South Carolina sophomore Kenny Miles may get his first start since last season when the No. 19 Gamecocks play Vanderbilt on Saturday. Freshman starter Marcus Lattimore sprained his left ankle in South Carolina’s 31-28 loss on Saturday and is doubtful for the game, coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday.
Lattimore “will be off of it until probably Thursday,” Spurrier said. “We’ll see if he can jog around on it or not.”
After the game, Lattimore was confident he would play against the Commodores. He walked into his postgame interview without crutches and wearing flip-flops.
Lattimore had a career-high 133 yards receiving and 79 yards rushing before leaving the game. He is fifth in the SEC in rushing with 89.7 per game, and he is tied for the conference lead in touchdowns with 12. He scored three times against Kentucky before leaving the game.
Miles, who had 626 rushing yards last year and started seven games, has not gotten a carry in the past three games. When Lattimore went down against Kentucky, he was replaced by Brian Maddox.
“We may let Kenny Miles start this game,” Spurrier said. “Brian played pretty well, ran hard the times he had some opportunities there.”
Sophomore wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who had six catches for 65 yards Saturday, suffered a minor thigh bruise against the Wildcats. But that is not the reason he wasn’t the intended receiver on South Carolina’s final play of the game, Spurrier said.
“He got hit in the thigh on that little drag route where he ran backward after he caught it,” Spurrier said. “That may have hampered him a bit. We probably should have hung more balls up to him. Anyway, that’s the way it worked out there at the end.”
More Garcia praise
Mostly lost in Saturday’s bitter defeat was the play of quarterback Stephen Garcia, who had a career-high 382 yards passing. Garcia hadn’t passed for more than 235 yards in the eight games prior to Saturday. By halftime, Garcia had 281 yards, more than he had in all but four games.
Garcia’s performance “was beautiful in the first half,” Spurrier said. “I think he played OK (overall). There wasn’t much out there.”
On the downside, Garcia still hasn’t won an SEC road game as a starting quarterback. He fell to 0-6.
On Sunday, Spurrier explained his reasoning behind calling a timeout to set up the Gamecocks’ final play. The clock had already stopped with 11 seconds remaining, and it was South Carolina’s final timeout.
“It was a play where we were trying to tell them, ‘Here’s how we’re going to throw it in the end zone,’” Spurrier said. “We were going to throw it in the end zone, and then if we didn’t hit it, kick the field goal. I just wanted to let everyone know exactly (what to do). ‘This is where to line up. Stephen sort of look down the middle, throw it out in the corner here.’”
“Most of the game, I was being double-covered. I had two men on me, but Chris (Matthews) was having an amazing game. That last play, Chris ran a little sit route, and I ran the corner. And the safety and the corner jumped Chris because he had been making plays and getting the ball all night, which left me wide open.”
Kentucky wide receiver Randall Cobb on game-winning touchdown catch Saturday.
“We seem to have a patent on that play.”
Spurrier on how both Gamecock losses have ended on interceptions in the end zone after first bouncing off a USC receiver’s hands.