Posted by Chip Patterson
With Saturday's 21-7 victory over Vanderbilt, South Carolina snapped an SEC road losing streak that dated by to 2008 and pushed the Gamecocks into the division lead in the SEC East. After getting shut down in the second half against Kentucky, South Carolina's offense was able to get clicking again against the Commodores for 484 yards of total offense. A statistic that is especially impressive with the absence of star running back Marcus Lattimore.
Lattimore sat out Saturday's match up with Vanderbilt nursing a sprained ankle. Word from Columbia is that he could have gone if needed, but head coach Steve Spurrier wanted to rest the true freshman in preparation for the Gamecocks' final three conference games: against Tennessee, Arkansas, and at Florida.
So far, the plan appears to be working. The Gamecocks picked up the W in Nashville and Lattimore was able to take the week off. Spurrier says that after resting against the Commodores, Lattimore should be 100 percent for Saturday's showdown with Tennessee.
Lattimore is currently fifth in the SEC in rushing yards per game (89.7) and has scored a touchdown in every game of his young career. Lattimore's greatest strength's are not able to be read in statistics. His running style is not completely power, but he rarely is brought down by less than two defenders. The rare combination of power and speed can wear down a defense, opening up the passing game for quarterback Stephen Garcia to find All-SEC wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey down the field. The Gamecocks are three conference victories from their first SEC Championship Game appearance. All of their games are winnable, but with one loss the Gamecocks will find themselves in a messy three-way with Georgia and Florida. No one wants that (innuendo intended).
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