FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Even when Jadeveon Clowney does nothing wrong, the South Carolina defensive end can’t avoid controversy.
It was swirling Saturday morning before the No. 14 Gamecocks’ game at Arkansas. On ESPN College GameDay, host Chris Fowler said Clowney did not ride the team bus to Razorback Stadium. He was ill-informed and has since apologized on air for “making something out of nothing.”
Clowney did ride the bus with the rest of his team to Razorback Stadium on Saturday morning, football SID Steve Fink confirmed. He walked Frank Broyles Field with his teammates, wearing white headphones. Clowney is on the official dress list and will likely play – if not start – after missing last week’s Kentucky game with a strained muscle near his rib cage.
Clowney practiced Wednesday and Thursday, something he was unable to do last week. Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward will decide whether the star junior will start. On Thursday, Ward said Clowney would start if he’s healthy enough to play.
Even if he plays, Clowney may not make much of a difference against Arkansas’ power-run offense. It’s hard to sack the quarterback when the quarterback is handing off almost every play.
The Razorbacks rank fourth in the SEC in rushing offense, a remarkable feat in the first year under coach Bret Bielema after being last in the league last season. Their passing offense ranks 13th, almost rock bottom.
After a morning filled with thunderstorms, the sun is hung high in the sky over Razorback Stadium. Weather conditions are ideal for passing the football, but today’s game is still likely to feature ground and pound.
South Carolina knows it must stop Arkansas running back Alex Collins this afternoon. Collins, only a true freshman, has broken out with 651 yards this season – most in the SEC. USC running back Mike Davis ranks first in the SEC with 122.8 rushing yards per game.
Could the better running back lead his team to victory? All the attention is on Clowney, but Collins are Davis may have a better chance of deciding today’s game.
As always, continue to check PostandCourier.com for full, live updates from Razorback Stadium. You can also follow me on Twitter: @rwood_SC. And remember to pick up a copy of Sunday’s edition of The Post and Courier for full coverage of South Carolina’s game at Arkansas.