Nov. 4, 2005
SETTING THE STAGE: The South Carolina Gamecocks (5-3, 3-3 SEC) put their three-game winning streak on the line as they travel to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks (2-5, 0-4 SEC) in a Southeastern Conference battle on Saturday, Nov. 5. Jefferson Pilot Sports will be on hand for the 12:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m. CT) start at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000). Dave Neal and Dave Rowe will be in the booth while Dave Baker will provide the sideline reports for JP Sports. Todd Ellis (play-by-play) and Tommy Suggs (analyst) handle the broadcast for the Carolina Gamecock Sports Network, with Rob DeBoer on the sidelines.
ABOUT THE GAMECOCKS: The Gamecocks have won three straight SEC games to improve their record to 5-3 in the first year of the “Steve Spurrier Era” at the University of South Carolina. The current streak marks the first time they have won three straight conference games since Sept. 28-Oct. 12, 2002, when they defeated Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Kentucky on successive weekends. The Gamecocks have posted consecutive wins over Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Tennessee and have non-conference wins over UCF and Troy in 2005. The Gamecocks’ three losses – at Georgia, versus Alabama and at Auburn – have come against teams ranked among the nation’s top 20. Those three schools have a combined record of 21-3 and are ranked 4th, 11th and 17th in this week’s Associated Press poll. The Gamecocks need to win one of their final three games to become bowl eligible. They still have games remaining at home versus No. 13/15 Florida (6-2) and against in-state rival Clemson (4-4) after this weekend’s tilt at Arkansas.
AND FOR THE RAZORBACKS: Arkansas has dropped two straight and five of its last six games after a season-opening win over Missouri State. Three of the Razorbacks’ losses (Alabama, Auburn and Georgia) have come against teams that also defeated South Carolina. In fact, four of their five losses (Southern California, Alabama, Georgia and Auburn) have come against teams ranked in the nation’s top 20. The Hogs boast the country’s sixth-best rushing team, as they average 256.6 yards per game on the ground, but are ranked 111th in passing offense at just 133.0 yards through the air. Freshman Darren McFadden averages just under 100 yards per game rushing to lead the squad. Houston Nutt is in his eighth year as the head coach at Arkansas. He owns a 55-38 record and is 91-60 in 13 seasons as a college head coach., which includes stops at Murray State and Boise State. He owns a 5-2 record against South Carolina.
WELCOME HOME: Carolina running backs coach Madre Hill is a graduate of the University of Arkansas. He played for the Razorbacks from 1994-98 and ranks as one of the school’s all-time top tailbacks. He rushed for a school-record 1,387 yards in 1995, helping Arkansas to the SEC Championship Game. He finished his career with 2,407 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns, including a school record six against South Carolina in 1995. USC co-defensive coordinator John Thompson was a G.A. at Arkansas in 1982 and the Razorbacks’ defensive coordinator in 2000 and 2001. Secondary coach Dave Wommack earned his Master’s degree from Arkansas and served on the Razorbacks’ coaching staff from 1979-82 and again from 2001-04.
A SOUTH CAROLINA WIN OVER ARKANSAS WOULD:
* Give Carolina four straight SEC wins for the second time in school history. They also accomplished the feat in 2001 with consecutive wins over Georgia, Miss. St., Alabama and Kentucky.
* Make the Gamecocks bowl-eligible for the second straight season and for the fourth time in the last six years. Five SEC teams have already become bowl-eligible.
* Give the Gamecocks four straight wins for the first time since Sept. 21 – Oct. 12, 2002 when they defeated Temple, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Kentucky on consecutive weekends.
* Be the Gamecocks second win in seven tries in Arkansas. Their lone previous win came in the 1997 season by a 39-13 score. It would also be their first win ever in Fayetteville (0-2).
SERIES NOTES: This is the 14th meeting between Carolina and Arkansas. The Razorbacks lead the all-time series, 8-5, including a 5-1 advantage when the teams have met on the Razorbacks’ home field. The teams have met every year since 1992 when USC joined the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks won last year’s meeting, 35-32 in Columbia, snapping a three-game losing streak in the series. Carolina’s lone win in Arkansas came in 1997, a convincing 39-13 victory.
LAST SEASON’S MATCHUP: USC rallied from four different deficits to post a 35-32 win over Arkansas on Nov. 6, 2004 in Columbia. Syvelle Newton’s 14-yard TD pass to Troy Williamson with 1:09 left in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winner. Ko Simpson came up with a game-turning play when he picked up a UA fumble and took it 57 yards to give USC its first lead of the game, 21-17, early in the third quarter. Simpson later sealed the deal with an interception on Arkansas’s final drive. The stats were as close as the final score, as Arkansas edged the Gamecocks in first downs (23-20) and in total offense (385-370). However, Carolina won the turnover battle, 3-1.
SPURRIER VS. ARKANSAS: South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier owns a 3-0 career record against Arkansas, winning once in Fayetteville (42-7 in 1996), once in Gainesville (56-7 in 1997) and once at a neutral site (34-3 in Atlanta in the 1995 SEC Championship game). His teams have not allowed more than a touchdown in any of the three games, winning by an average score of 44-4.
THE LAST TIME OUT: The Gamecocks escaped Knoxville with a 16-15 win over Tennessee last Saturday night in a nationally-televised contest. Josh Brown connected on a career-long 49-yard field goal with 2:45 remaining to give the Gamecocks the win, their first ever in Knoxville. Blake Mitchell and Sidney Rice hooked up on a pair of touchdown passes, connecting from 19 and five yards out. Mitchell finished the night with 242 yards on 22-of-36 passing, and was 13-for-16 in the second half, including a stretch in which he completed 11 straight passes. Despite facing an average field position of the 40-yard line, the USC defense stepped up big, holding the Vols to just 271 yards of total offense, including 99 through the air.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING: The win over Tennessee snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Volunteers, which dated back to 1992, and was Carolina’s first win in 13 tries in Knoxville. They were 0-12 when playing on the Vols’ home turf in a series that dates back to 1903.
RECORD SETTING NIGHT: Redshirt freshman wide receiver Sidney Rice continues to rewrite the USC record books. He caught two touchdown passes against Tennessee, extending his school record to seven consecutive games with a touchdown catch. His two TD receptions gives him 11 on the season (most in the SEC), and sets a new school single season record.
JUST FOR KICKS: Josh Brown’s career-long 49-yard field goal was the game-winner over Tennessee. It tied for the ninth longest field goal in USC history and was the longest since Reid Bethea hit a 49-yarder against Alabama on Sept. 30, 2000. Bethea and Brown own the only two field goals of 49-yards or longer by a Carolina kicker since 1992. Brown has converted 5-of-6 field goal attempts this year and is 15-of-21 in his career. After missing four of his first five field goal attempts in his career, he has converted 14 of his last 16 field goal tries.
CAN I GET A WITNESS?: There was no question as to who won the game in Knoxville – just ask the 107,716 that were on hand, the second largest crowd to ever witness a Carolina football game. The only larger crowd was the 107,881 at the 2003 game in Tennessee. In fact, the top five crowds to see Carolina play have all been in Knoxville.
UPSET SPECIAL: When the Gamecocks knocked off the No. 23/25 ranked Volunteers last Saturday, it snapped a string of seven straight losses against an opponent ranked in the Associated Press’s top 25, dating back to a 31-7 win over No. 15 Virginia on Sept. 6, 2003.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: USC placekicker Josh Brown and wide receiver Sidney Rice were named the SEC Special Teams and Freshman Player of the Week respectively for their efforts in the win at Tennessee. It was the second time that Rice has been honored by the league this season.
FOR STARTERS: South Carolina did not use any new starters in the win over Tennessee. However, 27 Gamecocks have made their first collegiate start this season (14 on the offense, 13 on defense), the most in Division I football in 2005.
WALK(-ON) THIS WAY: USC has used a pair of walk-ons in key positions. Offensive lineman Thomas Coleman has made three starts, while tight end Carson Askins has made two starts. Prior to the start of the season, four walk-ons were rewarded with scholarships. The quartet included deep snapper Ike Crofoot, wide receiver Michael Flint, fullback Lanard Stafford and linebacker Jerod June.
SECOND HALF BLAST: In each of the last three games, USC has gone into intermission either tied (10-10 vs. Kentucky and 7-7 vs. Vanderbilt) or trailing (12-7 at Tennessee). In each case, the Gamecocks played well after halftime, outscoring the Wildcats (34-6), Commodores (28-21) and Volunteers (9-3) in the second half to come away with a win. For the season, USC has scored 119 second half points compared to just 81 in the first halves of their games.They have scored 70 points in the fourth quarter this season, the high mark among any of the four quarters, including 43 points in the fourth quarter of their last three games.
