COLUMBIA, SC (TheBigSpur.com) Some point during the 43-yard run by sophomore Mike Davis in the third quarter, he cracked a smile. He knew right then that he crossed the 1,000-yard mark for the season and there was no way he was going to fall back below that threshold.
For the better part of two games, Davis has had his personal focus on surpassing 1,000 yards. He didn't have his best game on the ground against Missouri a week ago and started out a bit slow in Saturday's 34-16 victory over Mississippi State.
Davis had a goal to break the barrier, which has only been accomplished by seven different players before him, and that smile spread wide with just under nine minutes left in the third quarter.
"Yep," Davis, wide-eyed and big-grinned said, when asked if he knew his 43-yard carry pushed him passed 1,000 yards.
The milestone clearly meant a lot to Davis, a sophomore who played only sparingly his first year on campus. Current San Francisco 49er Marcus Lattimore rushed for 1,197 in 2010, which was his freshman season. The last person to rush for over 1,000 yards was Derek Watson in 2000.
After Davis' 15-carry, 128-yard performance, he finished the day with 1,058 yards over the first nine games of the season.
"I think I was very aware and capable," Davis said. "I got 1,000 yards but those 1,000 yards came from the offensive line. They're the ones who have pushed me. They always tell me, ‘One more play or one more broken tackle and you'll be gone.' Those guys up front, they deserve more credit."
Davis has only been held under 100 yards twice this season - Vanderbilt, 80 yards and Missouri 55 yards. For the second straight game, Davis was held out of the end zone, but that didn't put a damper on the team victory or personal achievement.
Davis also entered the week as the leading rusher in the Southeastern Conference averaging 116.2 yards per game.
"I'm glad to be the leading rusher," Davis said. "That's something I take pride in. People tell me every week I'm the leading rusher and that's something I want to keep going."
On a day that the South Carolina offense couldn't get much going, Davis was able to pop off some big runs. In addition to his 43-yard, record-breaking carry, the sophomore had a rush of 23 yards and a 30-yard reception. Davis finished the day with 154 yards of total offense.
Davis totaled 82 of the 86 yards on what was a game-clinching touchdown drive to make the score 31-10. He only touched the football two more times in the game but he couldn't wipe the smile off his face all afternoon.