South Carolina RB Mike Davis Won't Win the Heisman, but He Should Be in the Mix

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterNovember 2, 2013

It wasn't pretty, it wasn't flashy and, at times, it was downright sloppy. 

In other words, it was "South Carolina football."

South Carolina RB Mike Davis
South Carolina RB Mike DavisStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Gamecocks only converted 1-of-11 third down opportunities and managed only 307 yards of offense but throttled the visiting Mississippi State Bulldogs 34-16 on Saturday afternoon, keeping the pressure on Missouri in the SEC East race.

So how was the score so lopsided if the Gamecocks' stats weren't stellar?

Simple. Running back Mike Davis.

Davis rushed 15 times for 128 yards and caught two passes for 26 yards against the Bulldogs, all with bruised ribs suffered during the game. The sophomore from Lithonia, Ga. made a little history in the process (via: Saturday Down South).

Mike Davis becomes the first #SEC RB to surpass 1,000 yards in 2013.

— Saturday Down South (@SDS) November 2, 2013

Davis now has 1,058 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the season, and while it's a long shot that Davis will actually win the Heisman Trophy, he definitely deserves to be in the discussion.

His quarterback, Connor Shaw, puts himself in harm's way based on his style, and it's been Davis who's been the stabilizing force for the Gamecock offense this season.

South Carolina RB Mike Davis
South Carolina RB Mike DavisJeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

 

With the offense stuck in neutral and succeeding off of turnovers versus Mississippi State, Davis got the Gamecocks going in the third quarter breaking off a 43-yard run to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. He followed it up with a leaping catch down the sideline for a 30-yard gain on the next play.

Those two plays led to a Connor Shaw touchdown pass to Jerell Adams, which pushed South Carolina's lead to 31-10 at the time and essentially put the game away.

South Carolina RB Mike Davis
South Carolina RB Mike DavisStacy Revere/Getty Images

When South Carolina needed a spark on the road down 10 at UCF with Shaw out of action, it was Davis who ran wild in the second half, rushing for three touchdowns digging the Gamecocks out of a hole.

Davis has proven to be the ultimate closer in college football. 

While Heisman contender Lache Seastrunk does his work largely in the first half of games, 615 of Davis' 1,058 rushing yards this season have come in the second half. Whether his team needs a spark or needs to slam the door, Davis has answered the call.

Sure, Davis' quarterback Connor Shaw gets his share of attention, and he is a very valuable piece of the Gamecock offensive puzzle—as we saw last weekend when Shaw came off the bench to lead his team out of a 17-point fourth-quarter hole in Missouri.

But Davis is just as valuable.

If South Carolina can rebound from that upset loss to Tennessee in October and find a way to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, Davis will be the biggest reason why. The South Carolina offense hasn't missed a beat without Marcus Lattimore.

In fact, it's better.

The Gamecocks are now averaging 200.78 yards per game this season on the ground. It's highest mark during Lattimore's three seasons in Columbia was 192.08.

That says it all.