It’s Just a Game

“Some say college football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more important than that!” How about no.

By John Griffin

@JohnRGriffin

Lattimore’s Leg

It seemed to be a typical Saturday for Marcus Lattimore. The all-star running back had picked up 65 yards and a touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers, and his team was leading 21-14 in the 2nd quarter. Lattimore and the Gamecocks were looking to extend the lead. It was 2nd and 10, and just as they’d done so many times before, South Carolina gave the ball to number 21. As he took the handoff, he spryly popped his run outside in yet another example of his outstanding ability.

Lattimore, a junior from Duncan, South Carolina, has been a star in Columbia. After a stellar 2010 freshman campaign of over 1200 yards, Lattimore reached a level of respect and admiration not just in South Carolina, but all across the country. Despite possessing as much skill as one could hope for, Lattimore is one of the good guys in college ball. In a sport where so many young men throw away golden opportunities (here’s looking at you, Honey Badger) a young man with Marcus Lattimore’s integrity was a gift to the game. After an ACL injury sidelined him for half of the 2011 season, Lattimore had shown why he was NCAA Freshman of the Year, why he was a future NFL-pick.

As Lattimore routinely bounced his run outside and scampered for a quick gain, a Tennessee defender collided with Lattimore’s knee. After the hit, as he laid on the ground, Lattimore’s expression said it all: it was bad. Lattimore’s leg had gone totally limp, and the young man tried to hide his pain and tears from the tens of thousands watching at Williams-Brice Stadium. His injury, bleak as it looked, resulted in one of most impressive displays in sports: as Lattimore laid on the turf, thinking about his health and his future, both South Carolina and Tennessee took the field in support. Volunteers and Gamecocks stood side-by-side, and were taking knees out of concern, respect, and love.

Here is a video of the injury and the ensuing response. Be warned, the injury is absolutely gruesome and some may not want to view it.

The extent of Lattimore’s injury, luckily, was only a hyperextended knee. Season-ending? Yes. Career-ending? Fortunately for Lattimore and the game of football: no.

Regardless of the outcome of the game (South Carolina won 38-35), Tennessee and South Carolina fans alike should be proud of the players on both teams. It was a beautiful moment that should remind us all of one thing: it’s just game.

Other Happenings

  • #9 USC went down versus Arizona. Barring a victory against Oregon, USC’s out of the BCS hunt.
  • Speaking of Oregon, how about that Duck’s offense? They put up 70 against Colorado,
  • I’ll eat crow; Georgia played to it’s potential and took advantage of 6 Florida turnovers to come out on top, 17-9. Georgia controls the SEC East, but c’mon, we know that nobody’ beating Bama.
  • Brent Musberger said it best: “Notre Dame is relevant again.” The Irish topped Oklahoma, 30-13.

Players of the Week

South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore. A fantastic player, a fantastic person. Wish him a speedy recovery, because the game of football needs more people like him.

Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o was unstoppable. 11 tackles, a sack, and an interception. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at the Heisman ceremony.

Play of the Week

De’Anthony Thomas. Wow.

The Week Ahead

#4 Oregon travels to #17 USC. How will Lane Kiffin screw up this one?

#16 Texas A&M gets set to do battle with #15 Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are fresh off of a 38-7 evisceration at the hands of Alabama.

The big one: #1 Alabama at #5 LSU. This game’s been hyped for months. LSU seems to be the only legitimate threat standing between Alabama and another shot at the BCS title. Can the tigers pull through?

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