Gamecocks Travel to Oxford to Face Ole Miss Saturday, Nov. 14
SEC Network to Televise 7:30 pm ET Kick
The South Carolina Gamecocks (2-4) travel to Oxford, Miss. to face the Ole Miss Rebels (2-4) on Saturday, Nov. 14. Game time is set for 7:30 pm ET (6:30 pm CT) from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, and be televised by SEC Network.
OVER THE AIRWAVES: Tom Hart will serve as the play-by-play voice for SEC Network with Jordan Rodgers providing the analysis. Cole Cubelic will work as the sideline reporter. The familiar voices of Gamecock Greats Todd Ellis and Tommy Suggs handle the call for the Gamecock Radio Network.
A LITTLE HISTORY: 2020 marks the 127th season of intercollegiate football at the University of South Carolina, dating back to 1892. It is the 114th-consecutive year in which South Carolina has competed on the gridiron. The University did not field a team in either 1893 or 1906. Carolina owns an all-time record of 614-591-44 (.509).
IT JUST MEANS MORE: The 2020 season marks South Carolina’s 29th year in the Southeastern Conference. South Carolina and Arkansas joined the league prior to the 1992 campaign. The Gamecocks earned the SEC Eastern Division title in the 2010 season. The Gamecocks are 99-130-1 (.433) all-time in SEC regular-season play, but are 44-42 (.512) in conference action since the start of the 2010 season.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: The 2020 season marks the 10th anniversary of the 2010 squad that captured the SEC Eastern Division title and went on to appear in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta against eventual national champion Auburn. It’s the Gamecocks only division title since joining the Southeastern Conference.
CAROLINA VS. OLE MISS: This is the 17th meeting between the Gamecocks and Rebels and just the second since the 2009 season. Each team has won eight of the previous 16 meetings. The teams are 4-4 when Ole Miss is the home team, splitting six games evenly in Oxford, while Ole Miss won in Memphis in 1947 and South Carolina won in Jackson in 1975. The teams have also split eight games in Columbia evenly. After Ole Miss posted shutout wins in each of the first two meetings (1947 and 1972), the Gamecocks won five of the next six games from 1974-79. The Rebels countered with five-straight wins from 1981-2004, before Carolina turned the tables again with wins in each of the last three contests (2008, 2009 and 2018).
IT FIGURES TO BE CLOSE: Thirteen of the last 14 meetings between the two teams have been decided by seven points or less, including six decided by a field goal or less. The Gamecocks have won eight of the 16 games in the series, but never by more than seven points.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: Jake Bentley passed for two scores and tallied the game-winning touchdown on a 4-yard run with 5:50 left to lift South Carolina to a 48-44 comeback win over Ole Miss on Nov. 3, 2018 in Oxford. The Gamecocks covered 47 and 73 yards in fourth-quarter scoring drives to erase a 44-34 deficit. Bentley finished 22-of-32 passing for 363 yards as the Gamecocks had 510 total yards. The South Carolina defense, after giving up eight scores in 10 possessions, closed with four consecutive scoreless series to preserve the win. Jordan Ta’amu was 31-of-46 passing for 379 yards as the Rebels had 616 yards of total offense, including 141 rushing yards on 21 carries from Scottie Phillips. Deebo Samuel opened the game with a 90-yard kickoff return for the Gamecocks.
BEEN HERE, DONE THAT: The Gamecocks have five players on their roster expected to make the start against Ole Miss who also started the last time the two teams met in 2018. They include wide receiver Shi Smith, offensive tackle Dylan Wonnum, offensive guard Sadarius Hutcherson, defensive tackle Keir Thomas and cornerback Jaycee Horn. Linebacker Sherrod Greene also started in that contest in 2018, but is currently sidelined with a hip injury. Smith had three catches for 82 yards in that contest, while Thomas and Horn each had five tackles. Horn added a pair of pass break ups.
WHEN WILL I SEE YOU AGAIN?: The Gamecocks and Rebels are not scheduled to meet again until the 2025 season when the two squads will hook up in Columbia.
THEY KNOW THE HOT SPOTS: Carolina defensive line coach Tracy Rocker served on the Ole Miss staff in 2008. First-year Gamecock strength & conditioning coach Paul Jackson logged an eight-year stint in Oxford prior to coming to Columbia. Jackson’s assistants, Anthony Henderson, Jordan Sims and Julian Whitehead, all spent time at Ole Miss as well, with Sims and Whitehead earning their degrees from Ole Miss while playing football for the Rebels.
