Nobody on the offensive side would call South Carolina’s 34-16 victory against Mississippi State Saturday afternoon a masterpiece.
The Gamecocks turned five Bulldog turnovers into 20 points, but Mike Davis again showed why he is one of the most complete backs in the SEC despite the offense being limited to its lowest output of the season with 307 yards.
The sophomore became the eighth back in school history to gain over 1,000 yards in a season with his 128-yard performance. Davis has recorded seven 100-yard games in nine outings and has 1,058 yards on the season. There have been 10 such seasons in school history with George Rogers topping the 1,000-yard mark three times. Davis’ season ranks eighth in school history and he has at least four games remaining. Rogers holds the school record with 1,894 yards in 1980, the year he captured the Heisman trophy.
Davis is 139 yards from moving into third place in a single season. Marcus Lattimore is the last back to reach 1,000 yards, doing it in 2010.
“Going over 1,000 yards means a lot,” Davis said. “I am proud of myself. I’m glad I was able to be the eighth person to do that. It’s a great feeling.”
Davis reached the mark on the second drive of the third quarter. It was probably the best drive of the day for the Gamecocks, and it featured Davis on four of the five plays. He got to 1,000 yards on a 7-yard carry to open the drive and then added a 43-yard run on the next play.
He then made a twisting, falling-down catch on the next play for a 30-yard gain down to the 6. He carried for two 2 on the next play before Shaw threw is fourth touchdown pass of the day — a 4-yard toss to Jerell Adams.
“We did have good drive in the third quarter about 85 yards when (Davis) had his one long run,” Spurrier said. Mike Davis did have another excellent game.”
Shaw, who tied a career-high with four touchdown passes, was pleased to see Davis reach the 1,000-yard plateau.
“I am so proud of Mike,” he said. “He’s such a hard-nosed runner. Just proud of him. He played well today again.”
Davis was aware he was approaching the 1,000 yards, but he wanted to give all the praise to the line.
“I think that I was very aware of my abilities, but it’s not up to me,” Shaw said. “I’ve got 1,000 yards, but I’d say those 1,000 yards came from the offensive line. Those guys up front they are the ones who push me. They deserve more credit.”
The lowest output for Davis this season was his 51-yard effort last week against Missouri, but he came up huge in the passing game 10 catches for 99 yards. He usually is in the mix when the Gamecocks offense is clicking, and that again was the case against the Bulldogs. He had 46 yards rushing at the half but added 75 yards in the 17-point third quarter that put the game away.
“I think that’s something — it’s hard to explain, but I am glad to be the leading rusher,” Davis said. “That’s something I take pride in. It’s up to the offensive line. It all starts with them. It’s all up to the offensive line, receivers too do a great job of blocking down the field.”