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Oct. 8, 2005

Final Stats | Quotes | Notes | Photo Gallery


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Blake Mitchell threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third Saturday to give coach Steve Spurrier his first Southeastern Conference victory at South Carolina, 44-16 over Kentucky.

Mitchell, who missed last week’s 48-7 loss at Auburn with an ankle injury, had a 1-yard TD run and two scoring passes to Sidney Rice. The Gamecocks’ head coach moved to 13-0 against the Wildcats (1-4, 0-2 SEC).

Early on, South Carolina (3-3, 1-3) showed the offensive inconsistency and defensive problems that brought Spurrier his first 0-3 start in the SEC.

Mitchell and the Gamecocks, though, took control in the second half to ensure Spurrier, who won a national title and six league crowns at Florida, would not go 0-for-the-SEC as predecessor Lou Holtz did in his South Carolina debut in 1999.

The Gamecocks’ turnaround was helped by Kentucky fumbles on three straight second-half possessions.

After Rafael Little’s 1-yard TD run brought the Wildcats to 17-16 in the third quarter – senior kicker Taylor Begley missed the extra point to snap a school-record streak of 92 – Mitchell connected with Rice on throws of 27 and 23 yards to Kentucky’s 3.

Following a motion penalty, Rice caught an 8-yard pass for a 24-16 lead.

Kentucky looked like it had gained momentum, stopping Bobby Wallace on fourth down to get the ball at midfield. That’s when Wildcats runners began their bout of the drops.

Little fumbled two plays into Kentucky’s series. When the Wildcats got the ball back on Mitchell’s lone interception, Little immediately fumbled again, this time with safety Ko Simpson grabbing the loose ball and going 19 yards for a touchdown and a 30-16 lead.

On Kentucky’s next play, fullback Arliss Beach was stripped of the ball and Stoney Woodson picked it up for South Carolina.

By the end, it looked like another typical Spurrier blowout – remember Florida’s 73-7 win at The Swamp in 1994? – against Kentucky.

Simpson added a fourth-quarter interception that set up Daccus Turman’s 1-yard touchdown run. And backup quarterback Syvelle Newton ran in a 16-yard score in the final minutes.

Mitchell finished 23-of-34 for 277 yards. Rice, who also had a 27-yard touchdown catch, tied the school mark set by Jermale Kelly in 1997 with TD receptions in five straight games.

Little, a sophomore, gained a career-high 120 yards for Kentucky.