Nov. 17, 2006
The South Carolina Gamecocks (5-5) play their final home game of the 2006 season as they host the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (7-3) on Saturday, Nov. 18. Game time is set for 12:35 p.m. ET at Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250) in Columbia. The game will be televised throughout the Palmetto State and in parts of Tennessee on a pay-per-view basis. It will also be televised outside of South Carolina on ESPN’s GamePlan package. Check with your local cable company for more information. Mike Morgan, Josh Brown and former Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers provide the commentary. Todd Ellis and Tommy Suggs will be in the radio booth for the Carolina Gamecocks Sports Network, with Rob DeBoer working the sidelines. The game can also be heard on SIRIUS satellite radio channel 152.
SENIOR SALUTE: The following 12 seniors are playing in their final game at Williams-Brice Stadium: Fred Bennett, Thomas Coleman, Ike Crofoot, Seth Edwards, Jamal Hayes, Jerod June, Scott Morgan, Syvelle Newton, Brett Nichols, Keron Rouse, Chris White and Noah Whiteside. Only Bennett, Newton, White and Whiteside came to Carolina as scholarship players.
WHERE ARE THE CAMERAS?: The Gamecocks have been a regular on the national television stage this season. They have appeared seven times in 11 games on national TV, including seven of their eight SEC games.
ABOUT THE GAMECOCKS: South Carolina has dropped three straight Southeastern Conference games by a total of 14 points to fall to 5-5 on the season, including a 3-5 mark in SEC play. They are 3-1 on the road (wins at Mississippi State, Kentucky and Vanderbilt and a loss at Florida) and 2-4 at home, with non-conference wins over Wofford and Florida Atlantic and losses to nationally-ranked Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee and Arkansas. The Gamecocks rank 10th in the SEC and 76th in the country in scoring offense (21.9 ppg) and are fifth in the SEC and 23rd in the country in scoring defense (17.2 ppg).
AND FOR THE BLUE RAIDERS: MTSU is 7-3 overall, 6-0 in the Sun Belt. They have won four straight after losing a nationally-televised game to Louisville on Oct. 6. All three of their losses have been to teams currently ranked among the nation’s top 25, including setbacks to Oklahoma and Maryland. They are averaging 25.5 points per game (50th in the country) while allowing 19.8 points per game (42nd in the nation). Quarterback Clint Marks has completed 60.6 percent of his passes for 1445 yards and seven touchdowns, while Eugene Gross is the top rusher with 784 yards and 10 scores.
WELCOME BACK STOCK: This week’s game marks the return of former South Carolina assistant coach Rick Stockstill. Stockstill coached the wide receivers in 2004 and the Gamecock tight ends in 2005, while serving as recruiting coordinator throughout his tenure.
SERIES NOTES: This is the first meeting between Carolina and Middle Tennessee on the football gridiron.
PLAYING THE SUN BELT CONFERENCE: The Gamecocks are a perfect 6-0 when facing teams out of the Sun Belt Conference, including a 45-6 win over Florida Atlantic earlier this season. They shutout New Mexico State, 31-0 to open the 2000 season and defeated the Aggies again to open the 2002 campaign, 34-24. USC opened the 2003 season with a 14-7 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. They faced Troy in both the 2004 and 2005 campaigns, winning by 17-7 and 45-20 scores.
NOT THE FIRST TIME: Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier owns a 1-0 record against MTSU. He led the eighth-ranked Florida Gators to a 55-0 win over the Blue Raiders on Sept. 9, 2000. That Florida team went on to win the SEC title and finish 10-3 overall.
OUT OF THEIR LEAGUE: The Gamecocks are 2-0 in non-conference action this season, were 2-2 in non-league action in 2005 (wins over UCF and Troy and losses to Clemson and Missouri) and have finished with a .500 or better mark in games outside the SEC each year since the start of the 2000 season. They are 18-7 in non-conference games since the 2000 campaign, including a perfect 4-0 record in 2001 (Boise State, Wofford, Clemson and Ohio State).
