Josh Kendall

Kentucky quarterback injury may not be a break for Gamecocks

tdominick@thestate.com

All offseason long, it looked like Saturday’s trip to Kentucky would be one of those bittersweet recruiting moments for South Carolina’s football team.

Drew Barker, a Blue Grass native, was the Gamecocks’ No. 1 recruiting target at quarterback three years ago but decided to stick with the home state team. Barker earned the starting job in the offseason and figured to be waiting for South Carolina when it arrived in town Saturday.

However, Barker suffered a leg injury in Saturday’s win against New Mexico State and may not be able to play against South Carolina. Even if he can play, Barker might not.

That’s because Stephen Johnson came in and threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another 51 against New Mexico State. Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops wouldn’t speculate Saturday about his future quarterback situation.

At this point, South Carolina would rather see Barker at the helm. Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 183-pound junior college transfer, is a dual threat quarterback, and just the term sends shivers down the spine of Gamecocks fans.

Mobile quarterbacks gave South Carolina fits throughout 2015 and again against Mississippi State two weeks ago. In Saturday’s big win, the only part of the defense that bothered head coach Will Muschamp much was against East Carolina’s Wildcat quarterback James Summers, who gained 71 yards on 11 carries.

“The run game that hurt us from then on was the Wildcat formation,” Muschamp said. “That was disappointing. We played blocks well up front, but we didn’t fit the run well.”

Sounds familiar.

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