OLD FRIEND ALERT: Deke Adams, who served as the Gamecocks’ defensive line coach from 2013-15, holds the same title at Ole Miss. Matt Lindsey is the general manager for the Rebels’ football team after working as the Gamecocks’ Director of Player Personnel for three years.
THE LAST TIME OUT: No. 7 Texas A&M rolled to a 48-3 win over South Carolina in Columbia on Saturday, Nov. 7. The Aggies scored touchdowns on seven of 10 possessions, while holding a 530-150 advantage in yards and a 38:21-21:39 lead in time of possession.
A BULLDOG MENTALITY: Will Muschamp placed redshirt senior defensive back Jaylan Foster on scholarship prior to the start of the 2020 season. Foster, who began his career at Gardner-Webb and was the Big South’s Freshman of the Year, had primarily played on special teams since joining the Gamecocks in 2017. With injuries sidelining safeties R.J. Roderick and Shilo Sanders, Foster made his first start against Texas A&M. He responded by matching Jammie Robinson with a team-high and career-best seven tackles, all solo stops.
IT’S NEVER EASY: The Gamecocks have faced four ranked opponents in their first six games of the season, including two in the top-10 (Florida and Texas A&M). The Gamecocks are one of six schools that have already played four games against teams ranked in the AP Top-25 at the time of the game. The others are Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri and NC State.
SEEING RED: The Gamecocks have been effective in the red zone, scoring on 15 of 18 trips, 83.3 percent. More importantly, Carolina has scored touchdowns on 13 of its 18 trips (72.2 percent), which ranks fourth in the SEC behind only Florida (76.0), Texas A&M (73.1) and Alabama (72.7).
BUT NOT SEEING YELLOW: The Gamecocks are one of the least penalized teams in the country. Carolina has been flagged for just 27 penalties in six games, an average of 4.5 penalties per game, the third-fewest in the SEC and 18th in the country. The flags have accounted for just 35.7 penalty yards per game, ranking second in the SEC and 12th in the nation. The Gamecocks had just one penalty for five yards against Texas A&M.
SEC LEADERS: Several Gamecocks dot the SEC’s individual statistical leaders list:
Kevin Harris……………………………………. Rushing ……………………….. 3rd (95.7)
Kevin Harris…………………………………….. Scoring ………………………… T6th (9.0)
Kevin Harris…………………………….. Scoring (TDs)………………….. T4th (9.0)
Kevin Harris……………………………….. All-Purpose………………….. 9th (112.2)
Shi Smith……………………………… Receptions/Game…………….. 4th (7.2)
Shi Smith……………………….. Receiving Yards/Game……… 9th (79.8)
Parker White………………………….. Scoring (Kick)…………………… 6th (6.8)
Parker White……………………………… Field Goals…………………… T4th (1.33)
Parker White…………………………. Field Goal Pct……………….. 10th (61.5)
Parker White……………………….. PAT Kicking Pct…………….. T1st (100.0)
Ernest Jones…………………………………… Tackles………………………….. 5th (10.0)
Kingsley Enagbare………………………. Sacks……………………………. T3rd (4.0)
Kingsley Enagbare…………. Tackles for Loss………………. T9th (5.0)
Kingsley Enagbare………… Fumbles Forced…………… T2nd (0.33)
Keir Thomas……………………………………… Sacks……………………………. T8th (3.0)
Jaycee Horn………………………. Passes Defended…………… T3rd (1.33)
Jaycee Horn……………………………. Interceptions……………………. T6th (2)
Israel Mukuamu…………………. Interceptions……………………. T6th (2)
FIRST START: Ten Gamecocks have made their first career starts this season, including four in the season opener against Tennessee. The quartet included quarterback Collin Hill (who made 11 starts at Colorado State), wide receiver Dakereon Joyner, running back Kevin Harris and safety Shilo Sanders. Senior linebacker Damani Staley made his first career start at Florida. Sophomore defensive tackle Zacch Pickens and freshman offensive tackle Vershon Lee both made their first career starts at Vanderbilt. JUCO transfer offensive tackle Jazston Turnetine and freshman defensive end Tonka Hemingway made their first starts against Auburn. Redshirt senior safety Jaylen Foster made his first start against Texas A&M.