A CAROLINA WIN OVER MTSU WOULD…: * Snap a three-game losing streak, which is the longest in Steve Spurrier’s brief tenure at South Carolina. He lost three games in a row just once at Florida – the final three games of the 1999 season (Florida State, Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and Michigan State in the Citrus Bowl). The longest losing streak of his collegiate career is four, set in his first season at Duke back in 1987. * Give the Gamecocks six wins on the season, becoming bowl-eligible. Carolina would become the ninth SEC team to gain bowl eligibility. No South Carolina coach has taken his team to bowl appearances in each of his first two years in Columbia. * Guarantee the Gamecocks at least a .500 record in the regular season for the third straight year. The last time USC had three straight .500 or better regular seasons was when they went four straight years from 1987-90 with at least a .500 mark, finishing 8-3, 8-3, 6-4-1 and 6-5 in the regular season.
ROAD WARRIORS: The Gamecocks had their school-record five-game conference road winning streak snapped at Florida last Saturday. Despite the loss, they have had their share of success winning on the road in the SEC over the past three seasons, boasting an impressive 8-4 record in that time (3-1 in 2004, 2-2 in 2005 and 3-1 in 2006). They trail only Auburn (10-1) and Tennessee (8-3) in conference road success since the start of the 2004 season.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: The Gamecocks are coming off a three-game stretch in which they played the No. 8 (Tennessee), No. 12 (Arkansas) and No. 6 (Florida) teams in the country. It was the first time that Carolina had faced three straight ranked opponents since the end of the 2000 season (loss to No. 5 Florida, loss to No. 16 Clemson, win over No. 19 Ohio State). Earlier this season they faced No. 12 Georgia and No. 2 Auburn. Overall, seven of their 11 Division I opponents this season are bowl eligible. According to the NCAA, the Gamecocks currently have the sixth toughest schedule in the nation. Here are the top 10 teams ranked by toughest schedule. The NCAA does not figure in games involving I-AA opponents: Rank Team Opp. Wins Opp. Losses Pct. 1. Cincinnati 59 33 .641 2. Michigan 69 41 .627 3. Connecticut 57 34 .626 4. Minnesota 64 39 .621 5. Southern Cal 66 41 .617 6. South Carolina 60 38 .612 7. Maryland 56 37 .602 8. Florida 59 39 .602 9. Texas 60 40 .600 10. West Virginia 54 37 .593
BOWL AGREEMENTS: The Southeastern Conference has agreements to send eight of its member institutions to postseason bowl games following the 2006 season. The winner of the SEC Championships Game will automatically participate in the Bowl Championship Series comprised of the Sugar, Rose, Orange and Fiesta Bowls. The Capital One will then make its pick. The Outback, Chick-fil-A and AT&T Cotton Bowls will work with the conference office to determine picks 3-5. In selections 6-7, the AutoZone Liberty and Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowls will make their selections, not in any specific order, but in consultation with the SEC Office. The PetroSun Independence Bowl will receive the eight selection of available SEC teams.
THE LAST TIME OUT: The Gamecocks battled sixth-ranked Florida to the wire, but came up one point short in a 17-16 decision at “The Swamp” in Gainesville last Saturday. Blake Mitchell, starting at quarterback for the first time since the second game of the season, had arguably the finest day of his Gamecock career, completing 24-of-33 passes for 275 yards with no turnovers. Mike Davis logged his top rushing day of the season, carrying 16 times for 94 yards, as the Gamecocks outgained the Gators, 410-401. The game came down to special teams play, as Florida blocked two Gamecock field goal attempts and an extra point. The Gamecocks also had a 55-yard field goal taken off the board due to a penalty. Jasper Brinkley led the USC defense with a season-high 13 tackles, including 11 solo stops.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Safeties Brandon Isaac (left shoulder), Ty Erving (knee) and Nick Prochak (left shoulder), defensive tackle Marque Hall (left knee), offensive guard Kevin Young (left shoulder), offensive tackle Gurminder Thind (right foot) and defensive end Terrence Campbell (left knee) have been lost for the 2006 campaign due to season-ending injuries.
ALSO ON THE SHELF: Reserve linebacker Curtis Rice has missed the last two games with a sprained left foot. Linebacker Cody Wells suffered a left biceps injury in Saturday’s loss at Florida.
FOR STARTERS: The Gamecocks have started six true freshmen (offensive tackle Hutch Eckerson, offensive guard Garrett Anderson, linebacker Rodney Paulk, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, safety Emanuel Cook, wide receiver Moe Brown) and three redshirt freshmen (tight end Jared Cook, tailback Taylor Rank and wide receiver Freddie Brown) this season. Overall, 18 players have made their first collegiate start in 2006 for Carolina.
FRESH FISH: The Gamecocks have played 11 of the 18 true freshmen scholarship players who joined the team in the fall. Those who have seen action include: Garrett Anderson (4 starts), Moe Brown (1 start), Emanuel Cook (4 starts), Hutch Eckerson (5 starts), Chris Hail, Captain Munnerlyn (2 starts), Eric Norwood, Rodney Paulk (7 starts), Vandaral Shackleford, Chris Smelley and Darian Stewart. Those headed for a redshirt include Pierre Andrews, Heath Batchelor, Seaver Brown, Terrence Campbell, Kenrick Ellis, Nick Prochak, and Kevin Young. Smelley will apply for a medical redshirt (heel injury).
WINNING THE THIRD-DOWN WAR: The Gamecocks have improved dramatically in third down situations in 2006, converting 44 percent (53-of-120) of their opportunities, which is fourth in the SEC. That’s up from 34 percent from a year ago. The Gamecocks have also done a good job in those same situations on defense, holding their opponents to just 34.6 percent (44-of-127) on third-down conversions, which ranks fifth in the SEC. That’s down from 41 percent in 2005.
BLAKE’S BACK: Junior quarterback Blake Mitchell has been on fire since coming off the bench at halftime of the Arkansas game. Over the past six quarters, Mitchell has completed 39-of-54 passes (72.2 percent) for 488 yards and two touchdowns. His 24 completions against the Gators was a career high. For the season, Mitchell is 72-for-109 (66.1 pct.) for 810 yards. For his career, Mitchell is 267-for-446 (59.9 pct.) for 3,266 yards with 20 touchdowns and 17 picks. The LaGrange, Ga. native is just the ninth quarterback in Gamecock history to throw for 3,000 yards in a career. He is 8-6 as a starter. Here are the career passing yards leaders at South Carolina: No. Player Years Yards 1. Todd Ellis 1986-89 9,953 2. Steve Taneyhill 1992-95 8,782 3. Anthony Wright 1995-98 5,681 4. Phil Petty 1998-01 5,652 5. Tommy Suggs 1968-70 4,916 6. Bobby Fuller 1990-91 4,896 7. Dondrial Pinkins 2000-04 3,459 8. Jeff Grantz 1972-75 3,440 9. Blake Mitchell 2004-06 3,266
NEWTON SERVED ADMIRABLY: Senior Syvelle Newton gave the Gamecock offense a huge shot in the arm this season when he was asked to play quarterback. The senior completed 95-of-162 passes (58.6 percent) for 1,316 yards and 12 touchdowns with seven interceptions in 2006. For his career, Newton has completed 170-of-300 passes (56.7 percent) for 2,474 yards and 20 touchdowns. He is 4-3 as the starting signal-caller this season and is 6-6 as a starter during his career, with five starts coming in the 2004 season.
RARE TRIFECTA: Syvelle Newton has passed for 2,474 yards, rushed 215 times for 786 yards and has caught 60 passes for 666 yards. He has accounted for 33 touchdowns in his career – 20 passing, 10 rushing and three receiving. Research has turned up just three players who have surpassed the 600-600-600 mark in the history of college football – Georgia’s Hines Ward (1063 rushing, 918 passing, 1965 receiving), former SMU great Kyle Rote (2049 rushing, 648 passing, 734 receiving) and University of Ohio’s Dave Juenger (770 rushing, 1,207 passing and 1,111 receiving).
PLAYING BOTH WAYS: Syvelle Newton became the first Gamecock since Corey Jenkins in 2002 to start on both sides of the ball in the same season. Newton has made seven starts this season at quarterback and started last Saturday at Florida at safety. Newton has also started at wide receiver during his college career. Jenkins started the first 10 games of the 2002 season at quarterback before moving to free safety for the final two games. Ironically, both Newton and Jenkins first career start on defense came at Florida.
RICE HEATING UP: Sophomore wide receiver Sidney Rice continues to climb up the USC charts. Rice has gone over the century mark in receiving yards in nine of his last 17 games. Only Sterling Sharpe (10) has more 100-yard receiving games in school history. Here are Rice’s 100-yard receiving performances: Rice’s 100-Yard Receiving Games (9) Date Opponent Rec. Yards TD 12/31/05 Missouri 12 191 1 09/23/06 Florida Atlantic 9 161 5 09/16/06 Wofford 7 151 0 10/21/05 Vanderbilt 8 132 3 11/04/06 Arkansas 7 126 1 10/07/05 Kentucky 8 125 2 11/25/05 Clemson 7 122 0 10/28/05 Tennessee 8 112 2 11/11/05 Florida 5 112 0
MORE RICE PLEASE: Sidney Rice has caught 50 passes (the ninth-highest single season total in school history) for 758 yards (the sixth-highest single season total) and seven scores (tied for seventh) this season after setting the school’s single-season record for receiving yards (1,143) and touchdown catches (13) while hauling in 70 passes (second most) in 2005. He has caught a touchdown pass in 12 of his 21 career games. He ranks fifth in the SEC in receptions per game (5.00) and eighth in receiving yards per game (75.8). He became the 10th player in school history with 100 career receptions and has set the school record for career receiving touchdowns with 20. Here’s where he ranks on the USC receiving charts after just 21 games:
Carolina Career Receptions Leaders No. Player Years Rec. 1. Sterling Sharpe 1983, 85-87 169 2. Zola Davis 1995-98 164 3. Robert Brooks 1988-91 156 4. Jermale Kelly 1997-00 153 5. Fred Zeigler 1967-69 146 6. Sidney Rice 2005-06 120 7. Stanley Pritchett 1992-95 116 8. Brandon Bennett 1991-94 111 9. Ryan Brewer 1999-02 107 10. Philip Logan 1974-77 105
Carolina Career Receiving Yards Leaders No. Player Years Yards 1. Sterling Sharpe 1983, 85-87 2,497 2. Zola Davis 1995-98 2,354 3. Robert Brooks 1988-91 2,211 4. Jermale Kelly 1997-00 2,181 5. Philip Logan 1974-77 2,063 6. Sidney Rice 2005-06 1,901 7. Fred Zeigler 1967-69 1,876 8. Troy Williamson 2002-04 1,754 9. Ira Hillary 1981-84 1,566 10. Brian Scott 1999-01 1,506
Carolina Career Receiving Touchdown Leaders No. Player Years TDs 1. Sidney Rice 2005-06 20 2. Robert Brooks 1988-91 19 Jermale Kelly 1997-00 19 4. Sterling Sharpe 1983, 1985-87 17 Zola Davis 1995-98 17
TWO-YEAR WONDERS: Sidney Rice is in great company when comparing his two-year numbers to other receivers in Southeastern Conference history. Only Florida’s Jabar Gaffney and Vanderbilt’s Earl Bennett have numbers that can compare with Rice’s. Here’s a look at the three standout receivers through their sophomore seasons: Player, School Year Rec. Yards TD Jabar Gaffney, UF 2000-01 138 2375 27 Earl Bennett, Vandy 2005-06 157 2006 14 Sidney Rice, USC 2005-06 120 1901 20
TARGETING MCKINLEY: Sophomore wide receiver Kenny McKinley has developed into a solid receiver opposite Sidney Rice. McKinley’s best game was an eight-catch, 110-yard effort against Auburn. For the season, he has caught 38 passes for 616 yards and three scores, a 16.2 yard per catch average. He needs just 73 yards to tie Reed Bethea’s 1987 total of 689, which ranks 10th in school history for a single season.
BOYD CARRIES THE LOAD: Junior tailback Cory Boyd established career highs in carries (25) and yards rushing (113) in the win at Kentucky, then came back with a 22-carry, 113-yard performance at Vanderbilt, the first two 100-yard rushing day of his career. He became the first USCback to rush for 100+ yards in consecutive games against SEC opponents since Derek Watson rushed for 100+ in three straight games in 2000. Boyd has become the 36th player in USC history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a career.
BOYD AMONG MEN: In addition to rushing for over 1,000 yards in his career (now with 1,088 yards), Cory Boyd has caught 74 passes for 773 yards. He became just the fourth player in school history to log 1,000 yards rushing and 70 receptions. The others? Stanley Pritchett (1,178 yards rushing, 116 receptions), Brandon Bennett (3,055 yards rushing, 111 receptions) and Harold Green (3,005 yards rushing, 94 receptions).
HELP FROM DAVIS: Mike Davis did most of the work on the ground against Florida last week, carrying 16 times for a season-high 94 yards, including a season-long 19 yard burst. It was the second time he’s gone for over 90 yards rushing in a game this season, carrying for 92 against Florida Atlantic. In two career games against the Gators, Davis has rushed 38 times for 182 yards and four touchdowns. Four of his nine career rushing TDs have come against Florida. Davis has rushed for 999 yards in his career. He will become the 37th player in school history to go over the 1,000 yard mark in his career with one more rushing yard.
THREE REACH THE CENTURY MARK: Cory Boyd became the third player on the Gamecocks’ roster to rush for 100 yards in a game when he eclipsed the mark with his 113-yard effort against Kentucky. He doubled his total with another 113-yard performance at Vanderbilt. Sophomore Mike Davis went over the 100-yard plateau twice last season (125 yards versus Missouri and 111 against Clemson). His high this season is 94 against Florida. Redshirt freshman Taylor Rank rushed for 101 yards against FAU earlier this season. Syvelle Newton’s top rushing game is 94 yards against Ole Miss in 2004.
SETTLING IN: The Gamecocks have started the same five offensive linemen – Jamon Meredith, Thomas Coleman, Chris White, Seth Edwards and Justin Sorensen – for three straight games. That marks the first time in the 22 games of the Steve Spurrier era at South Carolina that the Gamecocks have started the same offensive line quintet for three consecutive games.
PUNT IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD: And one that Steve Spurrier has not uttered much this season. The Gamecocks have punted just 27 times in 10 games, the fewest number in the SEC. Six of those 25 punts came in the season opener at Mississippi State. Only Hawaii (15), West Virginia (22 in 9 games) and Oregon (26) have punted fewer times than South Carolina in Division I football. IF THEY DON’T SCORE, THEY CAN’T WIN: The Gamecocks rank fifth in the SEC and 23rd in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 17.2 points per game. Of the 22 teams in the country that have allowed fewer points per game, only Miami (Fla.) has lost as many games (5) as the Gamecocks. The 22 teams that rank ahead of USC in scoring defense have combined for just 38 losses, or an average of just 1.7 losses per team.
BREAKING DOWN BENNETT: All-America cornerback candidate Fred Bennett serves as the leader on the defense. With 31 starts under his belt, Bennett has made more starts than the next two defensive players (Chris Hampton-14 and Stanley Doughty-12) have combined. Of the four returning defensive starters from the 2005 campaign, Bennett is the lone regular starter this year. Mike West has moved to receiver, Doughty and Jordin Lindsey have been part-time starters.
BENNETT BREAK-UPS: Fred Bennett is tied for second in the SEC in passes defended with 11, including a pair of interceptions. The senior from Manning, S.C. who picked off three passes a year ago has nine career interceptions. The school record is 14 career interceptions, held by Bo Davies (1969-71). Bennett is looking to follow in the footsteps of other recent standout USC defensive backs, including Dunta Robinson, Sheldon Brown, Ko Simpson and Johnathan Joseph, who took their skills to the NFL.
TWIN KILLINGS: The Brinkley brothers, linebacker Jasper and defensive end Casper, have made their presence felt. Jasper is the team leader with 77 tackles, including 64 solo stops following his career-best effort of 13 tackles (11 solos) versus Florida. Casper (the SEC defensive lineman of the week against Vanderbilt) is fifth on the squad with 34 tackles, including 18 solos. They have combined for 111 tackles, including 19 tackles for loss (a team-leading 9.5 each). Jasper ranks eighth in the SEC with an average of 7.7 tackles/game. Both are junior college transfers from Georgia Military. Jasper got to USC in January, while Casper was a summer arrival.
FRESHMAN RUSH: True freshman Eric Norwood is quickly making a name for himself as a pass rusher. He leads the team and is 10th in the SEC with 5.0 sacks and is third on the squad with 7.0 tackles for loss. He has the most sacks for Carolina since George Gause had 5.0 in 2004. SUCCOP SUCCESS: Sophomore punter Ryan Succop has proven to be a worthy weapon in the special teams arena. He is averaging 43.8 yards per punt on 26 kicks. Last season, Josh Brown averaged 40.0 yards per punt on 58 attempts. Succop owns a long punt of 58 yards.
HERE’S THE KICKER: Ryan Succop also handles the placekicking chores for the Gamecocks. A Lou Groza Award semifinalist, Succop has hit on 13-of-16 field goal attempts, including a career-long 55-yarder against Vanderbilt. His only miss came from 51 yards out when he bounced it off the left upright against Georgia, while his other two failed attempts were blocked. Seven of his 13 field goals have come from beyond 40 yards and only one has been under 34 yards. He also hit a 50-yarder against Tennessee, becoming just the fourth player in school history to hit more than one 50-yarder in a career, joining Scott Hagler (3), Mark Fleetwood (2) and Collin Mackie (2). He was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week following his effort in the season-opening win at Mississippi State.
FROM A DISTANCE: Of the 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, which recognizes the nation’s top placekicker, South Carolina’s Ryan Succop is leading the country in average distance per made field goal. Succop is averaging 41.1 yards on his 13 made field goals, just ahead of Colorado’s Mason Crosby (40.6). They are the only two kickers in the country averaging over 40 yards on made field goals.
NO AARP CARDS NEEDED HERE: The Gamecocks have just six seniors on the squad that came into the program as scholarship players. Only two – center Chris White and tight end Andy Boyd – are in their fifth-year in the program. The four-year players are quarterback Syvelle Newton, wide receiver Noah Whiteside and cornerback Fred Bennett, while safety Brandon Isaac came to USC via the junior college route. Of those six, Boyd has been sidelined much of the year with a shoulder injury, Whiteside has seen very limited duty and Isaac is redshirting while recovering from shoulder surgery. Only Kentucky and Florida State have as few of seniors that entered their programs on scholarship.
PLAYING OT: The Gamecocks have played just one overtime game in its history, falling to Tennessee by a 23-20 margin in Knoxville on Sept. 27, 2003. Every other SEC team has played at least three overtime games since the rule was established in 1996.
WE’LL TAKE THE BALL: In a rare occurrence, the Gamecocks won the coin toss at Vanderbilt and elected to defer to the second half. It was only the second time since Head Coach Steve Spurrier took over at South Carolina that the Gamecocks have opened the game on defense. The only other occurrence came against Alabama in 2005. In the 20 times that USC has received the opening kick over the past two years, the Gamecocks have scored three times – putting seven points on the board via touchdown passes versus Central Florida and against Missouri in 2005 and against FAU in 2006.
GOING THE DISTANCE: Carolina had two scoring drives of more than 90 yards against Arkansas, going 92 and then 99 against the Razorbacks to paydirt. They have had five touchdown scoring drives of 90+ yards this season, covering 90 yards against FAU, 93 against Auburn and 95 against Tennessee.
BICENTENNIAL MAN: Steve Spurrier recorded his 200th career win as a head coach at Kentucky on Oct. 7. He owns a 201-89-2 mark in all games, including stints in college – Duke (20-13-1), Florida (122-27-1) and South Carolina (12-10); the USFL – Tampa Bay (35-19); and the NFL – Washington (12-20). He owns a 154-50-2 mark through the first 206 collegiate contests, a .752 winning clip. He ranks ninth among active coaches in wins and in winning percentage.
EARNING THEIR KEEP: Prior to the start of the season, Head Coach Steve Spurrier placed five former walk-ons on scholarship. They include quarterback Brett Nichols, short snapper Scott Morgan, offensive guard Thomas Coleman, offensive guard Seth Edwards and linebacker Greg Wright. Over the past two seasons, Coach Spurrier has rewarded nine walk-on players with scholarships.
GAME CAPTAINS: Carolina selects game captains for each contest. Here are those game captains: Mississippi State: Chris White (center), Thomas Coleman (guard) and Fred Bennett (cornerback). Georgia: Cory Boyd (tailback), Jasper Brinkley (linebacker) and Scott Morgan (special teams). Wofford: Syvelle Newton (quarterback), Ryan Brown (linebacker) and Ryan Succop (special teams). Florida Atlantic: Sidney Rice (wide receiver), Casper Brinkley (defensive end) and Yvan Banag (special teams). Auburn: Sidney Rice (wide receiver), Fred Bennett (cornerback) and Jasper Brinkley (linebacker). Kentucky: Syvelle Newton (quarterback), Ryan Succop (special teams) and Jordin Lindsey (defensive end). Vanderbilt: Fred Bennett (cornerback), Ike Crofoot (special teams) and Chris White (center). Tennessee: Lanard Stafford (fullback), Casper Brinkley (defensive end) and Ryan Succop (special teams). Arkansas: Kenny McKinley (wide receiver), Fred Bennett (cornerback) and Cody Wells (special teams). Florida: Chris White (center), Jordin Lindsey (defensive end) and Ike Crofoot (special teams).
A LITTLE HISTORY: This is the 113th season of college football at the USC, dating back to 1892. The university did not field a team in either 1893 or 1906. This is the 100th consecutive year in which USC has competed on the gridiron. Carolina owns an all-time record of 512-517-44. The school’s only league title came in 1969 when it went 6-0 to win the ACC crown.
NEW DECADE, DIFFERENT RESULTS: The Gamecocks have posted a 45-36 record since the calendar turned to 2000. The 45 wins from 2000-2006 is four more than the 41 victories posted in the entire decade of the `90s. Carolina’s most victories in any decade is 63, set from 1980-89.
WHERE ARE THEY?: Only wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier, Jr. and defensive backs coach Ron Cooper are in the press box during the games. The other Gamecock full-time assistant coaches are on the field.
BETTER OF LATE: After the 1998 and `99 seasons saw South Carolina win just once in 22 tries, the Gamecocks have turned the corner. Since the start of the 2000 season, USC has logged an overall record of 45-36. The 40 wins from 2000-2005 was just one win shy of the best six-year stretch in school history. The Gamecocks won 41 times from 1979-1984.
UP NEXT: The Gamecocks wrap up their regular season with the annual in-state showdown at Clemson on Saturday, Nov. 25. The Tigers lead the all-time series, 63-36-4, including a 15-7-1 advantage when the game has been played in Death Valley. Clemson has won four straight and eight of the last nine in the series that dates back to 1896.
LOOKING AHEAD LONG TERM: South Carolina has released its 2007 schedule. The schedule includes seven home games and five road dates. All dates are subject to change: Sept. 1 Louisiana-Lafayette Columbia, S.C. Sept. 8 Georgia Athens, Ga. Sept. 15 South Carolina State Columbia, S.C. Sept. 22 LSU Baton Rouge, La. Sept. 29 Mississippi State Columbia, S.C. Oct. 6 Kentucky Columbia, S.C. Oct. 13 North Carolina Chapel Hill, N.C. Oct. 20 Vanderbilt Columbia, S.C. Oct. 27 Tennessee Knoxville, Tenn. Nov. 3 Arkansas Fayetteville, Ark. Nov. 10 Florida Columbia, S.C. Nov. 24 Clemson Columbia, S.C.
BIG CHECK: Head Coach Steve Spurrier announced just prior to the start of the season that he and his wife, Jerri, would pledge $250,000 over the next five years to help the Carolina athletic department’s capital campaign. The Athletics Department is working on a master plan of facilities expected to be unveiled later this month. The silent phase of a capital campaign is underway. The proceeds from the campaign will help underwrite new and improved facilities for the entire department.