To get itself back in the win column, South Carolina needs to kickstart its offense. Luckily for the Cocks, Tennessee will be bringing one of the worst defenses in the SEC to Columbia this weekend.
But the Vols also bring a solid offensive line. And that line won’t have to face Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles. USC confirmed yesterday that Quarles will miss his second game in a row due to a shoulder injury (though last week’s absence was chalked up as a “suspension” for Quarles’ punch of LSU O-lineman PJ Lonergan a week earlier).
For the season, Quarles has 2.5 sacks, six tackles for loss, and 30 tackles on the year. But even though Carolina was smoked 44-11 by Florida last weekend, the USC defense didn’t exactly fold with Quarles on the sideline. UF — a run-first team — managed only 183 yards in total offense and failed to hit the century mark running or passing. Four Carolina turnovers made the difference in the game, not the absence of Quarles.
To be sure, Steve Spurrier would rather have his starter on the field. But it’s hard to imagine the D-tackle’s injury will result in a loss to Tennessee, now 0-4 in the SEC.