Oct. 12, 2012
The No. 3/3 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-0, 4-0 SEC) face their second top-10 team in as many weeks when they travel to the Bayou to face the No. 9/8 LSU Tigers (5-1, 1-1 SEC) on Saturday, October 13. The game will be played at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge (92,400) with kickoff set for 8 pm ET. The sold out game will be televised on ESPN with Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit in the booth and Heather Cox working the sidelines. John Sadak and Rocky Boiman have the national radio call for Dial Globe Sports.
A LITTLE HISTORY: 2012 marks the 119th season of intercollegiate football at the University of South Carolina, dating back to 1892. It is the 106th-consecutive year in which South Carolina has competed on the gridiron. The University did not field a team in either 1893 or 1906. Carolina is 17 games over the .500 mark with an all-time record of 560-543-44. The Gamecocks were nine games under .500 until head coach Steve Spurrier took the reins in 2005, but are 26 games over since.
GAMECOCKS AND TIGERS: LSU holds a commanding 16-2-1 advantage in the all-time series with South Carolina. The Bayou Bengals own a 10-1 advantage in games played in Baton Rouge, hold a 5-1-1 lead in games played in Columbia, and won the only neutral site contest, taking the 1987 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. LSU has won the last four meetings, including a 24-17 win in Columbia in 2008 in their last meeting and a 28-16 win in Baton Rouge in 2007, the last time they met in Louisiana. South Carolina's last win came by an 18-17 margin in Baton Rouge on Oct. 1, 1994. The Gamecocks only win over the Tigers in Columbia was back in 1930 in the first meeting between the two schools, a 7-6 Carolina win.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: Jarrett Lee went 16-of-26 for 189 yards and LSU held South Carolina to minus-7 yards in the fourth quarter as the No. 13 Tigers beat the Gamecocks 24-17 on October 18, 2008. LSU (5-1) took the lead for good on Charles Scott's 2-yard touchdown run with 4:16 to go. It capped a grinding, 83-yard drive that took more than six minutes off the clock. Then Curtis Taylor picked off Stephen Garcia two plays later, souring an otherwise remarkable game for the freshman, who accounted for 230 of 254 yards for South Carolina (5-3) in his first career start. LSU held South Carolina to 42 total yards in the second half after allowing two touchdowns in the final 2:28 of the first half. For more on the game, see page 12 of the notes.
THE LAST TIME IN THE BAYOU: The 3-0 and 12th-ranked Gamecocks ran into a buzzsaw in the form of second-ranked LSU in Baton Rouge on Sept. 22, 2007 and came back from the Bayou with their first loss of the season, a 28-16 setback. The Gamecocks scored first, but LSU used a solid ground game, which rolled up 290 yards, to score the next 28 points. Carolina tried to rally late with two fourth-quarter scores, but it wasn't enough. South Carolina threw for 244 yards compared to LSU's 70, but the ground game proved to be the difference, as the Gamecocks could only muster 17 net yards rushing on 27 attempts on a rainy day in the Bayou.
CAROLINA'S LAST WIN OVER LSU: The Gamecocks went into the Bayou on Oct. 1, 1994 and escaped with an 18-17 win. The Gamecocks trailed the entire contest until Stanley Pritchett plunged in from the one-yard line with 12:52 remaining in the game for the deciding points. Pritchett finished the day with 18 carries for 90 yards. LSU held a 14-12 lead at the intermission in front of 63,281 rain-soaked fans and built the lead to 17-12 entering the final stanza. Carolina quarterback Steve Taneyhill was 23-for-30 for 157 yards and a touchdown, as the Gamecocks rolled up 262 yards of offense compared to 209 for LSU. It was just the Gamecocks' second win over LSU in school history, the first coming in the first meeting between the two schools, a 7-6 win on Oct. 11, 1930 in Columbia. Both Gamecock wins over LSU have been by a single point.
THE HBC VS. LSU: South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is 11-3 all-time against LSU, posting a 6-0 record when playing at The Swamp in Gainesville and a 5-2 record when playing in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. He came up on the short end in the only meeting in Columbia. His offenses have scored more than 20 points 11 times in the 14 meetings, rolling up 454 points for an average of 32.4 points per game. His defenses have surrendered more than 21 points just three, allowing just 197 total points, an average of 14.1 points per game.
