Nunn savors satisfying end to USC career
ORLANDO, Fla. -- South Carolina fifth-year senior Kyle Nunn will always remember his final game. Not only did the Gamecocks beat Nebraska, 30-13, in the Capital One Bowl to reach 11 wins in a season for the first time ever, but Nunn played the entire game at left tackle.
It was a major development for him, because he missed the previous eight games due to a back injury that required surgery and a blood clot in his leg. Nunn rehabbed as hard as he could after back surgery eight weeks ago and had a satisfying conclusion to his career.
"I know all the seniors put their bodies on the line, including myself," he said. "We were in there talking about it at halftime, that we've got 30 minutes left and did a countdown from there, all the way down to three minutes, and just give it all we have. I felt great. I felt like I did in Game 4 before I got hurt.
"When compliance told me I had a very slim chance to come back (for a sixth year of eligibility), I was already working to come back for the bowl game."
No Ellington timetable
Sophomore Bruce Ellington said there is no timetable for his decision about returning to the football team for 2012. Ellington (Berkeley High School) played his first season of college football in 2011 after starting at point guard for the Gamecocks' basketball team in 2010-2011.
"I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet," Ellington said. "I want to enjoy this win and focus on basketball."
He will play basketball tonight for the Gamecocks against South Carolina State.
Ellington did not have a carry or catch Monday but returned two kickoffs for a total of 73 yards. Mixing time as a wildcat quarterback and slot receiver this season, he rushed for 106 yards on 17 carries (one touchdown) and caught 17 passes for 211 yards (including a touchdown against Clemson). He completed 3 of 4 passes for 27 yards.
Freshman tailback Brandon Wilds was South Carolina's leading rusher in three games after Marcus Lattimore's season-ending knee injury -- Tennessee (137 yards), Florida (120) and The Citadel (109). But game mistakes got him in the doghouse against Clemson, and Wilds again got a quick hook Monday (no carries).
"Little sluggish," USC coach Steve Spurrier said of Wilds. "So Kenny played most of it."
Junior Kenny Miles had 15 carries for 67 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown run, and two catches for 13 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown grab. Miles scored the only touchdowns for either team in the second half. Both came in the fourth quarter, as USC pulled away. The only previous touchdown of Miles' career came on a run in 2009 against South Carolina State.
The Gamecocks went only 4 for 13 on third down conversions, but 3 for 3 on fourth down tries, including quarterback Connor Shaw's game-sealing dash of 25 yards to the Nebraska 6-yard line on fourth-and-6, to set up Miles' final touchdown.
This and that
Spurrier is now 55-35 in seven seasons at USC and will enter next season nine wins shy of tying Rex Enright for the most career wins by a USC coach. ... USC's six sacks against Nebraska tied a season high set against Vanderbilt in September. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney led the way with two. He finished his freshman season with 12 tackles for loss, eight sacks and five forced fumbles. ... USC's last bowl win was the 2006 Liberty Bowl against Houston. The Gamecocks had lost their previous three bowl games and are now 5-12 all time in bowls. ... USC got its first ever win over Nebraska, having lost the previous three meetings.