South Carolina is Cheez-It Bowl National Team of the Week
The South Carolina Gamecocks stunned No. 5 Tennessee with touchdowns on all five of their first-half drives, winning the SEC East battle 63-38 and setting records in the process. For its school-record point total against a top-five opponent and its second-highest ever against an SEC foe, South Carolina (7-4) earned the Cheez-It Bowl National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Nov. 19, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
Spencer Rattler won the quarterback battle for South Carolina facing the Vols’ Hendon Hooker, who left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury. The Gamecocks had already settled the contest by then, however, behind Rattler’s career day throwing for 438 yards and six touchdowns.
Antwane Wells Jr. caught 11 passes for 177 yards and Josh Vann and Jaheim Bell each caught two touchdowns for South Carolina. The Gamecocks smashed their 355.2-yard average with 606 total yards and led 35-24 at halftime. Their defense contained Hooker to 247 passing yards and three TDs before his injury.
The 63 points are the most by an unranked team against an AP top-5 opponent in the poll era, and the 25-point winning margin mark the most points by an unranked SEC team against a ranked SEC team ever scored in regulation. The game featured the most points scored by either team in the series and the most points ever allowed by Tennessee in an SEC game.
It marked the fifth time since 2002 that the Gamecocks have been honored as the National Team of the Week. Previous recognitions came after wins over Tennessee (2005), Florida (2005), Alabama (2010) and Georgia (2019).
The win was South Carolina’s seventh-ever against a top-five team. The 63 total points are the most by South Carolina in an SEC game since scoring 65 against Mississippi State in 1995.
South Carolina plays at in-state rival and No. 9 Clemson at noon ET Saturday on ABC.
This is the 21st season the FWAA will select a national team of the week. Each honored team will receive a custom Cheez-It “care package” along with a hand-crafted game ball made in America by Dallas-based Big Game USA, the nation’s leading manufacturer of custom footballs.