BACKED UP: USC has been plagued by poor starting field position all season. Against Tennessee, they started three drives inside their own 5-yard line and nine of 14 drives started at their own 20 or worse. Carolina has started just 33 of 100 drives (33 percent) beyond their own 25 yard line this season. They did not start a drive beyond their own 40-yard line in four of their eight games. 53 percent of their drives (53 of 100) have started at their own 20 or worse.
RED ZONE NUMBERS: USC’s offense has had excellent success in the red zone, scoring on 20-of-24 opportunities (83.3 percent), which ranks in a tie for third in the SEC. They have scored 17 touchdowns, while settling for a field goal attempt just four times. The Gamecocks percentage of touchdowns scored per red zone opportunity (70.8 percent) ranks first in the Southeastern Conference. Defensively, the Gamecocks rank sixth in the SEC, allowing their opponents to score 74.3 percent of the time (26-of-35) when entering the red zone.
THE TURNOVER FACTOR: After logging just three turnovers leading to six points in the first three games, the Gamecocks have forced 13 turnovers and have turned them into 62 points over the last five contests. For the season, USC is plus-0.25 in turnover ratio, coughing up the ball 14 times which have led to 30 points, while forcing 16 turnovers that have led to 68 USC points. The Carolina defense did a great job against Tennessee, holding the Vols scoreless following three Gamecock turnovers.
MITCHELL’S THE MAN: Redshirt sophomore Blake Mitchell has proven to be a worthy signal-caller in his first season as the starter. Mitchell has completed 63.6 percent (131-of-206) of his passes, for 1,656 yards and 13 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Although he does not get the publicity of some of the other SEC quarterbacks, Mitchell ranks: * 1st in the SEC in completion pct. (63.6). * 1st in the SEC in touchdown passes (13). * 2nd in the SEC in passing yards per game (236.6). * 3rd in the SEC and 24th in the country in passing efficiency (146.1). * 4th in the SEC in total offense (222.3 ypg).
MORE MITCHELL: With still three regular season games remaining, Blake Mitchell is moving up the charts on USC’s single season lists. He is tied for seventh in single season touchdown passes with 13 and is second in percentage with a 63.6 completion ratio. Here are those lists: Single Season Touchdown Passes Rk Quarterback Year TD Passes 1. Steve Taneyhill 1995 29 2. Steve Taneyhill 1994 20 Todd Ellis 1986 20 4. Anthony Wright 1997 18 5. Jeff Grantz 1975 16 6. Bobby Fuller 1991 15 7. Blake Mitchell 2005 13 Bobby Fuller 1990 13 Tommy Suggs 1968 13 10. Phil Petty 2001 12
Single Season Completion Percentage Rk Quarterback Year C-A Pct. 1. Steve Taneyhill 1995 261-389 .671 2. Blake Mitchell 2005 131-206 .636 3. Dondrial Pinkins 2004 68-108 .630 4. Steve Taneyhill 1994 231-367 .629 5. Todd Ellis 1986 205-340 .603
THIS `N THAT ABOUT CAROLINA:
* The team that has scored first has gone on to win all eight games this season.
* The Gamecocks are 3-1 in games decided by 10 or fewer points this season.
* The Gamecocks are nearly 50-50 in running (231) and passing (246) attempts, but average three times more yards when passing (241.9) than running (83.5) the ball.
* The Gamecocks are 15th in the country in pass defense, allowing 177.2 yards per game through the air.
* The Gamecocks are 18th in the country in net punting (37.2 yards per punt).
* The Gamecocks held the time of possession advantage over Tennessee, just the second time this year they’ve won that battle.
* USC’s 2005 opponents own a 50-35 record, a .588 winning percentage.
SERVING UP RICE: Redshirt freshman Sidney Rice has shown that he is a key ingredient in the Carolina offense. The Gaffney, S.C. product has caught eight passes in each of the last three games, going for 125 yards and two touchdowns against Kentucky; for a season-high 132 yards and three TDs against Vanderbilt; then for 112 and two scores at Tennessee. He has established the school record for touchdown catches in a season (11) and consecutive games with a touchdown catch (7). Rice ranks: * 1st in the SEC and 22nd in the country in receiving yards, averaging 95.3 yards per game. * 1st in the SEC in touchdowns scored with 11. * 2nd in the SEC and 29th in the country in reception, averaging 6.0 catches per contest. * 2nd in the SEC and 22nd in the country in scoring, averaging 9.4 points per game.
