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Jan. 20, 2005

Columbia, S.C. –
South Carolina’s first football game of the Coach Steve Spurrier era will be televised in prime time, as ESPN will showcase the Gamecocks’ 2005 season opener against the University of Central Florida on Thursday night, Sept. 1 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia. Kickoff for the nationally televised contest will be shortly after 7:30 p.m.

The game, originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 3, will be the first nationally televised game of the 2005 season and will launch what promises to be a highly anticipated campaign for the Gamecocks under Coach Spurrier, who was hired Nov. 23. Coach Spurrier spent 12 seasons as the head coach at Florida, where he assembled the second highest winning percentage (.817) in Southeastern Conference history and led the Gators to six SEC championships and one national title, and is now engaged in leading Carolina to a level of success never before experienced by the program.

“The fact that ESPN has elected to televise our season opener against Central Florida on Sept. 1 is, I believe, a tremendous compliment to the South Carolina football program,” said Coach Spurrier, who was on the road Thursday recruiting. “This should be a big boost to our team and to those who follow and support the Gamecocks. I told the team about it this morning before our 6 a.m. conditioning workout, and the news certainly gave them an extra hop in their steps. Hopefully, by our performance, we will earn the right to be on national television again and again.”

This marks the sixth Thursday night Prime Time ESPN appearance by the Gamecocks. Previous games vs. West Virginia (1990 in Columbia); Kentucky (1993 in Columbia); Mississippi State (2001 in Starkville); Kentucky (2003 in Columbia); and Arkansas (2003 in Little Rock) have also been shown via the national cable network on Thursday evening.

South Carolina and UCF have met on two previous occasions (1996 and 1997 in Columbia), with the Gamecocks winning both contests. The Golden Knights begin competition in Conference-USA this season and are coached by George O’Leary.