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Sept. 24, 2005

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Blake Mitchell threw for 177 yards and two touchdowns before leaving with an injury and 40-year-old walk-on Tim Frisby caught a 9-yard pass late in South Carolina’s 45-20 win over Troy on Saturday night.

The Trojans (1-3) turned the ball over five times, with each mistake leading to a touchdown for the Gamecocks.

South Carolina’s offensive wasn’t as explosive as the score might indicate. But each time the Gamecocks (2-2) struggled, the defense came up with a turnover, whether it was a fumble at the South Carolina 8 on the Trojans first drive or an 11-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the third quarter when South Carolina’s offense had stalled twice ahead 24-13.

Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier delivered on his promise to play some of his freshmen. Mike Davis got the ball on the Gamecocks’ first 11 running plays and ended up with 78 yards on 19 carries. Backup quarterback Antonio Heffner came in for several series and was 6-for-9 for 91 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to a leaping Michael Flint. Heffner also carried seven times for 45 yards.

Heffner finished the game after Mitchell went out with an injury. He left the field on crutches for X-rays, which showed no broken bones.

Spurrier also got his old guy involved, having Heffner throw a short pass to Frisby with three minutes to go. Frisby, a father of six, walked on last year after 20 years in the U.S. Army. The crowd roared as Frisby lined up for the next play.

South Carolina ran for 116 yards Saturday – and that’s even with Mitchell losing 42 yards on four sacks. It certainly wasn’t a spectacular total, but the Gamecocks will take it after averaging 49 yards a game on the ground coming in.

Mitchell went 11-for-14 and South Carolina’s two quarterbacks combined for 268 yards. Sidney Rice caught five passes for 91 yards and a score and Syvelle Newton had five catches for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Along with forcing five turnovers, South Carolina’s defense held Troy to 236 yards. Carl Meadows was 12-for-30 for 99 yards, while Joel Whinghter led all rushers with 102 yards on 14 carries as the Trojans went back to Alabama with a $400,000 check and a 2-15 record against teams from BCS leagues since joining Division I-A in 2001.

Even with the big win, there were still plenty of things to frustrate the Head Ball Coach – Spurrier’s preferred nickname these days.

The Gamecocks were stopped near midfield on third and fourth down with inches to go for a first down late in the second quarter, prompting Spurrier to slam his notebook to the ground.

Troy, with the help of drive-extending unnecessary roughness penalty, turned the good field position into a 32-yard field goal from Greg Whibbs.

Then there were the two three-and-outs to open the second half and Leodis McKelvin’s 100-yard kickoff return for the Trojans first touchdown.