KNOXVILLE – Brandon Turnage rarely went to the field in his two years in high school in Alabama, and a similar story was unfolding this season after his transfer to Tennessee.
The 6-foot-1, 186-pound sophomore was badly needed on Saturday due to injuries to main tackle Theo Jackson and Doneiko Slaughter, and Turnage responded in a big way, leading the volunteers with 14 tackles and two tackles for loss. during a 45-20 South Carolina whip inside Neyland Stadium.
“Coming from Alabama, every training day really felt like a game,” Turnage said. “So in game situations now it doesn’t really affect me because of the way I’ve been trained in the past by coach (Nick) Saban and now these new coaches. All these guys got me. have really prepared. “
Turnage played at the very end of Tennessee’s 38-6 win over Bowling Green in Game 1 of the season and didn’t see the action in the 41-34 loss to Pittsburgh. He collected his first two tackles for the Vols in the 56-0 loss to Tennessee Tech, but never played in the 38-14 loss to Florida.
Even last week against Missouri, Turnage was only on the field for three games with defense in addition to his role in kickoff coverage.
“He played solid today,” Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said. “It was a great effort on his part.”
Turnage said he chose Tennessee as his transfer destination because of Heupel, defensive coordinator Tim Banks and longtime Southeastern Conference secondary coach Willie Martinez.
“Honestly, it was such a blessing,” Turnage said of his big afternoon. “Every week Coach Heup says everyone is ready and everyone is prepared. My name was called so I had to go out and do what I had to do.
“It was a great experience to learn from these guys. They really know what they are talking about.”
Tennessee vs South Carolina on October 9, 2021
Back on target
After leading the Vols with four catches for 62 yards in Game 1 of the season, second-year wide receiver Jalin Hyatt was all but gone except for a 10-yard carryover in Florida.
On Saturday, the 6-foot, 175-pound player made three receptions for 21 yards, including two for 14 in Tennessee’s first possession. His first catch was 11 yards, while his second was a 3-yard touchdown for the opening points of the game.
“We believe in Jalin as a player,” Heupel said. “We believe in him in competitive situations. He will only continue to improve. As young as we are in this attack, some of them are young as football players, but I thought Jalin had had a great day today. “
South Carolina punter Kai Kroeger, who scored the only points in the third quarter with a surprising 44-yard touchdown pass to Payton Mangrum who made it 38-14, finished with a passer rating of 799, 6.
Gamecocks point pitcher Jordan Burch, who was intercepted in the end zone by Jaylen McCollough in the second and goal of the 2 in the first quarter, was minus-200.
Not every game where two teammates have a passer rating separated by a fraction of less than 1000 points.
Tennessee increased their series lead to 28-10-2 over the Gamecocks with their third straight victory. .. Senior defensive tackle Matthew Butler recorded one sack by losing his helmet, and junior redshirt linebacker Jeremy Banks scored 1.5 sacks but was also reported for brutalizing the passer. … Quarterback Hendon Hooker on what he told wide receiver Cedric Tillman after a catch in the middle in which Tillman was shaken: “I told him I would take him to eat.” … Velus Jones had two punt returns for 33 yards. … The Vols were 8-9 on the third conversions in the first half. … Heupel wondered if he liked the fact that he could use Tennessee’s slow second half as a teaching moment: “I don’t think I liked that for the last 30 minutes. game. “