September 17, 2007

Knee injury sidelines Pepper for season

Nathan Pepper and end zones don't like each other.

Nine months after his involvement in one of the more bizarre plays in the history of the long South Carolina-Clemson rivalry, Pepper has been diagnosed with torn ligaments in his knee and will miss the rest of the season.

Pepper suffered the injury in the first quarter of Saturday's 38-3 win over S.C. State moments after crossing the goal line to complete a 19-yard interception return for a touchdown.

USC head coach Steve Spurrier said Pepper will undergo season-ending surgery.

Spurrier said Pepper will likely file for a medical redshirt after making five tackles in three games. After playing mostly defensive tackle last season, Pepper was moved outside to defensive end for the past two games to help strengthen USC's run defense.

Since the injury occurred before the conclusion of USC's third game, Pepper, a Greenville native, is eligible for a medical redshirt from the NCAA. However, it's not guaranteed his request will be granted.

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