KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A look at some notes and tidbits surrounding Saturday's USC-Tennessee game that took place -- mostly -- away from the playing field.
Going bowling. Several bowl game representatives attended the game. The Gator Bowl, Liberty Bowl and Florida Citrus Sports sent one rep piece. The Medal of Honor Bowl, a new college football all-star game set for Jan. 11, 2014, also sent a representative. Set to be held at The Citadel's Johnson Hagood Stadium in Charleston, S.C., the Medal of Honor Bowl will feature seniors from across the country - similar to the Senior Bowl, which is held annually in Mobile, Ala.
No bus drama. All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney rode to Neyland Stadium on the team bus and went through team warmups just like any other week. No news on that front, just as there was none last week.
Lots of love for Peyton. The University of Tennessee's love affair with Peyton Manning didn't end after his final collegiate season in 1997, or even after the Volunteers retired Manning's No. 16 jersey in 2005. Saturday's media guide featured a three-page spread to Peyton Manning, highlighting some of his major accomplishments at Tennessee and promoting a two-disc DVD collection, entitled "The Peyton Manning Collection." Produced by Vol Network, the DVD series is available at volnetwork.tv and participating Cracker Barrel and Walgreens locations.
For a good cause. Tennessee players and coaches wore pink accents with their gameday attire in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
Captains. South Carolina was represented at the 50-yard line by Connor Shaw, Ronald Patrick, Jimmy Legree and Chaz Sutton. Tennessee's captains were Michael Palardy, Justin Worley, Pig Howard and Corey Miller. Worley and Miller are South Carolina natives.
First ejection. Junior safety Kadetrix Marcus became South Carolina's first casualty of the targeting rule Saturday when his first-quarter hit on Tennessee wideout Pig Howard drew a penalty flag and an ejection. His fellow safety, Brison Williams, attracted the same penalty earlier in the year at UCF, but his ejection was overruled after the ensuing replay.
Awkward moments galore. The home crowd at Neyland Stadium failed to muster any enthusiasm for its pre-game festivities, leaving one male cheerleading hanging out to dry. A few minutes before the noon kickoff, the cheerleader grabbed a microphone, jogged out to the 50-yard line, and urged the crowd to chant "orange...white!" multiple times. But the yawning crowd wasn't loud enough for him to put down the microphone, so he was left to repeat the words by himself awkwardly.
Next up was the "I said its great...to be...a Tennessee Vol," chant, which wasn't received any better. The crowd hushed the instant he set the microphone down, and he trotted off the field in defeat. The crowd did awake in time for the noon kick, though much of the upper deck was filled with South Carolina fans and empty seats.
Playing Sport. Sophomore guard Will Sport got his first career start Saturday, stepping in at right guard in place of senior Ronald Patrick, who suffered a high ankle sprain at Arkansas last week. Sport won the starting job after a short battle in practice this week with true freshman Na'Ty Rodgers, who burned his redshirt at Arkansas last week.
Hampton in. Victor Hampton got the start Saturday after taking a backseat to Rico McWilliams last week. Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said Thursday Hampton did everything he needed to do to earn his starting job back.