Tennessee Vols junior defensive back Jaylen McCollough trusted his instincts on Saturday against the South Carolina Gamecocks and it paid off in a big way.
McCollough, a former four-star recruit who signed with the Vols during the 2019 recruiting cycle, came down with a key interception for Tennessee in the first quarter of UT’s 45-20 win against South Carolina.
With just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter, South Carolina attempted a trick play from the UT two-yard line.
McCollough immediately recognized that something wasn’t right, read the play perfectly, and made the interception.
South Carolina tried a trick play against Tennessee. It didn’t go well. pic.twitter.com/Uu7MO9FaYK
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) October 9, 2021
“I saw him (South Carolina QB Luke Doty) toss the ball to a lineman and something in my head just said that isn’t right,” said McCollough after the game. “I just got back, and the ball fell in my hands.”
Instead of pursuing Jordan Burch, the Gamecocks defensive end who threw the interception, McCollough stayed in the end zone to defend against the pass.
At the time, the Vols were up 14-0. A touchdown would’ve cut Tennessee’s lead in half. Instead, the Vols scored five plays later to extend their lead to 21-0.
This is just another example of how Tennessee’s defense is playing smart football under defensive coordinator Tim Banks.
Featured image via UTSports.com