When it comes to the South Carolina and Clemson rivalry in college football, there is no shortage of history or storylines—especially when it comes to the Gamecocks’ senior running back, Kenny Miles.
With circumstances again thrusting him into the starting role late into the season, Miles looks to close out his final regular-season game against the Tigers with the same success he had previously in 2009 and 2011.
And the way things are shaping up for this Saturday, Miles is in great position to do just that when the Gamecocks visit Death Valley.
Miles had his breakout game against Clemson during his freshman season of 2009 when he rushed for 114 yards during the Gamecocks' 34-17 victory over the Tigers, which started the three-game winning streak South Carolina is currently on against its in-state rival.
Of course, when Marcus Lattimore burst onto the scene in 2010, Miles’ carries were limited throughout the season—including his second game against Clemson. But with Lattimore’s injury in 2011, it was Miles’ time to shine again a year ago.
Miles was a workhorse, carrying the ball 21 times for 71 yards of the team’s total of 210 yards on the ground, as again the Gamecocks were dominant on the ground.
The 2012 Tigers are highly touted on offense, ranked ninth in the country in passing and 30th in rushing, averaging 203 yards a game themselves.
Where the Tigers falter is defending the run, giving up an average of 163 yards a game.
With the reports of Connor Shaw nursing a bad foot (per The Post and Courier), which showed with his lower numbers against Wofford, Miles will most likely be the workhorse again for the Gamecocks.
And it makes sense with the career day he had last week against Wofford, when Miles ran for 127 yards and a touchdown against the Terriers in his second start since Lattimore again went down with a season-ending injury.
Granted, that was an FCS team, but Miles is hitting the stride he needs to hit for the Gamecocks when it matters the most—with a possible BCS at-large bowl bid on the line against Clemson.
The fact is, the Tigers struggle against stopping the run and Miles has found success in his career against Clemson.
Of course, the real success from the running game will come with the time-of-possession result. If Miles and the ground game can control the clock, it will keep Tajh Boyd and the very talented Tigers offense off the field.
It all trends toward a sweep for Miles and the Gamecock seniors against the Tigers to close out their careers.