TOP-10 MATCHUP: This is just the sixth time in school history that Carolina has entered a game ranked in the Top-10 and playing another Top-10 opponent, but the second in as many weeks. The Gamecocks are 1-4 in those contests to date, winning for the first time last week when they were ranked sixth in the country and defeated No. 5 Georgia, 35-7 in Columbia.
TOP 10 vs. TOP 10
THE GAMECOCK GAUNTLET: This is the middle game of a three-game SEC gauntlet for the Gamecocks. They defeated No. 5 Georgia last week in Columbia and face No. 4 Florida next week in the Swamp. Carolina's first five opponents have combined for an 10-18 record, but these three opponents, Georgia (5-1), LSU (5-1) and Florida (5-0) are a combined 15-2.
BEST SOUTH CAROLINA WINS BY RANKINGS: Date Opponent Rank Score 10/09/10vs Alabama 1 35-21 10/24/81at N. Carolina 3 31-13 09/24/09vs Ole Miss 4 16-10 10/06/12vs Georgia 5 35-7 09/24/88vs Georgia 6 23-10 10/04/07vs Kentucky 8 38-23 11/21/87vs Clemson 8 20-7 11/14/53at W. Virginia 8 20-14 09/09/00vs Georgia 9 21-10 10/23/58vs Clemson 10 26-6
STREAKING INTO THE RECORD BOOKS: The Gamecocks have stretched their winning streak to 10 games, surpassing the previous longest streak in school history of nine, set in 1984. There have been seven winning streaks of six games or more in school history, including two during the Spurrier Era. Here are the top streaks:
Consecutive Wins - Year(s)
HOT AS THEY COME: The Gamecocks' 10-game winning streak is the longest current winning streak in the country. Alabama, Oregon and West Virginia are right behind with nine consecutive wins.
FAST STARTS: The Gamecocks are off to a 6-0 start for the first time since 1988 and for just the third time in school history. Here are the best starts in school history and how those teams finished up:
Year Start Finish 1984 9-0 10-2 1988 6-0 8-4 2012 6-0 ??? 2001 5-0 9-3 1928 5-0 6-2-2 1902 5-0 6-1
IN FRONT IN THE SEC: The Gamecocks are 4-0 in SEC play for just the second time in their 21-year history in the league. In 2001 the Gamecocks opened with wins at Georgia, at Mississippi State, vs. Alabama and at Kentucky to go 4-0 in SEC play before losing at Arkansas and finishing 5-3 in league action. Last year's squad opened with wins at Georgia and vs. Vanderbilt before losing to Auburn. That team finished a school-best mark of 6-2 in SEC action.
THE HEAD BALL COACH: Steve Spurrier is in his eighth season directing the Gamecock football program. He has logged a 61-35 mark (.635) in Columbia. Coach Spurrier needs three wins to tie and four wins to take sole possession as the school's all-time leader in career victories. The Head Ball Coach ranks second on the school's all-time wins list with 61 behind only Rex Enright (64) and is tied for second in games coached with Paul Dietzel at 96 games behind Enright (140). Spurrier owns a 203-75-2 mark (.729) in 23 seasons as a collegiate head coach, with stops at Duke and Florida before his stint at South Carolina.
TOPS IN HIS FIELD: Steve Spurrier became just the 71st head college football coaches (all divisions) and the 22nd in Division I history to record 200 wins when he accomplished that feat against UAB. He ranks fourth among active Division I coaches with 203 wins.
REACHING 250: In addition to his 203 wins as a college coach, Steve Spurrier has an additional 47 wins as a head coach at the professional level, giving him 250 career coaching wins.
UNCHARTED TERRITORY: With the win over Georgia, the Gamecocks became bowl eligible for the eighth time in as many seasons under head coach Steve Spurrier. Coach Spurrier has taken the Gamecocks to six bowl games in his first seven seasons. They were not selected following the 2007 season with a 6-6 record. No other coach in Carolina history has taken the Gamecocks to more than three bowl games (Jim Carlen and Joe Morrison). Coach Spurrier is 2-4 in bowl games at South Carolina. He and Lou Holtz are the only Gamecock coaches to post two bowl victories.
