A lot has been made of Marcus Lattimore's rather pedestrian night against Vanderbilt.
Lattimore carried the ball 20 times for 77 yards and one touchdown. He also caught three passes for 73 yards, including a 52-yard score. It was a solid night for ordinary running backs, but for someone like Lattimore, it wasn’t all that great.
But some wondered if he was tired. Were all of those carries finally catching up with him? He did have a nation-leading 87 carries in three games before Saturday.
Was Lattimore tired, or worse, hurt?
Lattimore and coach Steve Spurrier both said it had nothing to do with his health. He’s fine and with his hot and cold tub homes away from home, Lattimore said he’s more than ready come game time to run hard and often.
“My body’s fine after a couple of days,” he said.
“I’m ready on Saturday.”
He certainly has been, ranking second nationally with 611 rushing yards. He also has eight rushing touchdowns and nine scores total.
Lattimore’s 20 carries against Vanderbilt were his lowest of the season, but Spurrier said it wasn’t Lattimore’s health he was concerned about; it was his lack of production. Spurrier just wanted more out of his offense and the Commodores did a decent job of stopping the run.
“He wasn’t making a lot of yards when he was carrying it,” Spurrier said.
“He did have 20 carries and just one touchdown. He still averaged 3.8 (yards per carry) on a tough night of nowhere to go -- I mean, nowhere to go.”
It’s not like Lattimore isn’t used to this sort of punishment. As a freshman last year, he carried the ball 249 times and caught 29 passes. He’s currently averaging 29.75 touches a game. At that rate, he’ll have 357 touches by the end of the regular season.
That’s 79 more touches than he had last season.
There’s no question that South Carolina needs to find Lattimore some help at running back because it seems improbable that his body will be able to take so much contact and so many touches for a second straight season. Lattimore is definitely more durable, but a football body can only take so much.