RICE IS HEATING UP: Sidney Rice seemingly has improved with every game. Here’s a look at his game-by-game performances after missing the opener with a broken finger. Opponent Receptions Yards Touchdowns Georgia 5 70 1 Alabama 5 74 1 Troy 5 91 1 Auburn 3 63 1 Kentucky 8 125 2 Vanderbilt 8 132 3 Tennessee 8 112 2 TOTALS 42 667 11
MORE RICE PLEASE: Sidney Rice is moving up the USC charts. Here’s where he ranks: Single Season Touchdown Receptions Rk Receiver Year TDs 1. Sidney Rice 2005 11 2. Jermale Kelly 1997 10 Monte Means 1995 10 Sterling Sharpe 1986 10 5. Zola Davis 1995 9
Single Season Touchdowns Scored Rk Player Year TDs 1. Harold Green 1987 16 2. George Rogers 1980 14 3. Jeff Grantz 1975 12 Andrew Pinnock 2001 12 Stanley Pritchett 1995 12 Sterling Sharpe 1986 12 Derek Watson 2000 12 8. Sidney Rice 2005 11
Career Touchdown Receptions Rk Receiver Years TDs 1. Jermale Kelly 1997-2000 19 Robert Brooks 1988-1991 19 3. Zola Davis 1995-1998 17 Sterling Sharpe 1983, 1985-87 17 5. Philip Logan 1974-1977 15 6. Troy Williamson 2002-2004 13 Monty Means 1992-1995 13 Toby Cates 1991-1994 13 9. Mike Haggard 1970-1972 11 Sidney Rice 2005 11
Single Season Receiving Yards Rk Receiver Year Yards 1. Sterling Sharpe 1986 1,106 2. Sterling Sharpe 1987 915 3. Zola Davis 1995 911 4. Troy Williamson 2004 835 5. Zola Davis 1998 733 6. Brian Scott 2001 730 7. Philip Logan 1975 716 8. Reed Bethea 1987 689 9. Robert Brooks 1991 684 10. Philip Logan 1976 678 —————————————————————- Sidney Rice 2005 667
NEWTON’S LAWS: Junior Syvelle Newton suffered a season-ending torn Achilles’ tendon in his left leg in the win over Vanderbilt. Prior to the injury, Newton lined up at wide receiver, quarterback and tailback against the Commodores, accounting for 80 yards on the ground and 54 through the air (46 passing and eight receiving), along with three touchdowns (one rushing and two passing), earning SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors. For the season, Newton rushed 21 times for 150 yards and two scores, completed 4-of-5 passes for 47 yards and two touchdowns and caught 27 passes for 297 yards and two TDs. He also returned three kickoffs for an additional 55 yards.
EARLY RETURNS: The Gamecocks feature a pair of true freshmen in their return game. Carlos Thomas handles the kickoff returns. He has returned 15 kicks for 353 yards, a 23.5 yard average which ranks fifth in the league. His longest return is a 79-yarder against Troy. Kenny McKinley has returned 14 punts for 52 yards, a 3.7 yard average, which ranks eighth in the SEC.
MIXING IT UP: Carolina started the same five offensive linemen (Jabari Levey, Freddy Saint-Preux, Chris White, Thomas Coleman and Na’Shan Goddard) in the last two games against Vanderbilt and Tennessee. It marked the first time this season that all five were repeat starters. White and Goddard have started all eight games, while Levey has made seven starts this year. Saint-Preux has started five times and William Brown has started four times. Coleman has made three starts, Fran Person, and James Thompson have each started twice and Jamon Meredith has made one start.
FRESH START: The Gamecocks’ offense was helped in the win at Tennessee by a pair of true freshmen. Tailback Mike Davis rushed 16 times for a team-high 61 yards while wide receiver Kenny McKinley turned in his best game by catching five passes for 54 yards. McKinley’s efforts were especially important, as Carolina was playing most of the game without the services of receivers Syvelle Newton (torn Achilles tendon), Noah Whiteside (sprained right ankle) and Carlos Thomas (concussion).
INTO THE END ZONE: Freshman kicker Ryan Succop has been impressive while handling kickoffs for Carolina. 16 of his 40 kickoffs (40 percent) have been touchbacks. Only 15 of 52 USC kickoffs a year ago (29 percent) were touchbacks.
THREE-WAY THOMAS: Freshman Carlos Thomas has done it all this season. He is third the squad in all-purpose yards with 479. He has started three times at wide receiver where he has made nine catches for 73 yards, including a career-high four catches against Kentucky. He has carried the ball three times for 53 yards. He also has been the primary kick returner, with 15 returns for 353 yards, including a long of 79 yards. In addition, he has played cornerback, making a key interception of a D.J. Shockley pass in the end zone late in the first half at Georgia. His two-way performance against the Bulldogs earned him recognition as the SEC Freshman of the Week for September 17. However, he suffered a concussion while returning a kickoff against Tennessee and is listed as doubtful for Saturday’s game at Arkansas.
