Gamecocks survive scare but lose Lattimore to injury

South Carolina beat Tennessee, 38-35, on Saturday to rebound from a two-game losing streak against top 10 teams.

However, 13th-ranked Gamecocks suffered an even bigger loss than their defeats at LSU and Florida the last two weeks.

With 4:45 left in the first half, tailback Marcus Lattimore was carted off the field after sustaining what appeared to be a serious right knee injury.

Cornerback Eric Gordon hit Lattimore from his left at the end of a two-yard run, and Lattimore’s leg bent awkwardly. As he left the field on a cart, both teams walked onto the field to encircle him.

Lattimore was taken to the hospital for further evaluation.

“I hope it’s not as severe as it looked on the field,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier told ESPN before heading to the locker room at halftime, when the Gamecocks led, 28-14.

Tennessee burst out of the locker room at halftime, scoring touchdowns on three of its first four drives, with possessions that covered 80, 69 and 67 yards.

The latter came on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Bray to wide receiver Zach Rogers, who made his third touchdown catch of the game and cut South Carolina’s lead to 38-35 with 8:35 left in the game.

South Carolina managed a touchdown and a field goal on its first four second half drives. The Gamecocks got four touchdowns on six first half possessions.

Immediately after Rogers’ third touchdown, Connor Shaw had wide receiver Ace Sanders open and led him with a pass on third down from Tennessee’s 30-yard line.

But it sailed a bit too long, and grazed off Sanders’ hands in the end zone. Shaw threw an interception on the next play, and Tennessee took over at its 19 with 4:46 left.

Tennessee drove to South Carolina’s 19-yard-line and had first down and 10, needing only a field goal to tie the game. Bray dropped back to pass, but defensive end Jadeveon Clowney beat left tackle Antonio Richardson and knocked the ball away from Bray.

South Carolina recovered with 1:08 left. Clowney pounded his chest in celebration. The Volunteers got the ball back with 36 seconds left in the game, but the drive ended with an interception on the second play.

South Carolina (7-2, 5-2 in the Southeastern Conference) is off next week, then hosts Arkansas on Nov. 10 in its SEC finale, as the Gamecocks try to go undefeated at home for the first time since 1987. They also host Wofford on Nov. 17.

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