The South Carolina football team is hoping to get a key defender back for its second matchup.
South Carolina opened with a 31-27 loss to Tennessee in its first contest of the 2020 campaign. In that loss, the Gamecocks saw a key defensive back go down early and not return following the halftime intermission.
Israel Mukuamu suffered a slight groin pull in the first half of Saturday’s matchup with the Vols. With Mukuamu in the game at cornerback, the Gamecock defense allowed just seven points to the Tennessee offense, holding Jarrett Guarantano and the Volunteer passing attack to just 127 yards through the air.
With Mukuamu out, the offensive coordinator Jim Chaney decided to go after reserve corners Cam Smith and John Dixon, who came in to replace the 6-foot-5 defender. And it worked.
Smith in particular had a rough day, giving up the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. On the play, Tennessee receiver Josh Palmer blew by Smith’s one-on-one coverage, easily hauling in the 32-yard score as Smith trailed three steps behind.
It was the last of 21 second half points put up by the Vol offense, and was Guarantano’s only scoring toss of the game.
The South Carolina football staff gave an update on Mukuamu’s status for week two.
Will Muschamp updated a few injuries yesterday ahead of this weekend’s meeting with Florida, including Mukuamu’s.
“Israel [Mukuamu] and Jahmar Brown moved around today and I thought looked fine. They’re day-to-day.”
The secondary needs all hands on deck for its week two matchup as the Gamecocks prepare to face off against Kyle Trask, Kyle Pitts, and the rest of the Gator offense. That unit hung 51 points and nearly 650 yards on Ole Miss in its first contest. Both were the highest totals in the conference’s opening week.
At this point, it looks like Mukuamu should be ready to go for Saturday’s noon kickoff, barring any mid-week setbacks. South Carolina will need him to stay on the field if they hope to slow Florida down.