South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp had already said a few nice things about freshman tailback Rico Dowdle before throwing the big compliment.
He was reviewing a day where the run game did it’s share of the damage, at times powering methodical drives. Dowdle, in his second start in three games, was a big part of it.
“Rico made some tough runs,” Muschamp said. “The one bounce-out run on our sideline, that’s a big-time SEC back making that run.”
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On that play he bounced outside, juking a defender to the ground and then worked past a pair of would-be tacklers for 40 yards.
Dowdle spent the night making runs that often got the most out of the blocking in front of him. He often found seams or dodged past would-be tacklers or just plain went forward through contact for a few extra yards each carry.
The freshman finished with 127 yards on 27 carries, the best total output for a Gamecocks back this season. He’s only played in four games.
“We ran the ball for the most part pretty well through the night,” Muschamp said.
Dowdle missed the end of the game after landing on the ball, but the coach said it was nothing serious.