Mike Davis

NFL bound? Spurrier says junior RB Mike Davis might take part in senior day

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If there was any doubt about what the future will be for junior South Carolina running back Mike Davis, we might find out this week. South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday Davis might participate in senior day activities for South Carolina this week.

Davis leaving for the NFL would not be a big surprise given the short life-span players at the running back position seem to have in the NFL. This also comes out the day Georgia running back Todd Gurley was reported to have a torn ACL in his left knee, putting his future in some jeopardy. Former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore just retired from the NFL due to injury problems.

Davis leads the Gamecocks with 875 rushing yards this season. He has said before he would consider leaving early for the NFL. The Gamecocks have also allowed players leaving early to join in on senior day ceremonies. Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcy Quarles and Victor Hampton all did so last season, according to The Charlotte Observer.

South Carolina special teams block Florida’s chance to become bowl eligible

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Florida (5-4, 4-4 SEC) looked to have this game as close to being in the bag as either team may have been able to do on Saturday afternoon. After digging a 10-0 hole in the first quarter, Florida rallied with 17 straight points and held a 17-10 lead in the fourth quarter. But the South Carolina (5-5, 3-5 SEC) special teams pulled through with two huge blocks to give the Gamecocks enough life to tie things up late and force overtime. Then, in the overtime, South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson took it himself for a four-yard touchdown run for a 23-20 victory.

Florida had its chances to put this game away in the fourth quarter despite having another sluggish afternoon on offense, but the Gators could not finish things off in the fourth quarter. Florida’s fourth quarter possessions resulted in a three-and-out, a blocked field goal and a blocked punt. The Gators drove to the South Carolina 15-yard line but ended the drive with the Gamecocks blocking a 32-yard field goal try by Francisco Velez. South Carolina took over at their 41-yard line as a result but were unable to score points off the drive. Florida’s next possession was another three-and-out, this time with a punt blocked at the Florida 38-yard line.

Following the blocked punt, Thompson went straight to the air for a 27-yard gain to Mike Davis and a few plays later Davis was in the end zone, in part because Florida had been called for a pass interference in the end zone.

Florida had to settle for a field goal on the first possession of overtime, and South Carolina opted to simply keep things on the ground with Davis. It worked effectively with four straight runs to the Florida 11-yard line. South Carolina was on the four-yard line two plays later with a first and goal, at which time Thompson took care of things himself by running into the end zone for the win.

Florida ended the day with just three of 14 third-down conversions and 278 yards of offense. Gators quarterback Treon Haris attempted just 11 passes all afternoon, completing five for 60 yards and a touchdown late in the first half. Haris also led the Gators with 111 rushing yards. South Carolina was only marginally better on offense. South Carolina converted eight of 17 third downs for first downs but managed just 301 yards of offense and went 0-for-3 on fourth down attempts.

Florida will host Eastern Kentucky, an FCS program, next weekend in Gainesville for the final home game of the season. The following week Florida will wrap up the regular season on the road against Florida State. Florida is now done with SEC play, with a conference record of 4-4 this season, highlighted by a win over Georgia. After letting this game slip away, the talks about making a coaching change from Will Muschamp could heat up again after it looked as though he would manage to silence that idea for at least one more year. It has reached a point where even a win against Florida State might not be enough.

Florida can still play in a bowl game though. If the Gators win next weekend against Eastern Kentucky (and they should, although Eastern Kentucky is 8-2 after winning today against Murray State, so who knows), Florida will be eligible for postseason play. The last thing Florida will want is to have to clinch bowl eligibility against Florida State.

South Carolina also wrapped up SEC play this afternoon. The Gamecocks ended their season with a record in SEC play of just 3-5, a far cry from preseason expectations. South Carolina did record wins against Georgia and Florida, and that is usually a very good sign but other pieces just never fell into place for the Gamecocks, starting with a week one loss at home to Texas A&M. Next week South Carolina will host South Alabama from the Sun Belt Conference for the regular season home finale. The following week South Carolina travels to Clemson for the annual rivalry game against their instate ACC rival. South Carolina must win one of the next two games left on the schedule in order to become eligible to play in a bowl game. South Carolina has played in a bowl game every season since 2008 under Steve Spurrier.

Steve Spurrier: RB Mike Davis ‘may go pro’

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South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier hasn’t fully committed to a single thing regarding running back Mike Davis this season.

