Marcus Lattimore keeps getting stronger

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore isn't at 100 percent, but he's been pretty tough to stop lately.

After limiting Lattimore's play a little in wins against East Carolina and UAB, South Carolina's coaches let him loose in SEC games, where he averaged about 22 carries in all three league contests. In those games, Lattimore rushed for 314 yards and five touchdowns. He also caught 12 passes for 100 yards.

Slowly, Lattimore is getting healthier and healthier after his season-ending knee injury last year.

"We try to give it to him as much as we can, but we know we can't give it to him every play," coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday. "We gotta mix in some throws and this, that and the other. I think he's pretty close to 100 percent."

And with Lattimore, who shed his knee brace a few weeks ago, running better and better, it's allowing the Gamecocks to open things up more on offense. Defenses have to be aware of Lattimore grinding them down, while watching out for both Connor Shaw's arm and legs.

In the past three games, Shaw has averaged 251.3 yards of total offense per game and has thrown six touchdowns to zero interceptions. He also has a rushing touchdown.

Having them on the field just makes South Carolina that much deadlier with its read option offense.

"We can fake it to Marcus and Conner (will) take off running," Spurrier said.

The more Lattimore can pound away, the better the Gamecocks will be.