South Carolina dodged another injury scare Saturday when starting quarterback Ryan Hilinski suffered a sprained knee against Georgia.
Hilinski left the game with what appeared to be a serious injury, but head coach Will Muschamp said Sunday night that the injury was “nothing serious” and that Hilinski is expected to play Saturday against Florida (Noon, ESPN).
“He was a little sore today … [but] we expect him to play on Saturday,” he said.
Hilinski, a freshman who took over as the starter when Jake Bentley was lost for the season, was 15-of-20 for 116 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game early in the third quarter of South Carolina’s 20-17 (2OT) victory over No. 3 Georgia. Dakereon Joyner replaced Hilinski and was 6-of-12 passing for 39 yards and rushed for 28 yards.
Hilinski was writhing in pain after the injury and had to be helped from the field, though he later signaled to his mother that he was OK.
Muschamp said Hilinski left the game because he was not mobile enough to protect himself. He was also limping after a hit to the same knee earlier in the game. He said he would know more about Hilinski on Tuesday, but added, “We fully expect him to play on Saturday.”
Though Muschamp said the offense needed to be more efficient throwing the ball, he said he was pleased with the play of Hilinski, who threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Edwards to give the Gamecocks a 7-3 lead.
“I thought he played extremely well,” Muschamp said. “They had a couple of really nice hits on him and he hung in there and threw a really nice ball to Bryan on the out-and-up. He hit Bryan in stride for the touchdown. He was very accurate. He took the ball to the right spots and made the right decisions with the ball. Very pleased with his play.”
Muschamp said he had no issues about the play on which Hilinski was injured. Georgia linebacker Adam Anderson hit Hilinski in his left knee after tripping over the feet of South Carolina offensive lineman Sadarius Hutcherson.
“Not at all. The Georgia player tripped over our offensive lineman. There was absolutely no malicious activity at all, not at all,” he said.