Missouri may not be at full strength for Saturday’s game against South Carolina — especially after it suspended starting quarterback Maty Mauk — but the Gamecocks are dealing with their own injuries, as well.
Starting receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring), tailback Brandon Wilds (cracked rib) and center Alan Knott (sprained ankle) all remained sideline during South Carolina’s Wednesday practice session, according to David Cloninger of The State. None of those players saw the field against UCF last weekend, and their statuses for Saturday appear in doubt at this point.
A hamstring injury also forced Samuel to exit the team’s season opener against UNC. If he cannot play, coach Steve Spurrier told reporters that fellow freshman D.J. Neal will start in his place. Neal has only recorded one catch this season.
With the exception of electric freshman quarterback Lorenzo Nunez, who is averaging nearly eight yards per scramble, South Carolina’s rushing attack has yet to gel this season. Spurrier even admitted during his Sunday teleconference that Nunez more or less won the UCF game, although he received some help from wideout Pharoh Cooper. The passing game, meanwhile, has been largely confined to Cooper, who has accounted for over a third of the team’s 630 receiving yards (220).
Missouri possesses the SEC’s top passing defense, permitting a mere 146 yards through the air per game. If the Gamecocks want to attain any semblance of balance on offense, they could very well be relying on untested players like Neal to take the pressure off Cooper.
WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring) remains out of #Gamecocks practice. DJ Neal would start if he doesn't make Mizzou trip, Steve Spurrier Jr. says.
— David Caraviello (@dcaraviello) September 30, 2015
Chris Lammons will practice today. Brandon Wilds and Alan Knott will not. Right now, doubtful that Wilds and Knott play.
— David Cloninger (@DCTheState) September 29, 2015