Not many teams have had much luck shutting down USC freshman running back Marcus Lattimore this season. He rolled up 182 yards rushing on Georgia, 93 on Alabama, 184 on Tennessee and 212 against Florida.
Then there is the Auburn game. Lattimore had 14 carries for 33 yards and one touchdown. He averaged just 2.4 yards per carry. Last week Clemson focused on shutting Lattimore down and held the former Byrnes High star to 48 yards on 23 carries. He did not score.
Lattimore expects more tough sledding this weekend in the SEC Championship game. Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley is known as a brutal force and the Tigers will undoubtedly try to put the game in the hands of a sore shouldered Stephen Garcia.
“That d-line they stopped our favorite run play,” Lattimore said. Their linebackers had a good plan coming in. They have a great defense in all. It’s going to be another tough game. Another tough way to find how to get yards running the ball, but we got to.”
Even though he knows the yards may be tough to come by, Lattimore is excited about playing for an SEC title. It also makes for an interesting storyline because Lattimore almost landed at Auburn. During his announcement Lattimore took the podium with former Auburn star and Spartanburg native Stephen Davis and stunned the crowd when he pulled out an Auburn cap. He quickly took it off to reveal he was going to be a Gamecock.
“Man it’s crazy, I think about that all the time,” Lattimore said. “ … How it was down to Auburn and South Carolina. I mean I knew this was the right place for me. You know, no doubt in my mind, I’m supposed to be here right now.”
That hat trick on Signing Day stunned a lot of Auburn fans. Perhaps Lattimore will have another trick up his sleeve Saturday in Atlanta.