October 29, 2007

Tennessee Game Balls

The South Carolina Gamecocks suffered a heartbreaking 27-24 overtime loss to Tennessee Saturday night, but the game was not without some great individual performances. This article takes a look at five players who played well enough to earn GamecockCentral.com's "Game Balls" for their outstanding performance in the SEC clash.

Cory Boyd, WR, 6-1, 220, Sr., Orange, N.J.

Statistically, Boyd turned in arguably his best game ever, running for 160 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He often ran like a man possessed against the Vols, and left everything he had on the field. Carolina needs him to continue to play with such fire and intensity throughout the rest of the season, as their offense as whole is much more effective when he's producing on the ground.
Kenny McKinley, WR, 5-11, 180, Jr., Mableton, Ga.

McKinley also turned in a career best performance, catching 14 balls for 151 yards and a touchdown. Tennessee had no answer in their secondary for McKinley, as severe cramps at the end of the game were the seemingly the only thing that could stop him. The Gamecocks found their rhythm in the second half of this game, and McKinley needs to continue to come up big the rest of the year.
Casper Brinkley, DE, 6-2, 260, Sr., Thomson, Ga.

Brinkley was matched up with one of the Southeastern Conference's best offensive lines, but he still managed to make some big plays on the night. He finished with five tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a caused fumble. His sack of Erik Ainge was only the second time on the season he has gone down, with the first coming against Cal in the season opener. With the attention fellow defensive end Eric Norwood is receiving from opposing defenses, Brinkley should have plenty of opportunities for big games down the stretch this season.
Blake Mitchell, QB, 6-3, 212, Sr., LaGrange, Ga.

Mitchell took over for starter Chris Smelley with just over nine minutes left in the second quarter and responded with one of the best performances of his career. He finished the game with 290 yards passing, with one touchdown through the air and one on the ground. He managed the game very well and almost led the Gamecocks to a memorable come from behind victory. One pass he'd love to have back is his final one, when he overthrew an open Kenny McKinley that likely would have setup a game-winning touchdown.
Captain Munnerlyn, CB, 5-9, 180, So., Mobile, Ala.

Munnerlyn also had one of the best overall games of his career, racking up 11 total tackles, including 10 solos, two tackles-for-loss, an interception and one pass breakup. He is quickly emerging as one of the best overall cornerbacks in the Southeastern Conference, and his team will need him to continue playing at a high level to end the 2007 season.

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