The South Carolina Gamecocks (7-2, 5-2 SEC) escaped Saturday with a 38-35 win over the visiting Tennessee Volunteers (3-5, 0-5), but South Carolina suffered a major blow in the first half when star running back Marcus Lattimore was lost to a gruesome right knee injury.
The junior running back was hit low on his 11th rush of the day, and immediately fell to the ground in pain. He was attended to by trainers and carted off the field. ESPN reported that Lattimore was taken by ambulance to the hospital for further evaluation.
In the absence of Lattimore, Connor Shaw shouldered the offensive load for South Carolina, completing 22 of 32 passes for 356 yards and three touchdowns. Shaw also chipped in 33 yards rushing on 18 carries, scoring on a one-yard touchdown scamper in the second quarter.
Tennessee was led by Tyler Bray and wideout Zach Rogers in defeat. Bray threw for 368 yards and four touchdowns, connecting with Rogers on six passes, three for scores. A Volunteers fumble with just over a minute left in the game prevented Tennessee from winning their first SEC game of the year
Box Score Hero: Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw. With Lattimore out of the game, Shaw was efficient and effective both through the air and on the ground. He will need to continue playing at a high-level for the remainder of the year with Lattimore likely done for the season.
Rankings Ramifications: South Carolina entered the game ranked No. 13 in the country, but the slim margin of victory over a mediocre Tennessee team will probably drop the Gamecocks a spot or two in the latest polls.
But Did They Cover? South Carolina, 14 point favorites, did not cover, and in fact were one Tennessee lost fumble away from possibly losing the contest.