The two passes Bruce Ellington completed Saturday had their roots in Tuesday’s practice.
“I made a great pass to Alshon (Jeffery) in practice one day, and I guess that changed (coach Steve Spurrier’s) mind,” Ellington said after throwing his first collegiate passes in a 14-12 win over Mississippi State.
Ellington didn’t get off to a great start, skipping his first pass 5 yards in front of Ace Sanders, but he then completed a 16-yarder to Marcus Lattimore on third-and-7 and an 8-yarder to Jeffery. He also caught four passes for 32 yards and rushed four times for 25 yards.
“I am just going out there and playing,” he said. “Coach told me to go out there and have fun, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m just going to keep having fun.”
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With Lattimore's season-ending knee injury, Ellington’s role could grow even further, Spurrier said.
“We’ll look at him running more,” Spurrier said. “May look at him at tailback some. He can run inside also.”
The Gamecocks averaged 2.6 yards per rush against the Bulldogs, adding to Spurrier’s concerns about his offensive line.
“We’ll look at the tape and go from there,” Spurrier said. “We weren’t getting a lot of movement that’s for sure.”
Mississippi State, the SEC’s eighth-ranked rushing defense, had been allowing 4.4 yards per carry.
“Our offensive line played well at times and had some bad plays as well,” said quarterback Connor Shaw, who was sacked three times, “but they figured it out on the last drive.”
KILLING THE CLOCK
Shaw was a bit wary about Spurrier’s call for him to run through the back of the end zone on the final play of the game in order to run out the clock. Four seconds were on the clock when South Carolina snapped the ball the final time.
“You should have heard me,” Shaw said. “I was out there counting out loud, ‘One, two, three, four’ and got out of bounds.”
Junior Byron Jerideau said this week he didn’t mind playing both ways, and it didn’t take him long to prove he was a man of his word.
Jerideau played as an offensive guard and defensive tackle Saturday. He has played defensive line throughout his football career but was moved to the offensive side of the ball this week in practice.
Kelcy Quarles suffered a minor shoulder sprain and missed several series in the first half, which forced the Gamecocks to use Jerideau at defensive tackle.
Junior running back Kenny Miles (wrist), offensive tackle Kyle Nunn (back) and safeties Brison Williams (bruised thigh) and Corey Addison (concussion) did not travel to the game. Williams is the only one of the four whose injury wasn’t previously known.
Melvin Ingram, who was nursing a sprained left foot, sprained his ankle on the final play of the first half but played in the second half. Cornerback Victor Hampton suffered a lower leg injury but returned to the game.
Rokevious Watkins, who suffered a concussion last week, started and played the entire game.
... Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney forced his fourth fumble of the season in the first half, but the Gamecocks did not recover it. Clowney led the SEC with three forced fumbles coming into the game.
Senior wide receiver Jason Barnes did not travel to the game. Barnes had a hamstring injury but was healthy enough to practice with the scout team this week.
Spurrier won his 50th game as South Carolina’s head coach.
“We’ve got big ones left. I don’t know if Georgia is going to lose again so we have to keep winning if we’re going to win the East.” – Steve Spurrier