The Daily Gamecock

Notebook vs. Kentucky: Gamecocks show depth in backfield

Pound the rock  

Junior running back Mike Davis  collected 183 yards on the ground , which is the highest total by a South Carolina running back since Marcus Lattimore rushed for 246 yards against Navy in 2011.   

It was also a career high for Davis, whose previous career high came last year when he ran for 167 yards against Central Florida in a 28-25 win. 

As a team, the Gamecocks ran for 282 yards, the fourth-highest yardage total for the school under Spurrier. 

Junior running backs Shon Carson and Brandon Wilds rushed for 37 and 28 yards, respectively. Redshirt freshman David Williams also contributed with 19 yards on the ground . Redshirt senior Dylan Thompson ran for 33 yards , which is his second-highest total behind his 38 rushing yards against Clemson in 2012. 

Wilds, however, did not play a down in the second half Saturday night. 

Thompson running out of time? 

Thompson threw three interceptions against Kentucky, marking the first time he's thrown multiple interceptions in a game. It is the most interceptions thrown by a South Carolina quarterback since Stephen Garcia tossed four picks in a 21-3 win against Vanderbilt in 2011. Garcia was benched permanently the next game, ending his tenure as starting quarterback with the Gamecocks, giving way to the Connor Shaw era. 

Behind Thompson on the depth chart lies redshirt sophomore Perry Orth and redshirt freshman Connor Mitch . Head coach Steve Spurrier has indicated that there is no clear-cut No. 2 quarterback.

“If we had to, hopefully they could go in there and play fairly well,” Spurrier said. “But we don’t know — we haven’t had to play them yet. We’ll wait and see. They’re still competing during practice every day, those two.”

A second time for everything 

Saturday night’s loss to Kentucky marks the second time Spurrier has ever lost to the Wildcats. Spurrier’s other loss came in 2010 when the then-No. 10 Gamecocks lost 31-28 to a Kentucky team. His 20 wins against Kentucky are matched only by his 20-2 record against Vanderbilt, and his .909 winning percentage against Kentucky and Vanderbilt is the same as his winning percentage against South Carolina (10-1). 

Winning the fourth quarter

This season, South Carolina has been outscored 74-45 in the fourth quarter. Against Missouri and Kentucky, the Gamecocks saw a late lead diminish and have been outscored a combined 35-14 in the two fourth quarters. In only one game have the Gamecocks outscored their opponent, which came against Vanderbilt when South Carolina notched 21 points against the Commodores’ 10 points. 

Near the bottom

Kentucky’s average field position against South Carolina Saturday was its own 31-yard line, which is a shade higher than the team’s average on kickoff return so far this year. Through six games, the Gamecocks are 123rd in the nation in kickoff return defense, allowing 495 return yards on 17 kickoffs. South Carolina and Washington State are the only teams that have allowed two kickoff returns to be returned for touchdowns this season.  

The Gamecocks are also near the bottom of the country in the following defensive categories: scoring defense – 101st, total defense – 91st, third-down defense – 97th, turnover margin – 96th. 


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