NFL TIES: Jaycee Horn is the son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn. Shilo Sanders is the son of former NFL and MLB standout Deion Sanders, a member of both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame. Damani Staley is the son of former Gamecock and NFL running back Duce Staley. Dylan Wonnum is the younger brother of former Gamecock, D.J. Wonnum, who is with the Minnesota Vikings. Nick Muse‘s older brother, Tanner, is a member of the Las Vegas Raiders. Freshman defensive end Tonka Hemingway is the younger brother of former Michigan standout and NFL wide receiver Junior Hemingway. Fabian Goodman is the son of former Gamecock Andre Goodman, who logged 10 seasons in the NFL. Elisha Brooks is the son of former Gamecock and NFL star Robert Brooks.
THAT’S MY COACH: Will Muschamp is in his fifth season at Carolina. He has a 28-29 record as the Gamecocks’ head coach. The 28 wins ranks in a tie for eighth on the school’s all-time list with Warren Giese, five behind Lou Holtz, while his 57 games coached ranks eighth. Overall, Coach Muschamp is in his ninth season as a head coach, logging a 56-50 record, a .528 winning percentage, including a four-year stint at Florida (28-21, .571).
OPTING OUT: The Gamecocks have had three players opt out for the 2020 season, including wide receivers Randrecous Davis and OrTre Smith, along with offensive lineman Mark Fox.
TOTING THE SHEEPSKIN: Thirteen Gamecock football players already have their diplomas in hand. Those who have earned undergraduate degrees include: Slade Carroll, Spencer Eason-Riddle, Jabari Ellis, Chandler Farrell, Jaylan Foster, Collin Hill, Sadarius Hutcherson, Christian Kinsley, Sean McGonigal, Adam Prentice, Keir Thomas, M.J. Webb and Parker White.
ACADEMICALLY SPEAKING: The Gamecocks placed 47 players on the 2019 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll. Gamecock football student-athletes posted a combined 3.614 GPA in Spring 2020, the highest mark on record. The previous high was 3.084 in the spring of 2019. They fell just short of obtaining another combined GPA of 3.0 or better in the fall of 2019, coming in at 2.985, despite being in-season.
UP NEXT: It’s the annual battle for the Mayor’s Cup when the Missouri Tigers visit Williams-Brice Stadium for a Saturday, Nov. 21 date with the Gamecocks. The all-time series between the two SEC Eastern Division rivals that call Columbia home is knotted at five wins each, but the Gamecocks have won three of the four contests played in South Carolina. Missouri was a 34-14 winner last season at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field, snapping Carolina’s three-game winning streak in the series.
BOBO DIALS IT UP: Mike Bobo, who spent the past five years as the head coach at Colorado State, serves as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at South Carolina. Bobo is well-versed with the SEC, as he spent 14 years as an assistant at Georgia, his alma mater. A 2012 Broyles Award finalist, he has coached on five SEC East and two SEC championship teams.
QB1: Collin Hill, a graduate transfer who played for Mike Bobo at Colorado State, has been the Gamecocks’ quarterback through the first six games and has taken virtually every meaningful snap thus far after earning the starting nod over sophomore incumbent Ryan Hilinski. The 6-4, 222-pounder appeared in 18 games including 11 starts at Colorado State while battling through three ACL injuries. While playing for the Rams, he completed 263-of-433 passes (60.7 pct.) for 3,323 yards with 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, including five career 300-yard passing games.
MORE ON HILL: Collin Hill logged a 3-8 record as a starter at CSU. He was 2-2 in four starts as a true freshman in 2016; was redshirted in 2017; was winless in four starts in 2018; and 1-2 in three starts in 2019. All three of his seasons ended prematurely with an ACL injury.
HILL AS GAMECOCK: Collin Hill, who grew up in Moore, S.C. and prepped at Dorman High School, s 2-4 as a starter for the Gamecocks, connecting on 104-of-177 passes (58.8 percent) for 1,142 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions. He also has four rushing touchdowns. Hill made his first collegiate start in the Palmetto State in the season opener against Tennessee and responded with his best performance, a 25-for-39, 290-yard effort with one touchdown and one interception. He had another solid outing at Florida completing 28-of-47 passes for 212 yards with a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions. He notched his first win as a Gamecock at Vandy when he completed 16-of-24 passes for 196 yards, and scored two rushing touchdowns, the first Carolina QB to do that since Jake Bentley in 2017, and notched his second with in the upset of Auburn when he went 15-of-24 for 144 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He has struggled in his last two games, losses at LSU and to Texas A&M, going a combined 20-for-43 for 300 yards with one touchdown and three INTs.
