Marquez Callaway returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown and added a 55-yard scoring reception to help lead Tennessee to a 41-21 victory against visiting South Carolina in Knoxville on Saturday.
The Volunteers (3-5, 2-3 SEC) scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to take control of the meeting between SEC East rivals.
Jarrett Guarantano was 11 of 19 for 229 yards and two touchdowns before exiting with a reported left hand injury after throwing a 19-yard scoring strike to Jauan Jennings. Guarantano took a hard hit after the throw, which put the Vols ahead 24-21 at 8:16 of the third quarter.
Redshirt freshman J.T. Shrout replaced Guarantano and found Callaway for a 55-yard scoring pass that built a 31-21 cushion for Tennessee with 5:07 remaining in the third quarter. It was Shrout’s first career TD pass. He finished 7 of 11 for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Vols linebacker Daniel Bituli blocked Joseph Charlton’s punt and recovered the ball in the end zone to make the score 41-21 with 11:41 left.
Ryan Hilinski finished 28 of 51 for 319 yards and a touchdown for the Gamecocks (3-5, 2-4).
Jennings had seven catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
South Carolina led 21-17 after a first half that included three lead changes in the final 3:16 and several big plays by both teams.
Tavien Feaster’s 1-yard run with 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter was set up by Bryan Edwards’ spectacular one-handed grab on an 18-yard reception that put the ball just short of the goal line.
Guarantano and Jennings teamed up for 48-yard TD that gave Tennessee a 17-14 advantage with 2:34 left in the first half.
The Gamecocks went ahead 14-10 with 3:16 remaining in the second quarter when Mon Denson ran 1 yard on fourth-and-goal. The nine-play, 44-yard drive was aided by a roughing-the-quarterback/targeting foul on defensive lineman Darel Middleton, who was ejected from the game, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt.
Callaway’s punt-return touchdown gave the Volunteers a 10-7 lead with 9:50 left in the second quarter. It was the senior’s third career punt return for a TD.
South Carolina opened the scoring on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Hilinski connected with Shi Smith on a 75-yard pass play. Smith caught 11 passes for 156 yards.
—Field Level Media