Kendall's gameday prediction for USC-UT

jkendall@thestate.comOctober 28, 2011 

Ellis Johnson knows all the statistics.

Ellis Johnson also doesn't think very much of statistics. South Carolina's assistant head coach for defense has made that clear throughout the season, and he made it clear again this week when he said he thinks Tennessee can run the ball despite ranking last in the SEC in rushing offense (89.4 yards per game).

"They are going to hammer the ball," Johnson said. "They have a good, physical offensive line. I don't think people respect their running game because they weren't running it early in the season because they were playing Tyler Bray."

Bray, the Volunteers' standout sophomore quarterback, has been lost for the season due to a thumb injury.

"All of a sudden, they have had to change gears, and they had to change gears on two of the best defenses in America," Johnson said, referring to Tennessee's back-to-back games against LSU and Alabama. "I'm not fooled. They are capable of moving the ball against anybody. They are a better offense than people give them credit for."

Johnson also is wary of Tennessee freshman quarterback Justin Worley, who is making his first career start Saturday. Worley played at Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, part of Johnson's recruiting territory, so Johnson is very familiar with Worley.

"They will throw it because I think Justin is very capable of throwing the ball," Johnson said. "They are probably going to spread it out and let him get it out of his hands quickly, and they are going to max protect and let him throw deep. We will have to be ready for it all."”

They will be.

South Carolina wins this one easily: 28-17.

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