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South Carolina Beats No. 11 Georgia
South Carolina quarterback Blake Mitchell drops back to throw.
 
South Carolina quarterback Blake Mitchell drops back to throw.

Sept. 8, 2007

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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Steve Spurrier did it to Georgia again.

The ol' ball coach, who beat the Bulldogs regularly while at Florida, guided South Carolina to a 16-12 upset of No. 11 Georgia on Saturday night, signaling the Gamecocks as a possible title contender in the Southeastern Conference.

That must sound familiar to Spurrier, who won plenty of titles during his days with the Gators but kept poor-mouthing his chances with the Gamecocks.

Ryan Succop kicked three field goals, Cory Boyd ran for the game's only touchdown and South Carolina's defense held the Bulldogs out of the end zone.

That was hardly the formula Spurrier used to beat Georgia 11 out of 12 years during his dominating run at Florida, which captured six SEC championships and one national title with the coach's Fun 'n' Gun offense.

Spurrier knows he doesn't have that kind of high-scoring talent at South Carolina (2-0, 1-0 SEC), forcing him to rely on a stout defense and Succop's accurate right leg to hold off the Bulldogs (1-1, 0-1).

Georgia was the highest-ranked team that South Carolina has beaten in Spurrier's three years as coach.

The Bulldogs, coming off an impressive 35-14 victory over Oklahoma State, were held without a touchdown for the first time since a 14-9 loss to South Carolina in 2001, when Lou Holtz was the coach and Spurrier was in his final season at Florida.

Succop connected from 41, 35 and 34 yards, the last of those giving the Gamecocks at 16-6 lead with 9:25 remaining.

The Bulldogs drove into South Carolina territory on their next two possessions, but settled for Brandon Coutu's third and fourth field goals. The kicker accounted for all of Georgia's points.

Georgia got one last chance to pull out a win, getting the ball back at its own 20 with 1:20 remaining. But the Bulldogs never seriously threatened, taking a couple of penalties before Matthew Stafford threw up a desperation pass that was picked off by Jasper Brinkley.

Blake Mitchell, who was suspended from South Carolina's opener for missing too many summer classes, knelt down one time and it was over.

Spurrier walked quickly to the "G" in the middle of the field, where he shook hands with Georgia coach Mark Richt. He also congratulated a few Bulldog players before heading to the locker room, getting another round of boos from a Georgia crowd that still considers him Public Enemy No. 1.

With good reason, it turned out.

South Carolina jumped ahead with a six-play, 62-yard drive in the first quarter. Mitchell connected on 3-of-4 passes, including a 19-yarder to Kenny McKinley over the middle, and Boyd finished it off with a nifty 9-yard touchdown run.

Boyd burst through a wide hole and left Georgia safety Kelin Johnson grasping at air with a quick stutter-step, coasting to the end zone without being touched.

After giving up 252 yards rushing in last week's win over Louisiana-Lafayette, South Carolina held the Bulldogs to 128 on the ground.

Stafford faced plenty of pressure as the Gamecocks took advantage of Georgia's young offensive line. The sophomore completed just 19-of-44 pass for 213 yards, was sacked three times and spent much of the game on the run.

Mitchell had a solid night, completing 20-of-31 for 174 yards. The Gamecocks didn't take many chances, knowing their defense and running game could handle the load. Boyd ran for 76 yards and Mike Davis chipped in with 56.

 

 

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