South Carolina football fans were forced to sweat on Saturday. No, it wasn’t just because it was unseasonably warm for a November afternoon. Instead, the Gamecocks struggled with the “other” Gamecocks of Jacksonville State, winning a game that looked like it might go the other way until a late interception was returned 88 yards for a touchdown by linebacker Stone Blanton.
The game wasn’t pretty, but there still were some positives that could be taken from USC’s third victory of the season: Carolina’s bowl hopes are still alive (even if they are on life support) as three more wins against Vanderbilt, Kentucky, and Clemson would secure bowl eligibility, and one Gamecock came dangerously close to breaking an all-time record.
Wide receiver Xavier Legette reeled in 9 passes from quarterback Spencer Rattler, tallying a whopping 217 yards and 2 touchdowns on the day, including three different catches that went for more than 40 yards. He fell just 16 yards shy of Pharoh Cooper’s all-time single-game receiving record of 233 yards.
Legette was just too good against JSU, routinely getting behind the defense with speed that couldn’t be matched by any defender (or defenders) Jacksonville State asked to slow him down.
His efforts were honored this week.
The Reese’s Senior Bowl, which has been high on Legette since the offseason, named him the national Co-Offensive Player of the Week along with Ole Miss wideout Tre Harris (11 catches, 213 yards, 1 touchdown against Texas A&M).
This was not the first time that the Senior Bowl has given Xavier Legette his flowers. In the preseason, despite having had very little collegiate success up to that point, Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy put Legette on his preseason watch list. He was also acknowledged as one of the top offensive performers in the country for his games against North Carolina and Mississippi State. Then, he (deservedly) was named to the group’s midseason All-American team.