COLUMBIA, SC - Two practices into Tennessee week and the reviews are still coming in for USC freshman quarterback Jake Bentley who made his first career start Saturday in the 34-28 win over UMASS.
Bentley completed 17 of 26 passes for 201 yards and a pair of touchdowns with no interceptions or fumbles.
USC offensive lineman Mason Zandi, a senior, has been impressed with the way the newcomer has handled everything that has been thrown at him.
"Jake's got a little bit of swagger," Zandi said.
"You come into your first start and throw two impressive touchdowns with relatively no mistakes, that's a big deal for a kid who's supposed to be a senior in high school. So he's got a little bit of swagger to him right now, so, keep riding that hot hand."
Running back A.J. Turner says Bentley's arm strength has allowed the offense to become more vertical.
"I believe we took more shots downfield and created explosive plays," Turner said.
"Just being able to take that deep threat and give our players a chance is what he did well."
Bentley and the offense will have an easier time against Tennessee's defense if it can provide the same balance as it did against UMASS as the 194 yards rushing provided a nice complement to the passing game.
Tennessee is 11th in the SEC in rushing defense, allowing an average of 215.3 yards per game.