GOOD HOME COOKIN': The Gamecocks have won their last eight games at Williams-Brice Stadium. Carolina is 4-0 at home this season. The Gamecocks were 6-1 at home in 2011, the third straight year in which they won six-of-seven home contests. The only home losses in the last three years came to top-ranked Florida in 2009, to 17th-ranked Arkansas in 2010 and to defending national champion Auburn in 2011. Carolina is 24-3 in its last 27 home games.
AND NOT BAD ON THE ROAD EITHER: With two SEC road wins this season, Carolina has won eight of its last nine true road games since falling at Kentucky in 2010. The Gamecocks had their school record six-game road winning streak snapped at Arkansas late in the 2011 season. Carolina finished the 2011 campaign with a 3-1 road record, its best road record since posting a 4-1 mark in 2006.
BEATING YOUR OWN: The Gamecocks hold the fourth-longest winning streak among SEC Eastern Division teams in intradivisional matchups since the two-division format was established. Head coach Steve Spurrier owns three of the top four streaks:
Team Head Coach Years Wins Florida Steve Spurrier 1992-97 25 Florida Steve Spurrier 1998-01 18 Florida Urban Meyer 2007-10 16 SC Steve Spurrier 2010-12 12
IN THE POLLS: The Gamecocks have been ranked in the Associated Press Top-25 for 38 consecutive polls, starting with to the second week of the 2010 season. That is the longest consecutive streak in school history. According to research compiled by "The Blitz," South Carolina was ranked in the A.P. poll 148 times from 1936-2011, 14 times as a member of the ACC (1936-1970), 57 times as a Independent (1971-1991) and 77 times since joining the SEC prior to the 2012 season.
ABOUT LAST WEEK: The sixth-ranked Gamecocks put up 21 first quarter points and never looked back as they routed fifth-ranked Georgia, 35-7 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia last Saturday night. The Gamecocks drove the field on their first two possessions for touchdowns, then got a back-breaking 70-yard punt return for a score from Ace Sanders. The Gamecock defense held the touted Bulldog freshman running back duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall to just 76 rushing yards combined. Meanwhile Marcus Lattimore rumbled for 109 and Connor Shaw added 78 on the ground for the Gamecocks. Shaw completed just six-of-10 passes, but it was good for 162 yards and two scores. Carolina outgained the high-powered Georgia attack, 392-224. Georgia avoided the shutout with a score in the final two minutes of the contest.
THAT'S A RECORD: A record crowd of 85,199 witness the Gamecocks win over Georgia last week. That bettered the previous Williams-Brice Stadium mark of 85,000, set against Clemson in 2001.
THE DRIVE: The Gamecocks final scoring drive of the Georgia game was a 14-play, 89-yard drive that consumed 9:28 on the clock. All 14 plays were running plays, culminating with Connor Shaw's seven-yard TD run. It was the longest drive by time by the Gamecocks under Steve Spurrier.
ONE AND DONE: The Gamecocks threw and completed just one pass in the entire second half against Georgia. That was a 62-yard completion from Connor Shaw to D.L. Moore. It was the longest reception of Moore's career and set up a Carolina touchdown. For the game, Shaw was just 6-of-10 but threw for 162 yards and two scores.
SHAW AT THE HELM: Connor Shaw is 13-1 as a starting quarterback, the best record after 14 games of any signal-caller in Carolina history. The 6-1, 207-pounder junior from Flowery Branch, Ga. can beat you with his legs (second on the team with 64 carries for 281 yards) or his arm (75.7 percent completion percentage with 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions). His 184.69 passing efficiency rating leads the SEC and would rank second in the country behind West Virginia's Geno Smith, but he is one attempt shy of qualifying by the NCAA standard. For his career, he has completed 68.5 percent of his passes (tops in school history) for 2,404 yards and 22 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He also has rushed 231 times for 971 yards with nine scores. Shaw was honored as the SEC's co-Offensive Player of the Week against Mizzou.
