In August of 2012 I broke down what I anticipated to be the 10 Biggest Storylines in the SEC. This is the first of ten looks back at those topics.
Storyline 10: Marcus Lattimore’s Return
In August, as Marcus Lattimore was beginning practice and receiving rave reviews after recovering from a knee injury I offered the following blatantly obvious sentiment:
A healthy Lattimore with a high usage rate will lead to more wins in South Carolina. The Georgia blogger writing this post is afraid to see that in October. The college football fan anxiously awaiting the season’s kickoff, however, can’t wait to watch the kid play all season long.
In those two regards this season was a lose/lose. Lattimore certainly proved healthy (much to my chagrin) against Georgia racking up 135 yards of offense and a touchdown as the Dawgs shriveled up in Columbia. Through his first eight games back Lattimore racked up 762 yards of offense and nine total touchdowns. He was gradually getting back to his old combination of both thunder and lightning.
And then he was gone. A second devastating knee injury against Tennessee derailed his comeback, effectively ended his collegiate career and left most of the Southeast feeling nauseous.
I expected Lattimore’s return to play a vital role in deciding the SEC East and it certainly did. His efforts against Georgia helped hand the Bulldogs an early setback and open things up. But, as evidenced against Florida and LSU (two Carolina losses), the “old” Lattimore was never fully back. In those two October outings Lattimore touched the ball a combined 22 times and accounted for only 80 yards and one TD.
Georgia ultimately won-out, defeating Florida to claim the SEC East, but South Carolina’s season was effectively finished with those two losses. The loss of Lattimore was just the nail in the coffin.
That’s all I got/