There’s something about Senior Day that Kenny Miles loves.
The tailback took part in his second consecutive Senior Day at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday and led the Gamecocks to a 24-7 win against Wofford with a career-high 127 rushing yards on a career-high 27 carries.
Last season, when Miles was uncertain if he would return for a fifth season, he participated in the pregame festivities against Clemson and then rushed for 71 yards on 21 carries in a 34-13 win.
“Before the game when the seniors came through, I said, ‘Kenny, we did this last year. This is the last time we can do it for you,’” USC coach Steve Spurrier said. “He’d probably love to come back and play again.”
That’s not going to happen, which made his effort against the Terriers more special. His two-yard touchdown run in the second quarter provided the Gamecocks with their first lead.
“I really wasn’t thinking too much about Senior Day until they call your name and you go out there. It was a bit emotional being out there with my folks and really looking around and seeing it was going to be the last time I was going to play at Willy B,” Miles said. “It was definitely emotional, but I had to keep my composure and get ready to play ball. I’m definitely going to miss playing here.”
Miles’ hard-charging runs gave USC a lift early in the game when the offense was struggling. And he stepped up in the second half with 23 of USC’s 68 yards on a field-goal drive and 14 of USC’s 34 yards on the short touchdown drive that put the game away.
“That’s Kenny for you. He’s a hard worker. That’s what I expect from him every time he touches the ball, that he’s going to give us his all,” junior receiver Ace Sanders said. “He can run the ball as good as any running back we have. We have a lot of faith in him, and he knows that. He’s the type of guy that doesn’t want to let the team down. He’s going to do whatever it takes, and that’s what we admire about him.”
Miles outdueled Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein, that school’s all-time leading rusher, who finished with 125 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries. Miles, who also had four receptions for 27 yards, picked up his first 100-yard game since the 2009 game against Clemson. He had three 100-yard rushing games that season while leading the team in rushing with 626 yards.
“He’s always been a good back here. He can catch it and run with it and block,” Spurrier said. “He’ll get a chance in the NFL. Somebody is going to give him a chance.”
The 5-foot-9, 193-pound Miles, who hails from Lawrenceville, Ga., stated that he’ll probably skip his normal five-mile postgame run and run two or three miles after carrying the ball 27 times.
“I’m not tired at all, a little sore from them hitting me. Besides that, I feel good,” he said.
Miles, who got this opportunity when Marcus Lattimore went down with a season-ending knee injury, liked that he ran the ball much harder than his start against Arkansas last week, when he gained 37 yards on 14 carries.
“I got a lot of yards after contact,” he said. “I felt like I was a little more patient reading my blocks. I’ve just got to watch film and see what I can do better for next week.”
His reward was a game ball in his last go-around in garnet and black on his home turf.
“I’m feeling humbled and blessed to be able to have the opportunity that I’ve had at South Carolina for the years I’ve been here,” he said.