Josh Kendall

Who leads USC in rushing touchdowns and why that’s not good news

South Carolina feels like it’s making progress in its run game, but there’s one fact that shows just how far the Gamecocks have to go: Quarterback Jake Bentley leads the team in rushing touchdowns.

Even Bentley would not have believed that had he been told at the beginning of the year.

“I probably would have said you’re crazy or it wouldn’t be a good sign if I was doing it,” Bentley said. “That’s just the way it has happened this year. A.J. (Turner) gets it down there, and I put it in.”

Bentley has four rushing touchdowns this year, all of which have come in the last three games. The rest of the team has eight rushing touchdowns combined, and South Carolina’s team total of 12 ranks 13th in the SEC and 92nd in the nation. Turner and Mon Denson are tied for second on the team with two rushing touchdowns this year.

“I think we’ve continued to improve throughout the year in the run game,” head coach Will Muschamp said. “I think we had a really good game plan going into the game, in our run game, things that we wanted to get into against a very good front.”

South Carolina rushed for a season-high 220 yards in a 28-20 win over the Gators. After averaging 58.7 rushing yards per game in their first three SEC games, the Gamecocks are averaged 165.6 yards per game in their last five conference games. Overall, they are 13th in the SEC in rushing with 125 yards per game.

South Carolina’s inability to run the ball into the end zone effectively is one of the things that has hamstrung an offense that is 11th in the SEC in scoring. Muschamp himself has talked about how much it easier it is to defend a team in the red zone when he doesn’t feel like that team is a serious threat to run the ball for scores. If the Gamecocks are going to increase they’re scoring, they are going to need to become one of the team’s that can.