Marcus Lattimore Injury: Players Who Must Step Up in Star RB's Absence

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2012

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 08:  Marcus Lattimore #21 of the South Carolina Gamecocks runs with the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

South Carolina had a huge blow to its season on Sunday when running back Marcus Lattimore was carted off the field.

Head coach Steve Spurrier announced that the junior dislocated his knee and could possibly be out until the 2014 season, according to ESPN.

With the running back out for the year with the injury, the Gamecocks will need other players to step up to end the year strong. A BCS bowl is not out of the question, but it will be if these men do not play to the best of their ability.


Connor Shaw 

The starting quarterback has had his ups and downs this season. However, he no longer has the option of having an off day. The offense has few alternatives if Shaw does not put the team on his back.

Shaw had a very good game against Tennessee this weekend, throwing for 356 yards and three touchdowns while adding one more touchdown on the ground. However, the Volunteers are not known for having the toughest defense.

South Carolina only has one more SEC game against Arkansas, although Clemson looms at the end of the year. Shaw must start throwing the ball with more confidence without making mistakes to ensure this team does not lose again.


Kenny Miles

Although Miles is only fourth on the team in total rushing yards, he will need to be the man in the backfield for the Gamecocks.

The senior has not been a big part of the offense since his freshman season, when he totaled 626 yards on 117 carries. He needs to regain that magic to help balance the offense with a strong run game.

This year he has not done much, but he is more consistent than teammate Mike Davis and is more suited to handle the responsibilities of an every-down back.

If South Carolina has any resemblance of a running game for the rest of this season, Miles will have to be the guy that gets it done.


Ace Sanders

South Carolina has a number of talented receivers, but Ace Sanders will be the most important one in the group for the remainder of the season.

The junior is second on the team in receptions behind Lattimore, and his short passes will be a great way to move the football if the running game is unsuccessful. 

He already has five touchdowns on the year, none of them longer than 25 yards. Sanders is a quick outlet for Connor Shaw and needs to continue to find the end zone for this team to be successful.

While the rest of the receiving corps is spreading the field, Sanders will be the consistent option that ends up winning games for this talented team.