South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw believes he can run anywhere on the field. Losing 40 pounds to a svelte 300 will do that.
And Florida tailback Mark Thompson learned that the hard way.
In the third quarter, he caught a pass in the flat. His immediate concern was getting around Gamecocks defensive back Jamyest Williams. The big man coming wasn’t his concern until later.
“They kept saying, ‘Watch the screen,’ ” Kinlaw said. “And I saw them throw that little pass, I said, ‘Oh yeah, it’s over with.’ So I just had to put the jets on.”
Never miss a local story.
Kinlaw, who was outside on a stunt, came outside with speed. Thompson had stiff-armed Williams and was trying to move past him.
But Kinlaw caught him square, landed on him and then did a little high-step for good measure.
“In my mind, I’m fixing to knock this boy out,” Kinlaw said. “My eyes start drooling. ‘C’mon, slow him down a little bit.’ And then it happened. Jam slowed him down enough.”
It was part of a four-tackle day for Kinlaw, who also had a batted pass on the game-clinching interception.
His teammate, Taylor Stallworth, had a front-row seat to seeing the big man move.
“I did my technique, then I see JK coming free,” Stallworth said. “And I see Jam slowing him down. All that went in my mind, they better call the ambulance because this a big boy.”