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Oct. 16, 2011

University of South Carolina running backs Marcus Lattimore and Matt Coffee suffered season-ending knee injuries in Saturday’s 14-12 win over Mississippi State, it was announced today.

“Our worst fears were realized. Marcus has a torn ligament and a little bit of cartilage damage in there,” said head coach Steve Spurrier in his weekly teleconference. “It’s very unfortunate, flukish-type injury that occurred yesterday.

Matt Coffee, backup fullback and kickoff cover team guy, also tore a ligament. He’s out also. With Shon Carson, that’s three running backs. I can’t remember having more than one and we’ve had three at that position. Injuries is part of the game,” continued Coach Spurrier. “We really think Marcus will be back next year as strong as every.”

Both Lattimore and Coffee will have surgery in a few weeks to repair the damage to their knees.

Lattimore logged 818 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 163 carries this season, an average of 5.0 yards per carry and 116.9 yards per game, second in the SEC. He also caught 19 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown.

Prior to leaving Saturday’s game with the injury, the sophomore back became the 15th player in school history to rush for 2,000 yards in a career. He is tied for third on the school’s all-time list with 27 rushing touchdowns and is third with 30 career touchdowns scored overall.

True freshman Brandon Wilds will likely be the starter at Tennessee on Oct. 29 in the Gamecocks’ next contest, according to Coach Spurrier. Spurrier also is hopeful that junior Kenny Miles, who has been sidelined for several weeks with a sprained wrist, would be available as well.

The Gamecocks, who will have their bye week this week, will return to the Bluff Road practice fields on Tuesday at 4 p.m.