There is a LaGrange connection in this Saturday’s Alabama-South Carolina football game in Columbia.
Former Granger standout Mon Denson will suit up and play for South Carolina in the 3:30 p.m. CBS kickoff at Williams-Brice Stadium. Denson, a senior running back, is averaging 13 yards per carry so far this season.
Denson, a low-to-theground tailback at 5-foot-10 and 215 pounds, has rushed for 118 yards on nine carries in the Gamecocks first two games of the season. Denson has scored one touchdown.
The longest run of the year for the ex-Granger football star was a 57-yard pickup. South Carolina will need some big plays from Denson and his Gamecock teammates if they have a shot at an earth-shattering upset of No. 2-ranked Alabama.
South Carolina has some other players who are capable of stretching the field with freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski, and senior running backs Rico Dowdle and Tavien Feaster. Hilinksi was a bright spot for the Gamecocks as he passed for 282 yards and two touchdowns in his first college start last week against Charleston Southern.
Dowdle and Feaster will be featured against Alabama on Saturday, too. Both running backs are tackle-breaking speedsters.
The Gamecock hopes will also rest on the shoulders of two breakaway threats with senior wide receiver Bryan Edwards and junior split end Shi Smith. The 6-foot-3 Edwards is averaging 19 yards per catch.
Smith is good for nine yards per reception, on the average.
As for the heavily favored Crimson Tide, they have a roster full of gamechanging players. And Alabama will use most of them against the Gamecocks. The 2-0 Crimson Tide, winners over Duke and New Mexico State, are off to a smooth start this season with junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (563 yards, seven touchdown passes), junior wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (18 catches for 240 yards), junior split end DeVonta Smith (10 catches for 101 yards) and sophomore pass catcher Jaylen Waddle (seven catches for 142 yards).
Alabama is big and fast. The Crimson Tide receivers are elusive. They run to the wide open spaces. The yardage after the catch is significant for Alabama. Jeudy is averaging 13 yards per catch.
Waddle is averaging 20 yards per catch. Smith comes in at 10 yards per catch.
Alabama also has a rugged running game with depth, quickness and helmet- bangers. The Crimson Tide rushing attack is relentless and fearless with juniors Najee Harris, and Brian Robinson and freshman Jerome Ford. Alabama tailback Keilan Robinson is also tough to corral.
Robinson is averaging 12 yards per carry.
The author of this article can be reached via email at info@troupcountynews. net.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer