Jake Bentley's senior season lasted exactly one game.
The South Carolina starter for the previous three and a half seasons will have surgery to repair a mid-foot sprain and will be out for the remainder of the season, head coach Will Muschamp announced on his Sunday teleconference.
Bentley suffered the injury during the final play of the 24-20 loss to North Carolina. Muschamp said last week Bentley would seek a second opinion as to whether surgery was required. If Bentley could have avoided surgery, it would have meant roughly a six to eight week recovery process. Instead, Hilinski will be the starter the rest of the way and Joyner as his likely backup with Jay Urich expected to be ready as well.
Bentley was poised to break several school records in his senior season. Having played in just one game, he can take a redshirt year and with a December graduation on the horizon, Bentley could transfer to another program and like current teammate Tavien Feaster or former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant, he would be immediately eligible for the 2020 season.
The son of USC tight ends coach Bobby Bentley, Jake took over the starting role in the seventh game of his freshman season. The highlights of his career include winning the Outback Bowl MVP in the 2017 season and throwing for more than 500 yards against Clemson in 2018. But Bentley had endured plenty of criticism after USC was shut out by Virginia in the Belk Bowl and that criticism reached a peak after the loss to North Carolina in the Belk College Kickoff. Now, Bentley will have to decide if he wants to play in 2020 and if he wants to do so at USC or another school. But in the early stages of this decision, Bentley's long range plans are not even on the radar according to Muschamp.
"That's not even on the table," said Muschamp on his Sunday teleconference.
"Right now, it's a very difficult time. When I know something, I'll let you guys know."
The Gamecocks will face second-ranked Alabama Saturday at 3:30 pm in a game that can be seen live on CBS and News19.