DEFENSE SCORES: The Gamecocks defense has produced three touchdowns this season. Johnathan Joseph returned an interception 42 yards for a score at Georgia. Brandon Isaac returned a fumble 11 yards against Troy for a TD. Ko Simpson returned a fumble 19 yards for a touchdown against Kentucky.
SACK ATTACK: The Gamecocks are tied for the SEC lead with 23 sacks. Stanley Doughty (3.5 sacks) and Mike West (3.0 sacks) lead the way, while 15 different players have figured in the mix. The 23 sacks easily exceeds USC’s 2004 total of 12 sacks.
CORNERING THE MARKET: Cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph (3) and Fred Bennett (2) own five of the Gamecocks’ seven interceptions this season. Joseph has interceptions against Georgia (which he returned 42 yards for a touchdown), against Vanderbilt (which he returned 32 yards setting up a USC touchdown) and at Tennessee (which set up another Carolina TD). They are the first three interceptions of his career. .Bennett has picks against UCF and Troy and also blocked a field goal attempt against Vanderbilt, the first block by a USC player since 2001. He owns six career interceptions. Ko Simpson and Carlos Thomas own the other two interceptions.
KO IS OK: Sophomore safety Ko Simpson is the most heralded player on the USC roster. Simpson was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in the win over Kentucky after returning a fumble for a touchdown, intercepting a pass (the seventh of his career) which led to another Gamecock TD and logging a game-high 13 tackles. The 6-1, 201-pounder was USC’s only pre-season all-conference selection and has been named to numerous pre-season all-America squads. He is regarded as the top safety in America and a first team all-America by The Sporting News and is on the Watch List for the Bronco Nagurski Award. Simpson was named the SEC Freshman of the Year by the Associated Press and was a Freshman all-American last season after logging six interceptions, tying for the SEC lead and tying for third nationally. This season he leads the team with 68 tackles, including 43 solos. His 8.5 tackles/game average leads all SEC defensive backs.
SEEING DOUBLE: The Gamecocks have opponents seeing double when Jordin and Dustin Lindsey are on the field. Jordin has started the last five games at defensive end, while Dustin has made back-to-back starts at linebacker and has recorded 19 tackles since moving into the starting role. Wearing numbers 40 and 41, the Lindsey twins from Davidson High School in Mobile, Ala., have combined for 56 tackles including 8.5 TFL’s.
PUTTING POINTS ON THE BOARD: The last time a Steve Spurrier coached offense was shutout came on October 3, 1987 against Rutgers in Piscataway, New Jersey. The Scarlet Knights blanked the Blue Devils, 7-0. Coach Spurrier has coached 185 straight games without being whitewashed since that day in Jersey.
PLAYING THE KIDS: Coach Steve Spurrier has 24 true freshmen scholarship players on the roster. Of the 24, half have seen action. Those who have played in their first season at USC include Yvan Banag, Mike Davis, Jonathan Hannah, Shea McKeen, Kenny McKinley, Nathan Pepper, Taylor Rank, Marvin Sapp, Ryan Succop, Carlos Thomas, Bobby Wallace and Dakota Walker. Those who are have not played include Tommy Beecher, Kerry Bonds, Freddie Brown, Jared Cook, Brent Davis, Lemuel Jeanpierre, O.J. Murdock, Gerrod Sinclair, Cade Thompson, Jeremy Ware, Damien Wright and Brandyn Young.
CANADIANS, EH?: The USC roster features three players from north of the border. Tight end Robert Pavlovic and offensive lineman Gurminder Thind are from Mississauga, Ontario while offensive lineman Justin Sorensen hails from Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
ALL-TIME RECORD: This is the 112th season of college football at the University of South Carolina, dating back to 1892. The university did not field a team in either 1893 or 1906. This is the 99th consecutive year in which the Gamecocks have competed on the gridiron. They own an all-time record of 505-510-44. Their only conference championship came in the 1969 season when they posted a perfect 6-0 record to win the Atlantic Coast Conference title in Paul Dietzel’s fourth year.
BETTER OF LATE: After the 1998 and `99 seasons saw South Carolina win just once in 22 tries, the Gamecocks have begun to turn the corner. Since the start of the 2000 season, USC has logged an overall record of 38-29. The 33 wins from 2000-04 matches the best five-year stretch in school history. USC also posted 33 wins from 1980-1984.