THROWING STRIKES: When the Gamecocks pitch it around the park, there's been no one who has been more accurate in school history than Connor Shaw. Three of the top 5 quarterbacks in completion percentage have worked under Coach Spurrier:
Quarterback Years Comp. Pct. Connor Shaw 2010-12 .685 (202-of-295) Blake Mitchell 2004-07 .607 (482-of-794) Steve Taneyhill 1992-95 .605 (753-of-1245) Bobby Fuller 1990-91 .588 (373-of-634) Stephen Garcia 2008-11 .577 (589-of-1021)
RED HOT QB: Connor Shaw set a school record by completing his final 20 pass attempts in the win over Missouri. That was just three shy of the SEC single game mark of 23, set by Tennessee's Tee Martin in 1998. Shaw finished the day 20-of-21, (.952), topping the previous South Carolina record of .941, set by Gordon Beckham (16-of-17) against North Carolina in 1981. He threw for 249 yards and two TDs. He came back the following week at Kentucky and hit on 15-of-18 passes for 148 yards with two scores. Over the last three games, Shaw has completed 41-of-49 (83.7 percent) for 559 yards and six touchdowns with no INTs.
THAT'S EFFICIENT: Carolina quarterbacks lead the SEC in passing efficiency, posting a 180.9 rating through six games. They are completing 64.9 percent of their passes and are tied with Tennessee for the most touchdown passes thrown with 14. Individually, Connor Shaw leads the league with a 184.7 rating, while backup Dylan Thompson is third at 162.9.
Rk. Team QB Eff. Rating 1. West Virginia 195.97 2. South Carolina 180.89 3. Baylor 177.44 4. Alabama 176.94 5. Texas 175.98
MORE FROM LATTI: Marcus Lattimore scored against Georgia last week and now has nine touchdowns this season. He is second in the SEC, averaging 9.0 points per game. Lattimore has scored in each of his last seven games and in 21 of his 26 career contests. He is the school's all-time leader with 39 career touchdowns and with 36 career rushing touchdowns. He ranks third on the school's all-time points scored list with 234 and became just the fifth player in Carolina history to eclipse the 200-point plateau. Lattimore ranks in a tie for fifth among active NCAA players in rushing TDs (the only junior in the top eight). For more Lattimore numbers, see page 13 of the notes.
BREAKING THE CENTURY MARK: The Gamecocks have three tailbacks who have rushed for 100 or more yards in a game for a combined 17 times. Junior Marcus Lattimore leads the way with 11 100-yard rushing games, while senior Kenny Miles and sophomore Brandon Wilds each have three 100-yard rushing contests. In addition, quarterback Connor Shaw has one 100-yard rushing game to his credit.
ELEVEN FOR MARCUS: Tailback Marcus Lattimore has returned to the gridiron after suffering a season-ending knee injury at Mississippi State last October. The junior carried 23 times for 110 yards and two TDs in the opener at Vanderbilt earning SEC Offensive Player of the Week accolades. He had 23 carries for a season-best 120 yards and two scores at Kentucky and logged his third 100-yard rushing game of the season last week against Georgia when he toted the pigskin 24 times for 109 yards. It was his third 100-yard rushing game against the Bulldogs and the 11th of his career, tying Brandon Bennett and Harold Green for second on the school's all-time list.
Rk. Player 100-Yd Games 1. George Rogers 27 2. Brandon Bennett 11 Harold Green 11 Marcus Lattimore11 5. Steve Wadiak 10
AMONG THE BEST: Marcus Lattimore leads the Gamecocks and is sixth in the SEC in rushing with 116 carries for 549 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry and 91.5 yards per game this season. He has nine of the Gamecocks' 13 rushing touchdowns. He ranks third the nation in career yards rushing per game, averaging 98.6 yards per contest (minimum 15 games played).
