COLUMBIA, S.C. — Alshon Jeffery wasn’t frustrated or anxious, just ready to contribute again.
South Carolina’s star receiver caught his first touchdown in a month, a one-armed grab over a Citadel defender in the 14th-ranked Gamecocks 41-20 victory over the Bulldogs on Saturday.
The win earned the Gamecocks (9-2) back-to-back seasons with at least nine victories for the first time in 118 seasons of football. It also was the latest – and perhaps one of the last – chances to watch the 6-foot-4 junior wideout do his stuff.
Jeffery appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s college football preview issue this summer and figured to have his best season ever after last year’s remarkable 88 catches for 1,517 yards.
Instead, Jeffery watched as South Carolina’s offense dealt with the dismissal of quarterback Stephen Garcia and season-ending injury to Marcus Lattimore and coach Steve Spurrier’s shift to the running game simply to move the ball because he had inexperienced skill players.
Jeffery came into this game with a very ordinary output: 38 catches, 504 yards and five touchdowns. But he got a chance to shine against the FCS opponent when he reached out with his right arm to haul in the touchdown with safety Joseph Boateng right on him.
“You all may think I’m frustrated, but I’m not,” Jeffery said. “As long as we win, I’m cool with that.”
If that’s the case, Jeffery’s one very satisfied player.
The Gamecocks reached nine wins for just the fourth time in their history. They get a crack at win No. 10 in the showdown with Clemson at Williams-Brice Stadium next Saturday.
Spurrier wasn’t focused on that one, yet. “We’re happy to have won it and we’ll enjoy having nine wins and regroup to see if we can give Clemson a game next week,” the coach said.
Connor Shaw threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 90 yards rushing, including a 60-yard TD run. Tailback Brandon Wilds ran for two touchdowns and 109 yards, his third 100-yard game in four starts since replacing the injured Lattimore.
But it was Jeffery’s play that wowed the 76,000 or so at Williams-Brice.
“It was a great throw and I just made a great catch,” Jeffery said.