Gamecocks beat Bulldogs but lose Lattimore to injury

South Carolina’s Connor Shaw connected with Alshon Jeffery on a 4-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, lifting the No. 13 Gamecocks to a 14-12 win over Mississippi State on Saturday in Starkville, Miss.

But the win, which keeps South Carolina (6-1, 4-1 SEC) on top in the SEC East, may have come at a steep cost.

Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore, the conference’s leading rusher, left with what’s being called a knee sprain on South Carolina’s game-winning drive. The sophomore, who entered the game averaging 129 rushing yards per contest, walked off the field gingerly with the help of trainers. Prior to the game’s completion, he was taken to the training room on crutches and wearing a large, immobilizing brace on his left knee. He was seen leaving the locker room on crutches after the game.

Even with Lattimore on the field, South Carolina had trouble moving the ball against the Bulldogs (3-4, 0-4). Neither team topped 300 yards of total offense, and Lattimore was held to 39 yards on 17 carries.

Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw, who assumed starting duties last week and had his place solidified when former starter Stephen Garcia was dismissed from the team on Tuesday, finished 20-of-27 passing for 154 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He played well down the stretch, completing all eight of his second-half attempts for 72 yards, including a well-placed jump ball to Jeffery in the end zone.

Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell, making his first collegiate start after replacing Chris Relf at halftime in a win over Alabama-Birmingham last week, finished 11-of-29 with 165 yards and two touchdowns.

South Carolina plays at Tennessee on Oct. 29 following a bye week, while Mississippi State is at Kentucky next Saturday.

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