Knoxville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Michael Palardy buried a 19-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Tennessee Volunteers to a 23-21 victory over the 11th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks in an SEC Eastern Division battle on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
Trailing by one with 2:48 remaining in the game, Tennessee took over at its own 35-yard line.
Facing 3rd-and-10 early in the drive, Justin Worley heaved a deep ball down the left sideline for Marquez North, who made a spectacular one-handed grab with a defender draped all over him for a 39-yard gain down to the South Carolina 26.
"Marquez North obviously made a big time play, but hats off to Justin Worley too. He was poised, stood in the pocket," Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said.
With the Gamecocks left with just one timeout, Marlin Lane carried the ball four straight times, including a 14-yard pickup down to the 2-yard line with 27 seconds left.
Tennessee (4-3, 1-2 SEC) then ran the clock down before Worley spiked the ball with three seconds left to set up Palardy's game-winning kick.
Worley finished 19-of-34 passing for 179 yards and a touchdown, while Rajion Neal rushed for 77 yards and a score on 24 carries for the Volunteers, who notched their first win over a ranked team since Oct. 31, 2009, when they upended then-No. 22 South Carolina.
The Gamecocks (5-2, 3-2) held a one-point lead and the ball with 5:44 remaining before Connor Shaw dropped back to pass on 2nd-and-10 and twisted his left knee awkwardly as he was sandwiched between two defenders.
"The trainer called it a sprained knee," South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said of Shaw's injury. "I think he sort of got tackled on it and it collapsed under him a little bit he said. How serious it is, we'll have to wait an evaluate, but they're calling it a sprained knee right now."
Backup quarterback Dylan Thompson took over on 3rd-and-12 and completed a short dump-off to Mike Davis, forcing South Carolina to punt the ball away.
The Gamecocks forced a quick three-and-out before Davis carried the ball on back-to-back plays and Thompson added a 6-yard scamper to force Tennessee to use all three of its timeouts.
Spurrier sent his offense out on 4th-and-2 from the 26-yard line before calling back-to-back timeouts, which proved costly when the Gamecocks were unable to stop the clock on Tennessee's game-winning drive.
Shaw completed just 7-of-21 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown with one interception while adding 78 yards and a score on 19 totes before leaving with the knee injury late in the fourth quarter.
Davis finished with 137 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in the setback.
Palardy put Tennessee on the board with a 37-yard field goal early in the first before South Carolina countered with quick strike on the first play of the second, as Shaw found Damiere Byrd streaking down the field behind the Tennessee defense for a 76-yard touchdown and a 7-3 lead.
The Volunteers answered with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that the Gamecocks kept alive with a pair of third-down penalties before Worley capped the trek with a 6-yard TD toss to Alton Howard to make it 10-7 Tennessee with 10:12 left before halftime.
After a quick three-and-out from South Carolina, Worley and Lane led the Volunteers down the field before Neal ripped off three straight runs, with his 5-yard scamper into the end zone giving Tennessee a 17-7 cushion.
Shaw got the Gamecocks into field goal range on the team's ensuing touch, but Elliott Fry missed a 45-yard try to leave South Carolina facing a 10-point deficit heading into the break.
Shaw was picked off for the first time this season on the second play of the third quarter, but responded with consecutive scoring drives to put the Gamecocks in front.
After Tennessee failed to do anything with the turnover, Shaw extended South Carolina's ensuing touch with a 9-yard scramble on 4th-and-8 from the Tennessee 45 before Davis capped the trek five plays later with a 21-yard TD run to make it 17-14 with 9:46 left in the third.
Palardy came up empty on a 46-yard try on Tennessee's next touch before Shaw moved the Gamecocks 70 yards in six plays, culminating in a 1-yard touchdown surge to give South Carolina a 21-17 edge with 2:50 remaining in the quarter.
Palardy connected on a 33-yard field goal early in the fourth to bring the Volunteers within one.
Tennessee had lost 19 straight games against ranked opponents ... The Vols have a convincing 23-7-2 advantage over the Gamecocks in the all-time series ... Byrd finished with 121 receiving yards on four catches ... North caught three passes for 102 yards ... Neal racked up 77 rushing yards ... South Carolina was called for nine penalties for 84 yards.