Spurrier said Davis could miss the Gamecocks’ season opener against the Texas A&M Aggies. A week later the coach said Davis was “sort of doubtful” for the game against the East Carolina Pirates. Davis played in both games.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when Spurrier remained noncommittal when asked about whether or not Davis will go pro after the season.

Prior to the start of the season, Spurrier proclaimed Davis would go pro “if he has a big year.” A slow start to the season obviously changed the coach’s tune.

After seeing what happened to former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who suffered knee injuries in consecutive seasons before declaring early for the NFL draft, Spurrier and his staff should be pushing Davis out the door toward a professional career.

Davis is currently the Gamecocks’ leading rusher with 24 carries for 116 yards. A strong effort against the sixth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs Saturday opposite the Bulldogs’ Todd Gurley will once again place Davis among the game’s top running backs. It was in this contest last year, Davis burst onto the scene with 149 rushing yards. Davis will need to play at a similar level for the Gamecocks to have a chance against Georgia.

Is South Carolina facing nation’s top running back this weekend?

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Georgia running back Todd Gurley rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns and added a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in a season-opening victory at home over Clemson. It was only one game ,but the message seems to be heard loud and clear: You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him. So how does a South Carolina defense that has been shredded by Texas A&M and East Carolina for a combined 1,133 yards of total offense in the first two weeks of the season start to game plan for Gurley?

Long nights and lots of coffee, probably.

“We have to tackle him, but they have a bunch of other backs too,” South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier Tuesday when addressing the media. “We just have to play football, tackle whoever has the ball. Sometimes they actually bring the wide receiver into the backfield and let him take off running, they have a nice mixture.”

South Carolina gave up big yardage to Gurley, with the Georgia back running for 132 yards and a touchdown. Spurrier has a pretty good running back himself with Mike Davis, but Gurley and the Bulldogs were too much even for the Gamecocks defense last season.

Good luck to South Carolina, and good luck to other teams facing some of the top running backs around the country this weekend.

Who do you think is the top running back in the nation? Is Todd Gurley leading the Heisman race, as Spurrier suggests may be the case? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

Texas A&M snaps South Carolina’s 18-game home winning streak

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No. 21 Texas A&M (1-0, 1-0 SEC) has a motto saying they run the state of Texas. On Thursday night, Texas A&M ran the state of South Carolina.

The Aggies went to Columbia, South Carolina confident in what they could do, and it showed. Texas A&M snapped No. 9 South Carolina’s (0-1, 0-1 SEC) 18-game home winning streak in dominating fashion, running away from the Gamecocks 52-28.

The star of the night was without a doubt Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill, who dazzled in his debut as the Aggies starter looking to fill the shoes left by Johnny Manziel. All he did was throw for a school record 511 yards and three touchdowns. He did so by spreading the football around very well form start to finish. In all, Texas A&M got the football into the hands of 11 different receivers and four different runners. The pace and ability to spread the ball around proved too much for South Carolina to handle as the Gamecocks were left catching their breath on the field and on the sideline early and often.

Texas A&M and South Carolina played a close first quarter, but the Aggies started to pull away in the second quarter and never looked back. Texas A&M took a 31-14 lead into the half and continued the onslaught with an answer any time South Carolina looked to grab the momentum.

The Gamecocks were mostly without their top offensive player, running back Mike Davis. Davis did not start the game and was given an early rest with a rib bruise as the game was well in hand. Davis carried the football six times for just 15 yards before being given a rest. But that was not the reason South Carolina lost this one.

South Carolina will host a dangerous East Carolina team next weekend, before hosting SEC East rival Georgia in what has become one of the top game sin the division the last few years. The Gamecocks clearly have more hole son defense than many may have been counting on this season, but there may not be another team with quite as potent an offense the rest of the season than the one South Carolina faced Wednesday night.

Texas A&M should continue to put up some big offensive numbers the next couple of weeks. The Aggies will host FCS Lamar in the home opener in Kyle Field next week, followed by a home game against Rice. The next SEC game for Texas A&M will come on September 27 in AT&T Stadium in Arlington against Arkansas in SEC West play. Moving forward, Texas A&M will have to be given more respect as a threat in the wide-open SEC. This Aggies team is not going to sneak up any one in conference play, especially Alabama, LSU and Auburn.

Watch out SEC. Texas A&M is going to put up some points once again.