By Rixon Lane
This week's "Matchup Monday" pits a pair of former Gamecock tailbacks against each other.
Brandon Bennett and Harold Green each produced eye-popping runs during their careers in Columbia.
The question is...who was better?
The case for...Brandon Bennett
The face of South Carolina running backs during the 1990's, Brandon Bennett burst onto the scene with a school record 278 yards as a freshman against East Tennessee State. From there, Bennett would go on to become one of the most decorated tailbacks in South Carolina history. Bennett would finish his career with 3,055 rushing yards, second only to George Rogers. He also provided one of the most memorable moments in Gamecock football history, leaping over a pile of Georgia Bulldogs for the winning touchdown in the final seconds of the 1993 matchup in Athens. A downhill runner, Bennett averaged 4.5 yards per carry during his career and finished with the third-most rush attempts in Gamecock history. During his time at South Carolina, Bennett led the Gamecocks in rushing every year and never averaged less than 4.3 yards per carry in any season.
The case for...Harold Green
Remembered as one of the most electrifying players to ever suit up for the Gamecocks, Harold Green anchored the South Carolina ground game during the final years of Joe Morrison's "Run 'N' Shoot" attack. Green's elusiveness made him one of the best running backs in school history. A dynamic back with the ability to make almost anyone miss, Green finished his career atop South Carolina's all-time touchdowns list, tied with George Rogers after scoring 31 TDs on the ground. Green became just the sixth Gamecock to ever top 1,000 yards in a season when he rushed for 1,022 yards on 229 carries in 1987. His 15 rushing touchdowns that year set a school record that would not be broken for nearly three decades. Green concluded his Gamecock career with 3,005 rushing yards. He led South Carolina in rushing during his freshman, sophomore, and junior years.
Bennett was a more consistent runner and was a statistically superior pass receiver; he is the last Gamecock to ever lead South Carolina in rushing and receiving yards in a single season. However, Green's incredible athleticism made him a home run threat on every play, even though he never had a single run of over 50 yards in his Gamecock career. Taking into consideration that Green did most of his damage without a lead blocker, he gets the nod by a hair.