COLUMBIA – The 23-13 loss to Kentucky on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium stung the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. The news head coach Will Muschamp broke in his postgame press conference went beyond stinging.
“Deebo Samuel broke his leg and is out for the season,” Muschamp said.
Samuel, of course, has been electric for USC as a kickoff returner, wide receiver and occasional runner through the first two games, and it carried over on Saturday against the Wildcats. He had five catches for 122 yards and a 68-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Bentley on the first play of the game that sent the sellout crowd into a tizzy. Unfortunately for Carolina, that would be its only score until late in the fourth quarter.
The injury came on Samuel’s final catch, a 9-yard completion that gave South Carolina a first down at the UK 26-yard line late in the third quarter. Samuel stayed down on the field for a few seconds before getting up and going off on his own to an ovation from the crowd.
“It happened over there in front of the Kentucky bench where he got his leg rolled up under him,” Muschamp said. “He tried to come back and he couldn’t.”
Samuel had 97-yard kickoff return for a score in USC’5 35-28 season-opening win over North Carolina State and followed it up with a 97-yard TD return in the 31-13 win over Missouri. Kentucky didn’t kick it his way on Saturday.
He finished the season with 15 catches for 250 yards and three touchdowns. He also had two rushes for 30 yards and a score, a 25-yard run against Missouri.