South Carolina could be on their way to the SEC Championship Game appearance if Ole Miss can help them out this weekend with a win over Missouri. The hope for South Carolina is to avoid injuries the rest of the regular season while also getting some of their key players back to full strength. On Wednesday South Carolina had defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (foot) and running back Mike Davis (assorted) return to practice.
Clowney hurt his foot last week against Florida, just adding to what has been an up and down year for one of the game’s top defensive players coming in to the season. Clowney has said he will have surgery after the season as he prepares for the NFL Draft. Davis, the SEC’s leading rusher, has been banged up with injuries to his shoulder, ribs and ankle in recent games. Clowney and Davis each sat out of practice on Tuesday.
South Carolina faces Coastal Carolina this weekend, so the need to have these key players on the field is not all that high. For South Carolina, all eyes should be set on Clemson in the final week of the regular season, and if all works out the sEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
Defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles (headache), safety Brison Williams (forearm), linebacker Cedrick Cooper (groin) and fullback Jordan Diaz (knee sprain) were all kept out of practice on Wednesday.
Central Florida is doing their best to make a bit of a statement, leading South Carolina 10-0 at halftime. Think Louisville is paying attention to this one? They should be, because Central Florida may be the biggest threat to the Cardinals this season. After winning at Penn State two weeks ago and the way they are playing against South Carolina, Central Florida is certainly showing they have what it takes to play some good football.
UCF quarterback Blake Bortles has been effective in leading the offense and exploiting some holes in the middle of the field. Running back Storm Johnson has ben having some success as well. The Knights marched right down field on the game’s opening possession and capped it with a touchdown run by Johnson, but the story has really been UCF’s defense, shutting out the Gamecocks with an aggressive style. The Gamecocks lost starting quarterback Connor Shaw in the first half to a sprained right shoulder. He is done for the day. Dylan Thompson has taken over at quarterback.
There was also another example of just how poorly executed the new targeting rule can be.
Brison Williams was penalized and ejected for a targeting in the second quarter. Per NCAA policy, the penalty was reviewed by the video official to determine if the ejection was warranted or not. In this case, it was not and Williams was allowed to remain in the game. Of course, while the ejection can be overturned the 15-yard penalty yardage was not. This was just the latest example of a rule designed to provide more safety for players being absolutely ridiculous in its impact on the game.