COMING UP ACES: Junior wide receiver Ace Sanders has done it all this season. He is third on the team with 12 receptions for 110 yards and three touchdowns, has returned 17 punts for a 15.5-yard average - third in the SEC, including a 70-yard touchdown against Georgia (the second of his career), and completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to D.L. Moore in the win over ECU. It was his third career pass and his second completion and second touchdown. Sanders was honored as the SEC's co-Special Teams Player of the Week vs. Mizzou and again vs. Georgia.
BRUCE ALMIGHTY: Sophomore Bruce Ellington has shown he can excel on the gridiron as he has done on the hardwood. The starting point guard for the Carolina basketball team each of the past two seasons, Ellington is second on the team with 13 receptions for 227 yards, a 17.5-yard average, and has returned three kickoffs for a 32.3-yard average, including a 50-yarder against Missouri. Ellington is a rare breed that has earned SEC All-Freshman honors in both football and basketball.
MIDSEASON ALL-AMERICANS: Three Gamecocks earned their way on Phil Steele's Midseason All-America squad. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was a first-team selection, while offensive center T.J. Johnson earned second-team accolades. Junior punt returner Ace Sanders earned a spot on the fourth team.
THIS BYRD CAN FLY: Dylan Thompson and Damiere Byrd hooked up on a 94-yard touchdown pass against UAB. It was the fourth-longest touchdown pass in school history and the first of Byrd's career. It also ranks as the second longest pass play in the Division I play this season. Byrd has 10 receptions this season for 288 yards, a gaudy 28.8 yards per catch average, with two scores. Byrd also competes in the 60-meter dash for the Carolina track & field squad and competed in an international track meet for the U.S. in Japan.
TRENDING TIGHT ENDS: The Gamecocks have brought the tight end back into vogue. Halfway through the regular season senior Justice Cunningham has seven catches this season for 71 yards. He had just 27 receptions for 257 yards from 2009-11. Sophomore Rory Anderson has become a big play threat. He has eight catches this season for 157 yards, a 19.6-yard average, with a team-leading four touchdowns. In his brief career, Anderson has seven TDs among his 16 catches with a 21.6-yard per catch average.
ALONG THE O-LINE: The Gamecocks' offensive line has a blend of youth and experience. Senior center T.J. Johnson, a Rimington Award candidate and the reigning SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, anchors the line. He has started every game over the past four seasons, making 46 career starts. He will match Cliff Matthews for the school record with his 47th start. Redshirt sophomore A.J. Cann has become a fixture at left guard. He started all 13 games last season as a redshirt freshman and has 19 consecutive starts. Junior right guard Ronald Patrick has started all six games this season as the middle of the line has remained intact. The tackle position has been more fluid. True sophomore Mike Matulis (9 starts) started the first four games (two at left tackle and two at right tackle), but has not started the last two games, missing the Kentucky game with a shoulder injury. Redshirt sophomore tackle Cody Gibson has made six career starts, including two this season. Redshirt freshman tackle Brandon Shell made his first career start at Vanderbilt as the left tackle and has gotten the call each of the last two weeks at right tackle. Redshirt sophomore tackle Corey Robinson has been the starting left tackle in each of the last three contests, his first career starts.
CAREER STARTS RK Player Years Starts 1 Cliff Matthews 2007-10 47 2 T.J. Johnson 2009-12 46 3 Travelle Wharton2000-03 45 Ladi Ajiboye 2007-10 45 5 Todd Ellis 1986-89 43
THE TOTAL PACKAGE: Carolina ranks third in the SEC and 11th in the nation in total defense, allowing just 278.0 yards per game (83.8 rushing/194.2 passing). The ranking is becoming the norm for the Gamecocks, as they ranked third in both the SEC and the country last season, surrendering just 267.7 yards per game (136.0 rushing/131.7 passing).
NOT ON OUR WATCH: Carolina has surrendered 63 points through the first six games (six touchdowns and seven field goals), ranking second in the SEC and fourth in the country in scoring defense at 10.50 points per game. The Gamecocks have been especially stingy in the first and third quarters, allowing just six points total in each of those stanzas. The Gamecocks have pitched a shutout in at least two quarters in all six games this season.
