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SEC Notebook: Clowney sits out Gamecocks' win

The SportsXchange

After all the hype he received in the offseason, South Carolina defensive end Jadaveon Clowney has had a rather quiet year.

He has a modest dozen tackles with two sacks and one forced fumble through four games.

Some of it is because of the extra attention he has gotten from opponents with double- and triple-teams.

Some of it is because of injuries Clowney has had to deal with. He had stomach issues a couple of games and has had to contend with bone spurs throughout the fall.

But his season dipped even lower Saturday when he didn't play against Kentucky because of sore ribs.

"I don't want to get into all of that," Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said when asked about Clowney's status. "I will just say he told me he couldn't play. That his ribs hurt and couldn't run.

"(He) said, 'I can't play.' I said, 'That's fine. You don't have to play.' And we'll move on. He may not be able to play next week, I don't know.

"We're not going to worry about it, I can assure you that. If he wants to play, we'll welcome him to come play for the team if he wants to.

"If he doesn't want to play, he doesn't have to play, simple as that."

Spurrier and his staff were all thinking Clowney, who had missed practice Thursday, was going to be available until right before the game against the Wildcats, which the Gamecocks held on to win 35-28.

"Right before the game," defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said when asked when he learned Clowney would not be available. "Coach Spurrier talked to him and he told him that he was having trouble running because of his ribs.

"We found out right before the game he wasn't going to play."

The Gamecocks are starting a three-game stretch on the road, starting with a trip to Arkansas.

Will Clowney play?

"We'll see," Ward said. "We'll see."

FIVE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 6 IN THE SEC

1. Things are about to get real interesting for Missouri. After their domination of Vanderbilt, the Tigers are in position to have a real impact on the Eastern Division race with consecutive games coming up against Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, the last two at home.

2. Georgia's resilience has been remarkable. With sophomore RB Todd Gurley out with an ankle injury and his replacement, sophomore Keith Marshall, going down for the year with a knee injury in the first quarter, the Bulldogs got 129 yards rushing out of freshman RB J.J. Green in the win at Tennessee.

3. Being on the plus side in turnover margin is good, but no guarantee of success. Mississippi State is No. 3 in the conference in turnover margin at plus-four (nine turnovers gained, five lost) and Tennessee is tied for No. 5 at plus-two (15 gained, 13 lost), but the Bulldogs and Vols have combined for only five wins in 11 games overall and are 0-4 in the conference.

4. The SEC's poll dominance continues. The conference lost Ole Miss from the AP's top 25 rankings, but 5-0 Missouri moved in at No. 25 to join No. 1 Alabama, No. 7 Georgia, No. 9 Texas A&M, No. 10 LSU, No. 14 South Carolina and No. 17 Florida for a total of seven spots -- half the league -- in the latest voting.

5. Scoring continues at a high pace. Nine teams have increased their scoring output over a year ago with Missouri (+20.8) and LSU (+15.7) making the biggest jumps. Of the five teams that aren't scoring as much, only one team is down by more than five points a game (Tennessee is down 5.06).
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