No. 13 South Carolina eked out a 35-28 win over Kentucky, their third straight win by ten points or less. The Gamecocks were favored by more than three touchdowns in the contest.
Notably absent for South Carolina was star defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney, who has struggled with injuries throughout the year. Head coach Steve Spurrier didn't exactly seem convinced that Clowney was actually hurt, making comments about his star's status to the media.
Spurrier says Clowney told him just before game he couldn't play. "I will just say he told me he couldn’t play."— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) October 6, 2013
Spurrier on Clowney: "If he wants to play, we will welcome him to come play for the team if he wants."— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) October 6, 2013
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward seemed to echo Spurrier's sentiment.
DC Ward: "I was totally surprised" when Clowney said he couldn't play.— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) October 6, 2013
Running back Mike Davis said Clowney mentioned the pain to him.
Davis on Clowney: "He didn't say nothing about not playing. Throughout the week he was just telling me his rib hurt."— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) October 6, 2013
Prior to the Gamecocks' opener against North Carolina, Spurrier was upset that three players, including Clowney, missed practice with injuries. He later said the issue was miscommunication.
Clowney, perhaps the most talented player in the country, had 23.5 tackles for a loss and 13 sacks last season. He has just three tackles for a loss and two sacks in 2013.