Tennessee’s College Football Playoff hopes went up in flames against South Carolina as the Gamecocks piled on the Volunteers.
On a day filled with near-upsets, one finally came though once the sun went down. Ohio State, Michigan and TCU all survived tough outings against underdogs to keep their playoff dreams alive. Tennessee did not.
The Volunteers fell behind 21-7 in the first half and they never figured out how to turn things around. South Carolina’s offense led by Spencer Rattler dropped 63 points in an emphatic, 63-38 victory.
Tennessee’s offense couldn’t keep up, a task that got even more difficult when quarterback Hendon Hooker suffered an apparently devastating knee injury.
Here’s how college football Twitter reacted to the surprise result:
Best reactions after South Carolina smashed Tennessee’s playoff dreams
Before his injury, Hooker scored three touchdowns. However, he was outplayed by Rattler, who exploded for six touchdowns and 438 yards.
Rattler’s first three touchdown passes came in the first quarter, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
Hooker got it close by bookending the half with touchdowns cutting South Carolina’s lead to three points. The Gamecocks responded with four unanswered touchdowns, including two more Rattle touchdown passes and scoring runs from Antwane Wells Jr. and Dakereon Joyner.
Cedric Tillman caught a 21-yard pass from Joe Milton with just over a minute remaining to make the score look slightly more respectable.
Tennessee will tumble from No. 5 after that loss. South Carolina will get to celebrate this win for years to come but the team will have reason to get the celebrations out of their system quickly because they’ve got a rivalry matchup with No. 9 Clemson coming up next week.