South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp admitted his team doesn’t have the top-end talent to overcome mistakes.
At times, Jamarcus King looked like an exception.
The former No. 1 junior college prospect grabbed a pair of vital interceptions Saturday in a 24-21 win against Tennessee, one in the early going to set up a touchdown and another late to extinguish a Volunteers drive in a tight game.
King said the first pick was set up by a good call, his coaches knowing what was coming. The second was something else.
“I just split the zone and he threw the ball,” King said. “He stared him down.”
On that play, he reached back and contorted to secure the ball and end Tennessee’s last good scoring chance.
He added five tackles, tied for second on the team, and had to do a little extra with fellow corner Chris Lammons thrown out of the game for throwing a punch.
King’s impact wasn’t lost on Muschamp.
“Jamarcus is instinctive,” Muschamp said. “He’s got length. He’s got all the physical attributes we like. He’s been a very coachable guy since he’s been here.
Even without Lammons and later D.J. Smith (targeting), USC grounded a Volunteers passing game led by a senior quarterback. Third-year starter Josh Dobbs hit 12 of 26 passes for 161 yards.
Combine that with allowing 3.7 yards per carry (controlling Dobbs and top back Jalen Hurd) and this was the second-fewest yards USC has allowed all season. Considering the competition, it was the team’s defensive showing of the season.
“Our gameplan was to come in and shut down the run, make Dobbs beat us throwing the ball,” linebacker T.J. Holloman said. “We saw today, our defensive line got after him and he had a lot of problems.”