beat a team ranked in the top five of the Associated Press Top 25

North Carolina’s next game

WHO: South Carolina at Clemson

When: Noon, Saturday, November 26

Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson

TV: ABC

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Oh, what a night! South Carolina upsets No. 5 Tennessee in Williams-Brice shootout

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