READY AND WILLING: Sophomore Ryan Hilinski and true freshman Luke Doty have been competing for the back-up QB duties and are ready should their number be called.
Hilinski was forced into a starting role in the second game of the 2019 season following a season-ending injury to starter Jake Bentley, and started the final 11 games of the campaign. He is 4-7 as a starting signal-caller. He set school freshmen records for pass completions and attempts in 2019, and set a school record with 180 consecutive passes without an interception. He has seen action in two games this season, appearing briefly at Vanderbilt, before completing 4-of-6 passes for 34 yards in the fourth quarter against Texas A&M.
Doty, a highly-touted dual-threat QB, has seen limited action this season, playing both quarterback and wide receiver. He brings a different skill set to the offense than either Hill or Hilinski, with the ability to make plays with his legs. He has rushed four times this season for 15 yards and has thrown one pass, an incompletion against Texas A&M.
HOP ON THE BUS: The Gamecocks opened the season thinking a “running back by committee” approach would be implemented after losing highly-touted freshman running back MarShawn Lloyd, who suffered an ACL injury early in fall camp. However, true sophomore Kevin Harris quickly turned it into primarily a one-man show. Known by his teammates as “The Bus,” Harris has been the workhorse all season, and ranks third in the SEC in rushing at 95.7 yards per game.
LOOKING FOR A GRAND: Sophomore Kevin Harris is looking to become the first Gamecock since Mike Davis in 2013 to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Harris has 574 yards after six contests. He has topped the 100-yard plateau in three games this season, going for 100 on 22 carries at Florida, a career-best 21-carry, 171-yard performance at Vanderbilt, and a 12-carry, 126-yard effort at LSU. There have been just 10 1,000-yard rushing seasons in Carolina history. Here are the Gamecocks’ leading rushers in the last decade:
YEAR PLAYER YARDS AVG.
2011 Marcus Lattimore 818 5.0
2012 Marcus Lattimore 662 4.6
2013 Mike Davis 1,183 5.8
2014 Mike Davis 982 4.9
2015 Brandon Wilds 567 4.6
2016 Rico Dowdle 764 5.7
2017 A.J. Turner 531 5.4
2018 Rico Dowdle 654 5.3
2019 Tavien Feaster 672 5.4
2020 Kevin Harris 574 5.4
BETTER THAN AVERAGE: Sophomore Kevin Harris is averaging 95.7 yards rushing per game this season. That average currently ranks ninth on the all-time list for a single season in Carolina history:
No. Player Year Gms Yards Avg.
1. George Rogers 1980 12 1894 157.8
2. George Rogers 1979 12 1681 140.1
3. Duce Staley 1996 9 1116 124.0
4. Marcus Lattimore 2011 7 818 116.9
5. George Rogers 1978 10 1006 100.6
6. Harold Green 1989 10 989 98.9
7. Mike Davis 2013 12 1183 98.6
8. Derek Watson 2000 11 1066 96.9
9. Kevin Harris 2020 6 574 95.7
10. Kevin Long 1975 12 1133 94.4
PUT IT IN THE END ZONE: Kevin Harris leads the team with eight rushing touchdowns and with nine of the Gamecocks’ 18 touchdowns overall. Harris, who scored in each of the season’s first five games, ranks tied for sixth in the SEC with 9.0 points per game.
THE LONG RUN: Kevin Harris burst up the middle and raced 88 yards untouched to paydirt in the win over Vandy. It matched the fourth-longest run from scrimmage in school history and is tied for the third-longest run in FBS play this season. Harris also has a 75-yard run in his career, accounting for two of the 17 runs of 75-yards or longer in school history. Harris and Mike Davis (2013) are the only players with two 75+ yard runs as a Gamecock.
