Bednarik Watch List duo lead Gamecock defense

The South Carolina defense has put up some gaudy statistics this season, particularly in the last three weeks. None have been as impressive as the duo of Melvin Ingram and Antonio Allen. The two were rewarded for that Monday, being named to the Chuck Bednarik Watch List.

Following the most impressive win of the season in dismantling Kentucky 54-3 Saturday, the fifteenth-ranked South Carolina football team returned to practice in anticipation for the first road game in a month this Saturday when they travel to Starkville to take on Mississippi State. Due to the amount of rain that fell on the Capital City and the fact that the team will not play another home game for nearly a month, the team practiced inside Williams-Brice Stadium Monday.

After the second dominant performance in three weeks, two members of the Carolina defense were added to the Church Bednarik Watch List. Defensive lineman Melvin Ingram and Spur Antonio Allen have clearly been the biggest playmakers on a defense that is currently tied with Rutgers for first place in the country in forced turnovers with 22, and Monday they were recognized for their accomplishments.

"I just keep preparing for the game that is next and work hard towards making plays in those games," Allen said.

Allen, who leads the team in tackles with 50 – 20 more than D.J. Swearinger in second – has been a turnover machine. Prior to Saturday, Allen had forced a turnover in each of the games. He has forced three fumbles, recovered three fumbles, and has three interceptions. He has also scored two touchdowns. Perhaps the only thing Kentucky did right offensively was keeping the ball away from Allen.

"(I'm) Just coming in and working hard and dedication," Allen said for his success.

Ingram, on the other hand, has done a little bit of everything for the Gamecocks. Ingram has scored three touchdowns – one on special teams – and leads the team with five and a half sacks. He also has a fumble recovery for a touchdown to clinch the Georgia game, and fell on an Allen fumble in the end zone against Vanderbilt, as well as picking off two passes.

"(I) Just keep working hard and doing everything, being around my teammates," Ingram said. "Work hard mentally and physically and go out and try and maximize my potential on the football field."

Ingram has done just that, but was limited last week against Kentucky due to a foot injury he suffered in the third quarter of the 16-13 loss to Auburn the week before. In very limited action Ingram recorded one tackle and broke up a Morgan Newton pass to end the first half. Ingram was pleased just watching some of the other guys perform.

"I missed practice all last week and Chaz (Sutton) and (Jadeveon) Clowney did practice so they earned their opportunity to play the whole game," Ingram said.

After breaking up the pass to end the half, Ingram stayed on the ground for a few moments before hopping up and limping off the field.

"I was in a little bit of pain, but it wasn't unbearable pain," Ingram said. "I was always told that pain is soreness leaving the body, so I feel like Saturday I won't be in any pain."

Ingram sat out Monday's practice due to the nasty conditions, but he says he will practice for the first time in over a week and a half on Tuesday and said "I'm going to be 100% by Saturday."

Heading into a hostile, cowbell-ringing environment for the first time in nearly a month could be tough for a team that has gotten used to playing in front of their home crowd. Ingram says that won't be a problem for the Gamecocks and the best way to solve that problem is to turn Davis Wade Stadium into a mini Williams-Brice.

"We've gotten comfortable at home so when we go on the road we're just going to turn an away stadium into a home stadium," Ingram said with a grin.

While silencing Davis Wade Stadium and being successful on this crucial road stretch remains to be seen, it is pivotal that the Bednarik Watch List duo make an impact on every game.

"We just work hard," Ingram said. "We have a motto of just being relentless and getting around the ball – every play trying to get to the quarterback. Whether it's a run play or pass play, we just get to the ball."

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