SACK ATTACK: The Gamecocks racked up a season-high eight sacks in the win at Kentucky, and own 25 sacks on the season, tops in the SEC. Sophomore Jadeveon Clowney leads the way with 6.5 sacks and Chaz Sutton has added 4.0, while 11 different players have figured into the total. Clowney ranks second in the SEC with both his 6.5 sacks and with 11.5 tackles for loss (9th in the nation).
WHY THEY'RE SO GOOD: The Gamecocks lead the SEC in allowing the fewest touchdowns on drives (6-of-78, 7.7 percent). In addition, despite turning the ball over eight times, the Gamecocks have not allowed a point following a turnover this season.
AND IMPRESSIVE IN THE REDZONE: The Gamecocks have allowed their opponents to venture inside the 20-yard line 14 times this season, but have surrendered just 43 points on four TDs and five field goals. The 64 percent scoring rate ranks ninth in the country.
SENIOR `BACKERS: New linebackers coach Kirk Botkin is blessed with a group of experienced players. The two-deep at the Mike, Will and Spur positions features five seniors who have combined for 14 varsity letters. Reginald Bowens (14 starts) and Damario Jeffery (4 starts) handle the Mike position; Shaq Wilson (26 starts) and Quin Smith (4 starts) man the Will position; and DeVonte Holloman (28 starts) gets the call at the Spur position.
SHAQ ATTACK: Senior linebacker Shaq Wilson has been outstanding this season. In addition to his two interceptions, Wilson, the quarterback of the defense, and his backup, Quin Smith, are tied for the team lead with 30 tackles.
PICK THIS: The Gamecocks picked off a season-best four passes against ECU and have eight for the season. Linebacker Shaq Wilson and Spur DeVonte Holloman lead the way with two each, while Jimmy Legree returned his for a touchdown against ECU. Last year, the defense logged 19 interceptions with two going for "pick-sixes" (Antonio Allen at Georgia and Devin Taylor at Arkansas). The school record for interceptions in a season is 23, set in 1981 and matched in 1984 and again in 1987.
THE PUNTER: Sophomore Tyler Hull did not arrive on the Carolina campus until a week after fall camp began, but quickly asserted himself as the team's top punter. The Mount Airy, N.C. product kicked at Guilford (N.C.) College in 2010 before transferring to Surry Community College. For the season, Hull is averaging 38.8 yards on 23 punts with six inside the 20, 11 fair catches, and three that have traveled 50+ yards. Both Hull and backup punter Patrick Fish, wear number 13.
81-52-83-8 HUT, HUT: Fifth-year senior Adam Yates has worn all four of those numbers since spring ball. What the Sparks, Md. product is 3-for-5 on field goals with a long of 38 yards and a perfect 27-for-27 on extra point attempts. The Gamecocks' five field goal attempts are tied with Georgia for the fewest in the SEC. Yates made the biggest kick of his career when he hit a 42-yarder midway through preseason camp, earning a scholarship. He has also assumed the kickoff duties from Landon Ard and has produced 15 touchbacks on 26 kicks.
GIVE US A CHANCE: The Gamecocks were ranked dead last in the country, No. 120, in kickoff returns prior to the Missouri game. But that was no fault of new special teams coach Joe Robinson. The Gamecocks had a 0.0-yard return average because they had not returned a kickoff, the only team of 120 without one through the first three weeks. When Bruce Ellington finally got a chance against Missouri, he returned it 50 yards to midfield, setting up a touchdown. This week, Carolina ranks 19th in the county in kickoff return average of 26.2 yards on its four returns.
CAPTAINS: The Gamecock coaches select game captains each week until the off week in November, at which time the team will select "permanent" captains for the 2012 season. Here are the game-by-game captains:
Vanderbilt: Justice Cunningham, T.J. Johnson, D.J. Swearinger, Shaq Wilson.
UP NEXT: The Gamecocks stay on the road in the SEC as they travel to Gainesville for an Eastern Division showdown with the Florida Gators. The Gators lead the all-time series 23-6-3, including a 12-1 advantage in Gainesville. The Gamecocks have won each of the last two contests, including a 36-14 win in their last trip to the Swamp and a 17-12 win in Columbia last season.
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