Yds Player Opponent Date
96 Steve Wadiak Geo. Washington 10/27/50
89 Ben Garnto Wake Forest 10/15/65
89 Brandon Bennett East Tenn. State 10/05/91
88 Bobby Wallace Middle Tennessee 11/18/06
88 Kevin Harris Vanderbilt 10/10/20
NEXT MAN UP: Redshirt sophomore Deshaun Fenwick is the “veteran” in the running backs’ room. He is a bigger back who, over his first two seasons, logged a pair of 100-yard games despite playing in just seven games and carrying the pigskin in just four contests. He is second on the squad with 208 yards on 40 carries this season, and is averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
OUT OF THE BACKFIELD: Kevin Harris and Deshaun Fenwick have proven to be solid receivers out of the backfield, ranking third and fourth on the team in receptions. Harris has 13 catches for 99 yards, while Fenwick has caught 11 passes for 88 yards.
HE’S SHI, BUT KNOW HIS NAME: Senior wide receiver Shi Smith is the No. 1 receiver for the Gamecocks. He stepped up in the opener with a 10-catch, 140-yard performance against Tennessee and followed that up with a career-best 12 catches for 85 yards and a score at Florida. He caught eight passes versus Auburn and had seven receptions versus Texas A&M. He is fourth in the SEC with 7.2 receptions per game and is ninth with 79.8 receiving yards per game. He has 160 career receptions for 2,050 yards. He is sixth on the school’s all-time list for receptions and needs just 26 yards to tie Deebo Samuel for 10th on the school’s career receiving yards list.
Career Receiving Leaders (by Receptions)
No. PLAYER YEARS REC. YDS
1. Bryan Edwards 2016-19 234 3,045
2. Kenny McKinley 2005-08 207 2,781
3. Alshon Jeffery 2009-11 183 3,042
4. Sterling Sharpe 1983-87 169 2,497
5. Zola Davis 1995-98 164 2,354
6. Shi Smith 2017-20 160 2,050
7. Robert Brooks 1988-91 156 2,211
8. Jermale Kelly 1997-00 153 2,181
9. Deebo Samuel 2014-18 148 2,076
10. Fred Zeigler 1967-69 146 1,876
Career Receiving Leaders (by Yards)
No. PLAYER YEARS Yds.
1. Bryan Edwards 2016-19 3,045
2. Alshon Jeffery 2009-11 3,042
3. Kenny McKinley 2005-08 2,781
4. Sterling Sharpe 1983-87 2,497
5. Zola Davis 1995-98 2,354
6. Sidney Rice 2005-06 2,233
7. Robert Brooks 1988-91 2,211
8. Jermale Kelly 1997-00 2,181
9. Pharoh Cooper 2013-15 2,163
10. Deebo Samuel 2014-18 2,076
11 Shi Smith 2017-20 2,050
SHI LIGHTS – HAVE YOU SEEN HIM?: Senior wide receiver Shi Smith got off to a great start this season. In the season opener against Tennessee, the senior wide out caught 10 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. It matched the second-best season opener for a Gamecock wide receiver and was the best effort in an opener since 1984. He followed that up with a career-best 12 receptions for 85 yards and a score at Florida. He became the first player in South Carolina history to record back-to-back games with double figures in pass receptions.
THE X FACTOR: Sophomore Xavier Legette has been the Gamecocks’ second-best wide receiver. He has seven catches for 113 yards this season, 16.1-yards per catch. Legette was a quarterback in his school and is still learning the nuances of the position, but is athletic and has a high ceiling.
WELCOME ABOARD: Junior wide receiver Jalen Brooks gained his eligibility just before the LSU game. Brooks began his career at Division II Wingate College and had a cup of coffee at Tarleton State before joining the Gamecock program this fall. He had one catch for three yards in his Carolina debut at LSU.
THROW IT TO THE TIGHT END: Senior Nick Muse, the latest in a long line of standout Gamecock tight ends, is second on the team with 15 receptions for 208 yards, 13.9 yards per catch. Muse, who was named to the John Mackey Award watch list which recognizes the nation’s top tight end, joined the Gamecocks at the start of fall camp in 2019 following a transfer from William & Mary.
A TALE OF ONE CITY: Tight end Nick Muse has had the best of times and the worst of times in his two games against Vanderbilt. In 2019, Muse suffered a season-ending ACL injury against the Commodores. This year, the senior had his best game as a Gamecock, catching five passes for 85 yards.
