Special teams makes a statement

South Carolina's special teams were on display in the Gamecocks 31-10 victory over Missouri. Ace Sanders and Bruce Ellington were electric in the return game while Adam Yates continues to be a solid contributor in the kicking game.

South Carolina has been looking for some excitement out of its return game this season.

They got some on Saturday from a guy by the name of Ace Sanders.

Sanders was electric on the field against Missouri in the Gamecocks' 31-10 victory over the Tigers in this critical SEC East matchup. Sanders had multiple returns that left the fans in awe as they watched the return unfold with a dazzling array of jukes, spins and a whole lot more.

Sanders' return in the second quarter was the perfect example of just how dangerous a punt returner can be.

Sanders took the punt near midfield and immediately cut towards the center of the field evading a few Missouri defenders. Around the 45-yard line, Sanders bumped into Gamecocks linebacker Damario Jeffery, but the hit didn't faze him. He picked up a few extra yards after the hit from his own teammate when Missouri's Kip Edwards wrapped up Sanders from behind and tried to strip the ball from Sanders. Sanders was able to break free of the strip where he immediately stopped and started, evading another Missouri defender, and raced downfield all the way to the Missouri 4-yard line.

Marcus Lattimore would score two players later to give the Gamecocks a 7-0 lead. Sanders' incredible return was one of those moments that people will watch for a long time to come.

Sanders has shown an incredible ability this year on punt returns with his speed, agility and elusiveness this season. He has taken several returns this year and shown some patience, waiting for his blocks to appear, and then making his move up field.

It looks like the Gamecocks finally have themselves a dangerous punt returner.

Ellington finally gets his chance

Special teams coach Joe Robinson talked on Wednesday about how frustrating it must be for Bruce Ellington to work so hard at practice on kick returns only to find himself standing in the end-zone watching the ball sail over his head.

Ellington finally got his chance on Saturday against Missouri and he made the Tigers pay. Ellington returned a kickoff in the second quarter, after Missouri scored a field goal to making it 14-3 South Carolina, and bolted upfield for 50 yards to the 50-yard line. Ellington's return put the Gamecocks in great position to score before the half and South Carolina added a touchdown with :24 seconds left to go up 21-3 over Missouri.

The most interesting thing about the kick return was that it was the Gamecocks first kick return of the season.

Yates gets in the mix

South Carolina hasn't needed the field goal kicker much this year. South Carolina had attempted two field goals before tonight's game as Adam Yates kicked a 38-yard field goal to help increase the Gamecocks lead to 31-3 late in the fourth quarter.

With Yates kicking so few field goals this season, he's picked up some extra work at the kickoff specialist position. Yates has filled in since the UAB game for redshirt freshman Landon Ard, who has struggled this year at times, and has performed extremely well for the Gamecocks. He was 6-of-7 in touchbacks last weekend and was 3-of-6 tonight against Missouri.

Field position is critical these days and Yates performing well is certainly a blessing for the Gamecocks.

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories