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March 31, 2006

The South Carolina defense registered seven interceptions and came away with a win over the offense, as the team went through about a 90-minute scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium on a pleasant Friday afternoon in Columbia.

“We got close to 100 plays,” said Head Coach Steve Spurrier following the scrimmage. “Everybody got to play a lot. There were no serious injuries, which is always important. The defense came back and won the scrimmage. They were behind most of the way and they got some turnovers and got back in the contest.”

The Carolina quarterbacks struggled much of the day, as the quartet of Blake Mitchell, Cade Thompson, Tommy Beecher and Brett Nichols combined to complete just 13-of-44 passes for 161 yards. All four quarterbacks were picked off at least once. Mitchell ended the day by completing just 3-of-11 passes for 28 yards with three interceptions. The junior signal-caller did lead the first-team offense 70 yards down the field on the first drive of the scrimmage, which culminated in a 10-yard touchdown run by Mike Davis. Ryan Succop connected on a 17-yard field goal and Cory Boyd scored on a one-yard touchdown plunge to cap the scoring. Redshirt freshman Cade Thompson took the bulk of the snaps and connected on 7-of-21 passes for 110 yards with one interception.

Curtis Rice, Dakota Walker, Chris Hampton, Mychal Belcher, Jeremy Ware, Greg Wright and Marvin Sapp all recorded interceptions for the defense.

“Marvin Sapp had a nice interception on a zone blitz,” noted Spurrier. “It was a good play for the defense. It was good to see our defense finally do some good things the second half of the scrimmage.”

The Gamecocks spent much of the practice working on the ground game. Mike Davis (13 carries) and Cory Boyd (16 carries) each rushed for 78 yards, while Bobby Wallace added 69 yards on a dozen attempts. Davis had carries of 23 and 21 yards, Boyd had bursts of 18, 17 and 15 yards and Wallace had carries of 26 and 17 yards. Mike West, who is making the conversion to wide receiver from the defensive side of the ball was the top receiver with five catches for 72 yards. He also had an end-around for a 21-yard pickup. Noah Whiteside added three catches for 40 yards.

“Mike Davis was running well. Mike and Cory Boyd did most of the running. Bobby Wallace had some nice runs here and there,” said Spurrier. “We had some guys do some good things. We’re still a long way off from being a decent team, but some guys had a chance to show us what they could do.”

NOTES: Shea McKeen returned to practice today. “He’s going to be suspended for three games next year,” said Spurrier. “I usually do the first three, but I may suspend him for some home games. (I think that) hurts more. I may suspend him for three home games.”

The 2006 Football Players Reunion Reception will be held Friday, April 7 from 6-8 p.m. in the 600 Level of Williams-Brice Stadium. Those interested in attending should RSVP to Vickie Simpkins at (803) 777-4271 or

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields next Tuesday. They are scheduled to practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday before completing their spring drills with the annual Garnet & Black Spring Game on Saturday, April 8 at 2 p.m. Admission is $5. Youth 12 and under and USC students with valid ID will be admitted for free. All practices are open to the public and will be held at the Bluff Road practice fields from 4:15-6:15 p.m.


SCORING: Mike Davis 10-yard run (Ryan Succop kick)

Ryan Succop 17-yard field goal

Cory Boyd 1-yard run (Thomas Hooper kick)

PASSING: Cade Thompson 7-21-1 110; Blake Mitchell 3-11-3 28; Tommy Beecher 2-7-1 18; Brett Nichols 1-5-2 5.

RUSHING: Cory Boyd 16-78 1 TD; Mike Davis 13-78 1 TD; Bobby Wallace 12-69; Mike West 1-21; Brett Nichols 2-(-2); Blake Mitchell 2-(-8); Cade Thompson 4-(-19).

RECEIVING: Mike West 5-72; Noah Whiteside 3-40; Jared Cook 2-25; Bobby Wallace 2-16; Cory Boyd 1-7; Mike Davis 1-6; Leon Gamble 1-5.