South Carolina Football: Gamecock running back out for the year

South Carolina football running back Juju McDowell. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football running back Juju McDowell. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina football picked up a blowout win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. In their best performance of the 2023 season, the Gamecocks whipped the Commodores 47-6 on a wet and sloppy field at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Injuries have been a factor for Shane Beamer’s team this year, and the injury report got a bit longer on Saturday.

Several Gamecocks left the game with what appeared to be minor injuries. Jakai Moore and Xavier Legette left the game momentarily but returned, and Nick Emmanwori left the game late but did not return as none of the defensive starters continued playing.

The biggest injury of the game was one to scatback Juju McDowell. Early in the game, McDowell exited the game holding his arm down by his side, a tell-tale sign of a shoulder or collarbone issue. After the game, Coach Beamer confirmed that the injury to McDowell was a season-ending collar bone fracture.

With fellow running back DK Joyner’s status unknown moving forward (he injured his ankle last week), true freshman Djay Braswell will be pressed into duty alongside starter Mario Anderson. Even walk-ons like Bradley Dunn could be in for some work during the regular season’s final two games against Kentucky and Clemson.

Outside of Mario Anderson, the running game has not been very good this season, so it doesn’t seem likely that McDowell’s absence will affect the ground attack much. However, where McDowell has been a factor has been catching the ball out of the backfield and in the slot.

On the season, he has ten catches for 87 yards and a touchdown, but most of those catches have come in recent weeks as seven of those ten grabs have come in the second half of the year.

McDowell is also a major special teams contributor, getting work on multiple coverage units and as a secondary return man on kickoffs behind Xavier Legette.

South Carolina football will try to fill the void left by #0’s absence next week when the Kentucky Wildcats come to town for a 7:30 kick.

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