Tennessee and South Carolina each had to hold off in the closing seconds to avoid upsets.
Ultimately, South Carolina earned a 28-25 win over UCF. Tennessee escaped having beaten South Alabama, 31-24.
The Gamecocks knew they likely faced a battle against UCF in Orlando. The Knights jumped out to a first-half lead and actually went into the locker room with a 10-0 advantage.
However, South Carolina, behind QB2 Dylan Thompson who subbed in for injured QB Connor Shaw (shoulder), bounced back to score 28 unanswered.
UCF made things interesting in the fourth quarter and even pulled to 28-25 with a TD pass with less than 2 minutes to go. The Gamecocks recovered the onside kick and put to rest a dangerous road game against an underappreciated opponent.
If South Carolina was on Upset Alert, Tennessee seemingly had a glorified bye.
South Alabama entered the game 2-1 with a loss to Southern Utah and one-possession wins over Tulane and Western Kentucky.
Tennessee jumped out to a 31-7 lead on its way to what looked like a rout. Then the Jaguars made things interesting by rattling off 17 unanswered points to close the game.
South Alabama QB Ross Matheny had a shot to push the game into overtime in the closing minutes. The Jaguars, trailing by seven, drove the ball inside the Tennessee 10. However, Volunteers DB Brian Randolph intercepted Matheny’s pass to the end-zone, ending the threat and, ultimately, the game.
That South Alabama made this one a contest is not as much the story as how.
The Jaguars’ rally started when Tennessee QB Justin Worley, who coach Butch Jones benched last week, threw an interception in UT territory.
After USA scored, the Volunteers proceeded to go three-and-out three times and, when the one time they drove the ball, missed a 52-yard field goal.
This is still a team with a lot of problems as it prepares for a gauntlet of a schedule, starting next week against Georgia.
Worse for Tennessee, RB Marlin Lane suffered a leg injury.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>RB Marlin Lane has "lower extremity injury," won't know his status for UGA game until later in week.</p>— Evan Woodbery (@TennesseeBeat) <a href=”https://twitter.com/TennesseeBeat/statuses/384050964191510528″>September 28, 2013</a></blockquote>
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