RECORD SALES: USC has established a school record for football season tickets sold. The Gamecocks sold 62,618 season tickets for the 2005 campaign, surpassing the previous mark of 62,103, set in 2002. The numbers do not include student tickets and tickets contractually obligated to visiting teams.
ELITE COACHES: The Sporting News recently ranked the top collegiate coaches. USC’s Steve Spurrier was tabbed the second best coach in the country behind only Southern California’s Pete Carroll. Here is TSN’s top 10: 1. Pete Carroll, Southern California 2. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina 3. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma 4. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa 5. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech 6. Jim Tressel, Ohio State 7. Phil Fulmer, Tennessee 8. Mack Brown, Texas 9. Dan Hawkins, Boise State 10. Tom O’Brien, Boston College
FIRST -YEAR COACHES: With five wins, head coach Steve Spurrier has already surpassed the combined first-season win total of the two previous USC head coaches who had national titles under their belt. Paul Dietzel and Lou Holtz combined to go 1-20 in their initial season in Columbia. Here’s how previous Carolina coaches fared in their first season as the Gamecocks’ head coach: Coach Year Record Warren Giese 1956 7-3 Jim Carlen 1975 7-5 Brad Scott 1994 7-5 Sparky Woods 1989 6-4-1 Steve Spurrier 2005 5-3 Joe Morrison 1983 5-6 Richard Bell 1982 4-7 Marvin Bass 1961 4-6 Paul Dietzel 1966 1-9 Lou Holtz 1999 0-11
GOING BOWLING: Only Jim Carlen in 1975 and Brad Scott in 1994 led the Gamecocks to a bowl game in their first season as head coach. Carlen’s squad lost 20-7 to Miami (Ohio) in the Tangerine Bowl, while Scott’s `94 team defeated West Virginia in the Carquest Bowl, 24-21.
BOWL ASPIRATIONS: The Southeastern Conference has agreements to send eight of its member institutions to post-season bowl games following the 2005 season. The winner of the SEC Championship Game will automatically participate in the Bowl Championship Series comprised of the Sugar, Rose, Orange and Fiesta Bowls. the Capital One Bowl (Orlando) will then make its pick. Other SEC tie-ins are with the Outback Bowl (Tampa), SBC Cotton Bowl (Dallas), Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl (Atlanta), Mainstay Independence Bowl (Shreveport), Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl (Nashville) and EV1.net Houston Bowl. Five SEC school are already bowl-eligible: Georgia and Florida from the East and Alabama, LSU and Auburn from the West. South Carolina needs one win in its final three games to join that list.
LENDING A HAND: Head Coach Steve Spurrier has put together an excellent coaching staff. On the offensive side of the ball, Coach Spurrier is the coordinator and also works directly with the quarterbacks. Madre Hill, one of the top tailbacks ever at the University of Arkansas, is in his first season at USC as the running backs coach. John Hunt, who worked with Coach Spurrier at Florida is the offensive line coach. David Reaves, son of All-American quarterback John Reaves, assists Coach Spurrier with the quarterbacks. Steve Spurrier, Jr. rejoins his father’s staff, taking over the wide receivers. Rick Stockstill is in his second season at USC as the recruiting coordinator and also handles the tight ends. On the defensive side of the ball, John Thompson and Tyrone Nix are co-defensive coordinators. Thompson, who served as the head coach at East Carolina the past two seasons, also works with the inside linebackers. Nix, who played and coached at Southern Miss, handles the defensive line. Ron Cooper works with the outside linebackers and also is the special teams coordinator. Dave Wommack serves as the secondary coach. Thompson, Nix and Wommack all worked together at Southern Miss.
IN THE BOOTH: Receivers coach Steve Spurrier, Jr. and secondary coach Dave Wommack are the only full-time coaches who sit in the pressbox during the game. The rest of the full-time staff are on the sidelines.
UP NEXT: The Gamecocks return home for a much anticipated showdown with the Florida Gators on Saturday, Nov. 12. Game time is set for 12:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised regionally by Jefferson-Pilot Sports. It will mark the first matchup of Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier against his alma mater. Florida leads the all-time series, 19-3-3, including an 8-3-1 advantage in Columbia. The Gators have won each of the last 14 meetings over the Gamecocks, with USC’s last win coming by a 7-0 score in 1939. Carolina has not defeated Florida since joining the Southeastern Conference. The Gators won last year’s battle in the swamp, 48-14.