Cloninger's five gameday storylines: USC vs. Tennessee

Posted by DAVID CLONINGER on October 18, 2013 

  • Gamecocks vs. Volunteers

    WHO: USC (5-1, 3-1 SEC) vs. Tennessee (3-3, 0-2)

    WHERE: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.

    WHEN: Saturday, noon

    TV: ESPN

    RADIO: WNKT-FM 107.5

    SATELLITE RADIO: Sirius 91/XM 91

    LINE: USC by 7.5

1. WORLEY BIRD

Rock Hill native Justin Worley is Tennessee’s quarterback, for better or for worse. He has started five of six games, but coach Butch Jones had no problem switching him out for the Florida game (and then hastily switching him back in). Worley has a strong arm, and has thrown nine touchdowns, but he has also thrown six interceptions and has struggled against South Carolina in the past.

2. JINX

The midpoint of the season has passed and Connor Shaw has not thrown an interception. Naturally, that led to questions about how good he has been and more mentions of the zero picks. But Tennessee has 11 interceptions, second in the league, with strong safety Brian Randolph having three. Shaw will need to avoid some of the floating passes he had last week.

3. OUCH!

While USC was celebrating its good fortune in opponents getting hurt, the injury bug flew into Columbia. Ronald Patrick has a bad ankle, but may play; Bruce Ellington has a foot strain; J.T. Surratt tweaked his ankle; Chaz Elder and Skai Moore are coming off concussions, and Elder won't play; Cody Waldrop can’t get healthy. Break out the Band-Aids.

4. I’LL TAKE THAT

Turnovers come in bunches. USC is hoping they roll over game-to-game. Victor Hampton picked off a pass that turned the game around last week, and Jimmy Legree forced a fumble at the end of a long run that Elder recovered to squelch any last hope Arkansas had.

5. DO IT AGAIN

USC played its best game of the season last week, but doesn’t want it to be a one-week occurrence. The Gamecocks know they have a chance to get to the SEC Championship Game if they just keep winning. They’re confident after a fine game on the road.

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