South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp expects starting quarterback Jake Bentley to be able to play Saturday against Missouri.
“He’s probable. He practiced today,” Muschamp said Tuesday afternoon. “He’s still sore, but it’s a long time till Saturday and I think he’ll be fine.”
Bentley was not made available to the media as he normally is on Tuesday. That was simply a scheduling conflict, Muschamp said. He suffered what was called a minor knee injury last week against Kentucky and was replaced by senior backup Michael Scarnecchia in the fourth quarter. Scarnecchia also was not made available to the media.
“Jake’s been in rehab,” senior wide receiver Deebo Samuel said on Tuesday.
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“He practiced a little bit as far as I know,” offensive lineman Zack Bailey said. “He was out there throwing the ball. I don’t look and see who’s really in back of me. He was out there and he was throwing the ball around. I don’t know exactly what he did today, but I know he was out there.”
Bailey said he hasn’t heard any updates on Bentley’s status.
“If he wants to play, he’ll play, and if he wants to get healed or whatever, Scar you are up, let’s go,” Bailey said. “We have a game to win.”
Bentley has completed 63.6 percent of his passes this season for 928 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. No one in the SEC’s top 14 passing statistics has as many interceptions. He is sixth in the SEC in passing with 232 yards per game. He is 11th in passer rating (131.1).
Scarnecchia, a 6-foot-3, 216-pounder from Fleming Island, Fla., was not made available to the media on Tuesday despite being requested. Scarnecchia graduated from South Carolina with a degree in finance in May. As a high school senior, he threw 28 touchdowns and two interceptions for a 10-1 team and was rated the No. 66 pocket-passing quarterback prospect in the country in 2014.
Scarnecchia, who signed with former head coach Steve Spurrier’s staff, redshirted in 2014, played sparingly in 2015, took a medical redshirt in 2016 after having shoulder surgery and served as the backup quarterback throughout the 2017 season. He was 1-for-1 passing for 9 yards entering the season.
After replacing Bentley in the fourth quarter against Kentucky, Scarnecchia completed 4-of-6 passes for 45 yards.
“The short time he was in, he was effective,” Muschamp said after the game. “At that time of the game, it was a one-dimensional game and they were teeing off pretty good which makes it harder.”
True freshman quarterback Dakereon Joyner served as South Carolina’s third-string quarterback against Kentucky although he did not play. Joyner was the state’s Mr. Football last season and the headliner of the Gamecocks’ 2018 signing class. Joyner had a career high school record of 40-3 as a starting quarterback, including leading Fort Dorchester to a state championship.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jay Urich did not make the trip to Kentucky. Urich has not played this season.