South Carolina coach Will Muschamp isn’t sure at the moment whether Jake Bentley will be able to return as the Gamecocks starting quarterback.
“I will know more on his status Tuesday or Wednesday of this week as far as his playing status is concerned,” Muschamp said Sunday, one day after his team beat Missouri 37-35 behind backup quarterback Michael Scarnecchia.
Scarnecchia completed 20-of-35 passes for 249 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Tigers. Bentley, who threw six interceptions in the first four games of the year, was held out because of a knee injury. It’s unclear whether Bentley will return to his starting position even if he is cleared physically.
“I’ll make that decision when he’s healthy. Right now, he’s not,” Muschamp said. “We will make that decision this week.”
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Bentley dressed out for Saturday’s game and warmed up with the team. Muschamp said he was cleared to play if needed, but Muschamp was worried he would not be mobile enough to protect himself from additional injury.
“Jake has played a lot of good football for us,” Muschamp said. “When any player gets hurt, that’s unfortunate. We will make that decision (on the starting quarterback) moving forward based on Jake’s health.”
South Carolina (3-2 overall, 2-2 SEC) plays No. 22 Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Williams-Brice Stadium. Scarnecchia was named the Gamecocks offensive player of the game after the Missouri game.
“Mike played extremely well in a tough situation,” Muschamp said. “All of the things combined, he managed and played extremely well, really proud of Mike.”
Players of the game. True freshman defensive back Jaycee Horn was named defensive player of the game. Horn had three tackles and four pass breakups. Bryson Allen-Williams and Keir Thomas were defensive linemen of the week. Horn, Allen-Williams and defensive lineman Shameik Blackshear shared the effort award on defense. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel and tight end Kyle Markway received the effort award on offense. Place-kicker Parker White, who hit three go-ahead field goals including the game-winner, and the field goal unit were named special teams players of the week.
Injury update. Safety J.T. Ibe (knee) will miss the Texas A&M game. Tight end Jacob August (concussion) will return this week. Defensive end D.J. Wonnum (ankle), who has been out since the first game of the season, could start running this week but is doubtful to play.
Junior running back Mon Denson did not play against the Tigers, and his status remains uncertain for the Texas A&M game. Denson was not dressed out for warmups last week, but after a pregame conversation with Muschamp, emerged for the game in full uniform. He did not play.
“He’s struggling with his hamstring. It goes back and forth,” Muschamp said. “He woke up yesterday and didn’t feel good about it. We need to get him healthy. It’s hurting us on special teams. It’s hurting us at the running back position.”
Quotable. “I think we took a huge step forward as a team to be able to win a game like that. It was a huge gut check, and our guys responded,” Muschamp said.