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Feb. 3, 2006

A pair of nationally-televised Thursday night games highlights the 12-game 2006 South Carolina football schedule, announced today. The Gamecocks will play seven home games and face four teams that played in bowl games last season.

The Gamecocks will open the season on Thursday, August 31, when they travel to Starkville, Miss. to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN, marking the second straight year that the worldwide leader in sports will broadcast the Gamecocks’ season-opening contest. It will also be the first meeting between the two Southeastern Conference rivals since the 2002 season. Mississippi State leads the all-time series, 6-5, but Carolina has won each of the past three meetings.

South Carolina’s home opener is another SEC match-up, as the Georgia Bulldogs invade Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia on Saturday, September 9. Georgia, the defending conference champions, won the 2005 meeting in Athens, 17-15, and leads the all-time series by a 43-13-2 margin.

The Gamecocks step out of conference for their next two contests, as they host in-state foe Wofford on Saturday, September 16, then entertain Florida Atlantic on Saturday, September 23. The Terriers, a Division I-AA opponent from Spartanburg, S.C., and Gamecocks have met 20 times previously, most recently in 2001, with Carolina holding a 16-4 advantage in the all-time series. FAU, led by coach Howard Schnellenberger, will be meeting the Gamecocks for the first time ever on the gridiron.

The ESPN cameras and crew return to Columbia when Carolina wraps up a four-game homestand against the Auburn Tigers on Thursday, September 28. That contest also marks the first of five straight SEC contests for the Gamecocks.The teams have met six times previously, with Auburn holding a 4-1-1 lead, including a 48-7 win last season.

After more than a month at home, the Gamecocks leave South Carolina for back-to-back SEC road games at Kentucky on Saturday, October 7 and at Vanderbilt on Saturday, October 21, with the season’s lone off week breaking up the two trips. Carolina leads the all-time series against both schools, holding a 10-6-1 advantage over Kentucky and a 13-2 margin against Vanderbilt. Last season, USC claimed 44-16 and 35-28 victories over the two schools, respectively.

The Gamecocks return home to face the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday, October 28. Carolina won for the first time ever in Knoxville last season, 16-15, but the Volunteers still hold a 19-3-2 advantage in the all-time series.

The following week, Saturday, November 4, will see the Arkansas Razorbacks make their way to Columbia. USC won in Fayetteville last season by a 14-10 score, but still trails in the all-time series, 8-6.

A much-anticipated showdown is set for Saturday, November 11, when Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier makes his first trip back to his alma mater, leading the Gamecocks against the Florida Gators in Gainesville. Carolina handed the Gators a 30-22 setback last season in Columbia, its first win over Florida since 1939, snapping a 14-game losing streak in the series. That contest will also be the final SEC matchup of the regular season.

The Gamecocks will wrap up their home portion of the 2006 slate on Saturday, November 18 when they host the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. MTSU is coached by former USC assistant Rick Stockstill, who is in his first season in Murfreesboro. The two teams have never met on the gridiron.

The 2006 regular season comes to an end over Thanksgiving weekend, as the Gamecocks travel to in-state rival Clemson on Saturday, November 25. The Tigers have had the upper hand in the series, holding a 63-36-4 advantage, including a 13-9 win last season in Columbia.

Here is the complete 2006 South Carolina Football schedule. All times to be determined:

Day Date Opponent Site

Thursday August 31 Mississippi State Starkville, Miss.

Saturday September 9 Georgia Columbia, S.C.

Saturday September 16 Wofford Columbia, S.C.

Saturday September 23 Florida Atlantic Columbia, S.C.

Thursday September 28 Auburn Columbia, S.C.

Saturday October 7 Kentucky Lexington, Ky.

Saturday October 21 Vanderbilt Nashville, Tenn.

Saturday October 28 Tennessee Columbia, S.C.

Saturday November 4 Arkansas Columbia, S.C.

Saturday November 11 Florida Gainesville, Fla.

Saturday November 18 Middle Tennessee State Columbia, S.C.

Saturday November 25 Clemson Clemson, S.C.