Paschall's college football picks: Lattimore shouldering even more

Paschall's college football picks: Lattimore shouldering even more

September 22nd, 2011 by David Paschall in Sports - Columns

LAST WEEK

Winners: 19

Muschamp tantrums: 6

Pasquali is 61-14 overall (81.3 percent) this season.

OTHER PICKS

Miss. State 32, La. Tech 7

Cincinnati 24, N.C. State 21

Maryland 33, Temple 20

Boston College 20, UMass 3

Virginia 26, Southern Miss 19

Virginia Tech 35, Marshall 24

Miami 34, Kansas State 15

Clemson 23, Florida State 22

Duke 31, Tulane 19

Oklahoma 45, Missouri 14

Texas A&M 30, Okla. State 27

Nebraska 38, Wyoming 13

Oregon 41, Arizona 26

Michigan 24, San Diego St. 10

Boise State 59, Tulsa 28

Notre Dame 27, Pittsburgh 16

Troy 30, MTSU 25

Playing your best players is not the most earth-shattering concept in college football, but South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier admits he might be overdoing it with sophomore tailback Marcus Lattimore.

A year after spearheading South Carolina's march to its first SEC East Division title, the 6-foot, 231-pounder is on pace to shoulder an even greater load. One week after rushing 27 times for 176 yards to help the Gamecocks eclipse Georgia 45-42 in Athens, Lattimore had 37 carries for a career-high 246 yards in last Saturday's 24-21 escape of visiting Navy.

"Well, we would like to divide it up a little bit if we could," Spurrier said Wednesday. "We've just been in close games all the way, and our passing game is not very good for some reason. When you're trying to win the game and you're not throwing the ball very well, you try and run it, and he's our best runner, but we do need to get more guys involved."

Lattimore is the league's best bet for a third consecutive Heisman Trophy, and his powerful fourth quarters may be his prominent characteristic. He rushed 13 times for 94 yards in the fourth quarter against Georgia and 13 times for 56 yards in the final 15 minutes last week.

"We're trying to take a little bit of the load off him, but he gets stronger in the fourth quarter," Spurrier said. "He's very healthy right now, and if that's the way to win a game, it's what we have to do."

PASQUALI'S PICKS

North Carolina at Georgia Tech: Tech AD Dan Radakovich pleads for fans by promoting Saturday's weather forecast, ripping a page from UTC's pre-Huesman marketing playbook. Yellow Jackets 27, Tar Heels 24.

Georgia at Ole Miss: Are those leaves falling from the trees at the scenic Grove, or are those $5 tickets? Bulldogs 34, Rebels 13.

Arkansas at Alabama: Despite those up-and-down rides during the Mike DuBose and Mike Shula eras, the Crimson Tide have won 19 straight SEC openers. Crimson Tide 33, Razorbacks 17.

UTC at Appalachian State: There have been many years in which this would be done simply for humor. Mocs 31, Mountaineers 28.

Florida at Kentucky: The line is 19, but it's unknown whether that's the actual point spread or the number of punts Florida is about to block. Gators 40, Wildcats 10.

Vanderbilt at South Carolina: James Franklin is the seventh Vandy coach to face Spurrier. Gamecocks 20, Commodores 13.

Florida Atlantic at Auburn: The Owls rank last nationally in third-down offense (converting just 8.7 percent), while the Tigers rank last in third-down defense (allowing 63.6 percent). Tigers 51, Owls 20.

LSU at West Virginia: If the Tigers are as stout defensively as they were last week, West Virginia may never apply for SEC membership again. Tigers 20, Mountaineers 9.