IN THE TRENCHES: After some early season shuffling, the Gamecocks have settled on the same starting offensive line, with the unit of Jazston Turnetine, Sadarius Hutcherson, Eric Douglas, Jovaughn Gwyn and Dylan Wonnum starting each of the last three games. Four offensive linemen – Hutcherson, Douglas, Gwyn and Wonnum – have started every game in 2020.
ALL THAT JAZZ: JUCO transfer Jazston Turnetine, who was the favorite to man the left tackle position entering the fall, took some time to work his way back into playing shape, before earning the starting assignment in each of the last three games, his first career starts.
HUTCH SETS THE TONE: Fifth-year senior Sadarius Hutcherson, a preseason all-league selection and a member of the Outland Trophy Watch List, leads the unit. He has returned to his more natural guard position after playing left tackle last season. He has made 35 career starts, most on the squad, including 32-consecutive starts. He was recognized as the SEC’s Offensive Lineman of the Week for his efforts at Vanderbilt when he graded out at 88 percent with seven knockdowns and no missed assignments.
THE CENTER OF ATTENTION: Junior Eric Douglas has earned the starting nod at center this season. The cerebral Douglas, who is on the Rimington Watch List, has appeared in 27 games with seven starts during his career.
ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE: Redshirt sophomore Jovaughn Gwyn, who is considered one of the strongest players on the squad, starts at right guard. He has started 17-consecutive games.
YOU WONNUM, YOU GOT ‘EM: Dylan Wonnum, a Freshman All-American two years ago, returns to man a tackle position after being hampered by an ankle injury for much of the 2019 campaign. He started each of the first three games at left tackle, but returned to his more comfortable right tackle position for the last three games, his primary position over the past two years. A Freshman All-American in 2018, he is on the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List and a member of SAAC.
NEXT MAN UP: Redshirt freshman Jakai Moore earned the start in each of the first two contests at right tackle. He also started two games last season. True freshman Vershon Lee made the start at right tackle at Vanderbilt. Sophomore tackle Jaylen Nichols and junior guard Jordan Rhodes have also been starters in their Carolina careers.
THE VETERANS UP FRONT: The Gamecock defensive line features three seniors and a junior in the starting lineup. Keir Thomas and Jabari Ellis work in the middle, while preseason All-SEC pick Aaron Sterling plays defensive end and junior Kingsley (JJ) Enagbare works at the BUCK. Sterling had the best numbers entering the 2020 season with 16.0 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks, but has been limited this season with a knee injury.
KINGSLEY HAS BEEN DY-NO-MITE: Regarded as the Gamecocks’ top pass rusher, Kingsley “JJ” Enagbare has played well this season. In the opener against Tennessee, he recorded a career-high nine tackles, including a pair of sacks, and forced a fumble while making his debut at the BUCK position. He also notched sacks at Vanderbilt and versus Auburn. He is tied for third in the SEC with 4.0 sacks and his 5.0 tackles for loss rank tied for ninth in the league.
NO DOUBTING THOMAS: Fifth-year senior Keir Thomas is putting together an excellent season. He is fifth on the team with 23 tackles, despite missing a game, and is second on the squad with 3.0 sacks, tying for eighth in the SEC. He has played primarily in the middle of the line this season, but kicked out to defensive end against Texas A&M.
THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT ON THE D-LINE: It’s difficult to make an impact on the defensive line as a younger player in the SEC, but the Gamecocks are blessed with three defensive linemen – Zacch Pickens, Jordan Burch and Tonka Hemingway – who could become difference-makers for the Garnet & Black.
GLAD HE PICKED US: Sophomore Zacch Pickens is starting to live up to his billing, as he was rated the No. 1 defensive tackle in the country as a high school senior. He has started three of the last four contests and his numbers are on the rise. He has recorded 19 tackles this season, 11 over the last two games, including matching his career-high six stops against Texas A&M.
BURCH COMING ON: Jordan Burch, a true freshman BUCK who is the second-highest ranked recruit to sign with Carolina behind only Jadeveon Clowney, has been credited with 18 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery,
HEMINGWAY WRITING HIS OWN TICKET: True freshmen defensive end Tonka Hemingway has started two of the last three games while Sterling has been limited with a sore knee. Hemingway has seven tackles, including a tackle for loss, two pass breakups, a QB hurry and a forced fumble.
KEEPING UP WITH JONESES: Junior linebacker Ernest Jones is the vocal leader of the defense from the MIKE position. A preseason All-SEC selection, Jones leads the team with 60 tackles, an average of 10.0 per game, fifth in the SEC and tied for 23rd in the country. He was the team leader in the season opener against Tennessee with 11 stops, matched his then-career high with 13 tackles at Vanderbilt, including a career-best 3.0 tackles for loss, then shattered his personal best with a 19-tackle effort at LSU, the most tackles by a Gamecock in a game since the 1987 season. He led the team in tackles as a sophomore with 97 stops, 20 more than anyone else on the squad. He ranked fourth in the SEC with 8.1 tackles per game a year ago.
ERNEST GOES TO BATON ROUGE: Junior linebacker Ernest Jones was a tackling machine at LSU, registering a career-high 19 tackles. It was the most tackles in a game for a Gamecock since Roy Hart logged 19 at Nebraska in 1987. One game prior to Hart’s feat, Brad Edwards notched 21 stops at Georgia. The 19 tackles matches the second-highest single-game total in FBS play this season.
TOOTING YOUR OWN HORN: Jaycee Horn is considered the best cover corner on the team. The junior rarely gets balls thrown his way, but Auburn challenged him and he was up to the task, intercepting two passes and breaking up four others, earning Walter Camp National Player of the Week and SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors. He is tied for third in the SEC and tied for 25th in the nation with 1.33 passes defended per game.
WALTER CAMP NOTICED: Junior cornerback Jaycee Horn was selected as the National Defensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation. Horn had two interceptions and deflected another which led to a pick, in the’ win over Auburn. In addition to the two interceptions, Horn was credited with four pass break ups and three tackles. Horn was the fifth South Carolina player to earn Walter Camp National FBS Player of the Week honors since 2004, and the first since Israel Mukuamu in 2019. The others were quarterback Stephen Garcia (2010), linebacker Melvin Ingram (2011) and safety D.J. Swearinger (2012).
DON’T PICK ON MUK: Israel Mukuamu has received his share of accolades after bursting on the national scene with a three-interception performance in the upset win at Georgia last season. At 6-4, Mukuamu has spent most of his time at cornerback, but started at safety at Florida and against versus Texas A&M. The junior preseason All-SEC defensive back owns seven career interceptions, including two this season, with picks at Florida and at LSU. He was listed on both the Thorpe and Lott IMPACT Trophy watch lists.
HERE’S TO YOU, JAMMIE ROBINSON: Sophomore Jammie Robinson is one of the hardest hitters on the team. He is second on the team with 44 tackles, including 29 solo stops and three pass breakups. He was credited with a dozen tackles at LSU. Robinson earned Freshman All-SEC and second-team Freshman All-America honors in 2019.
WHITE ON THE MONEY: Senior Parker White has hit on 8-of-13 field goals this season (8-of-11 from inside of 50) and has converted 53-of-76 field goals in his career, 69.7 pct., including 34-of-38 (89.5 pct.) from inside 40 yards. His 53 field goals made and 76 field goals attempted both rank third on the school’s all-time list. He also ranks third on the school’s all-time scoring list with 272 points. White owns a career long of 50 yards and has five fourth-quarter or OT game-winning field goals in his career.
WELL THAT BITES: Parker White fell one shy of matching the school record for consecutive field goals made when his 53-yard attempt in the rainy conditions at Vandy missed wide left. The 53-yarder would have been a career long. He had connected on 14-straight prior to that miss, one shy of the school record of 15, set by Collin Mackie from 1987-88. He ranks tied for eighth among FBS active kickers with 53 career field goals made.
KICKING WITH KROEGER: True freshman Kai Kroeger has punted 23 times for a 42.3-yard average with six inside the 20, a long of 53 yards and just one touchback. After punting six times for 211 yards, a 35.2-yard average in his debut vs. Tennessee, he has punted 17 times for 762 yards, a 44.8-yard average.
SEC HONORS: Kai Kroeger was recognized as the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against Auburn. He punted five times for a 48.4-yard average, including a career-best 53-yarder. Three of his punts were downed inside the 20, at the 2, 7 and 19-yard lines. He had a net punting average of 44.4 yards after entering the game with a net of 33.1 yards per punt this season.