When Jay Graham saw Marcus Lattimore go down Saturday, he knew it was bad, he said.
“He didn’t see it coming,” Graham, No. 14 South Carolina’s running backs coach, said on the school’s “Inside the Roost” radio program on 107.5 FM. “If he was carrying the ball and got hit like that, he probably would have been able to raise his leg a little, but he didn’t see it coming and that’s when those type of injuries happen.”
Lattimore tore ligaments in his left knee in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 14-12 win over Mississippi State while he was blocking. A Bulldogs defender dove into Lattimore’s knee while trying to tackle Bruce Ellington.
The injury will require surgery and keep Lattimore out the rest of the season. Lattimore handled the news well, Graham said.
“He hasn’t skipped a beat,” Graham said. “He took the information and was like, ‘OK, I am going to start getting myself ready for next year.’ ”
Lattimore, a 6-foot, 232-pound sophomore, gained 39 yards of 17 carries against Mississippi State but still is second in the SEC and 13th in the country in rushing with 116.9 yards per game. He has 818 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Lattimore has 1,000 all-purpose yards this season, 35 percent of South Carolina’s total offense.
Athletics director Eric Hyman expressed confidence the football team will rally.
“I really like what the baseball team and some people said – win anyway,” Hyman said on “Inside the Roost.” “We’ll just close ranks. That’s what a team is all about. We’ll work through it. Football success, there is luck involved in this. If you get particular people hurt, it does impact you.”
Junior running backs Kenny Miles and Eric Baker could be ready in time for the Oct. 29 game at Tennessee, Graham said. Baker, who has a high ankle sprain, recently came out of his walking boot, Graham said. Miles has a right wrist injury.
“It’s good to have a week off to see if (Miles and Baker) can go next week,” Graham said.