Here's a new nickname for Kenny Miles – Mr. Reliable
Miles stole the show in his final home performance as a Gamecock as he carried South Carolina to a 24-7 victory over the Wofford Terriers. Miles carried the ball for 127 yards on 27 attempts -including a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter - and also added 27 yards receiving on four catches.
This isn't the first time Miles has stepped up when the Gamecocks needed him the most. Look back to last year's two final games against Clemson and Nebraska. Against Clemson, Miles rushed for 71 yards on 21 attempts and also added 26 yards receiving on three receptions to help South Carolina defeat Clemson 34-13. In the Captial One Bowl against Nebraska, Miles added two touchdowns – one rushing and one receiving – to go along with 67 yards rushing to help South Carolina beat Nebraska 30-13 and give South Carolina its 11th win of the season.
Miles wasn't the initial replacement last year for Marcus Lattimore when he went down with injury. Freshman Brandon Wilds came in and rushed for 100 yards in three of four games but struggled down the stretch. Miles took over in that Clemson game and became a reliable player down the stretch for the Gamecocks.
Fast forward to 2012 and it's a similar situation. Lattimore went down with a knee injury midway through the second quarter against Tennessee and the Gamecocks needed someone to step in yet again at running back. South Carolina was able to get by Arkansas last week without much of a running game but Miles started and added 81 total yards of offense for the Gamecocks.
As it turns out, the Gamecocks needed Miles the most against an opponent that has given the Gamecocks a lot of trouble in their last three matchups.
Right off the bat, Kenny Miles showed he was ready to play on Senior Day. Miles added 61 yards in the first quarter on eight carries. On the Gamecocks final drive of the first quarter, Miles carried the ball seven times for 45 yards and scored a rushing touchdown at the start of the second quarter.
The second quarter saw the Gamecocks offense stall and Miles only added 13 yards. He finished the first half with 74 rushing yards. The third quarter was Miles time yet again as he added 34 yards in the quarter to bring his rushing total to 108 yards at the close of the quarter.
Miles finished the game with a career-high in yardage and carried the ball for 20 times or more for the first time since the Clemson game almost a full calendar year ago. This was Miles' first 100-yard rushing game since the 2009 Clemson, and the fourth 100-yard rushing game of his career. After having such a large amount of carries, you'd expect Miles to be a little sore and tired from carrying the load. Miles admitted after the game that he may not go on his long five mile runs that he's accustomed to.
"I feel good. I'm not going to run five miles after the game – I might run two or three. I feel good. I feel great."
He should feel great after a performance like that in his final home game at South Carolina.
Coach Spurrier said after the game that Miles picked up a game ball for his efforts against Wofford.
"This was Kenny's day. He got a game ball."
Miles participated in Senior Day last year but elected to return to South Carolina. Coach Spurrier mentioned after the game how he thinks Miles would love to come back and play another year for the Gamecocks.
"He'd probably love to come back and play again," Coach Spurrier said after Saturday's win. "He's a good back. He's always been a good back. He can catch it and run with it and block."
He came in with a lot of promise and produced as a redshirt freshman in 2009. Starting with the 2010 season, Miles went to the bench after the enrollment of Marcus Lattimore and became the ultimate team player. Most players would get frustrated and want to leave in hopes of more playing time.
"I'm feeling humbled and blessed to be at South Carolina for the time that I've been here."
Miles continued talking about his last home game after the game.
"It felt real good. It was definitely emotional. I had to keep my composure. I'm gonna miss it. I'm gonna miss playing here."
While he's finished his playing career at Williams-Brice, Miles isn't finished yet with the Gamecocks. Up next for South Carolina is arch-rival Clemson Tigers. South Carolina will hit the road next weekend to face Clemson in the regular season finale hoping to finish off another 10-win season, and a fourth straight victory over Clemson.
"It's going to be a good game," said Miles. "It's a big huge rivalry. I know both teams will be ready to play."
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