Marcus Lattimore has carried South Carolina and the Gamecocks this season. He is a workhorse who has run for 779 yards this season and nine touchdowns.
The Gamecocks squeezed a two-point victory over Mississippi State but with Lattimore going down with a sprained knee against the hard hitters they truly did not win.
The loss of their star running back changes the shape of their season.
Instead of moving up in the rankings, South Carolina will stay stagnant and eventually will drop down the ladder.
With bowl games in the near future and invites coming not so far away the timing of the injury is poor.
The Gamecocks do not have enough time to reshape their style of play or identity on the football field.
They are just going to suffer with a loss of production and show character as they grind out wins much as they did after Marcus Lattimore went down in the fourth quarter of the game against Mississippi State.
Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks will not be enjoying the reaches of the upper echelon of college football anymore they will now have to grind out everything as the loss of the SEC’s top rusher takes a toll.
The second top rusher in the game was their scrambling quarterback Connor Shaw.
Shaw was only in his second game this season and will now be asked to carry much of the burden.
Lattimore’s injury means added pressure and means that the young quarterbacks true colors will show through.
There is an upside to all of this. Shaw is gaining leadership and playing experience in a time of need for his team.
Dealing with this type of pressure will shape him as a player for South Carolina.
Ultimately, though, without Marcus Lattimore each game will be a struggle.