South Carolina football will go for the upset of No. 9 Florida without the services of its top rusher — senior Rico Dowdle left the game after one play and has been ruled out for the entirety of the contest, ESPN sideline reporter Tom Luginbill reported.
Dowdle fought through traffic on that play, ducking underneath a tackle for an eight-yard gain. He immediately went to the sideline, however, limping and clutching his knee. He was taken to the injury tent on the sideline and emerged with an ice pack on his knee before returning to the locker room. He eventually returned to the sideline before halftime, wearing a brace and not carrying his helmet.
Dowdle had 449 rushing yards on the season on 77 attempts with four touchdowns, all team-leading totals. He has dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career and suffered an injury scare late against Kentucky, but his teammates and coaches felt he was having a career year this season, spurred by competition from Clemson transfer Tavien Feaster.
Without Dowdle, the Gamecocks got a one-yard rushing touchdown from senior Mon Denson in the first quarter and a 21-yard score from Feaster in the third. The Gamecocks led 20-17 after three quarters but eventually lost 38-27.
After the game, coach Will Muschamp said he was unsure of the severity of Dowdle’s injury and said he would undergo an MRI on Saturday night.