Dec. 29, 2006
2006 Liberty Bowl
South Carolina 44, Houston 36
:: South Carolina’s game captains for the Liberty Bowl were RB Cory Boyd, LB Jasper Brinkley, DE Jordin Lindsey and LS Ike Crofoot. The Gamecocks won the toss and deferred to the second half.
:: South Carolina has now played in 13 bowl games in its history. With today’s victory, the Gamecocks are 4-9 in bowl appearances.
:: WR Sidney Rice eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the season in the first half of Friday’s Liberty Bowl game. Rice set a school record with 1,143 receiving yards last season and now owns two of the three 1,000-yard receiving seasons in school history. Sterling Sharpe (1,106 receiving yards in 1986) has the other.
:: Sidney Rice went over the 100-yard receiving mark when he brought in an 18-yard pass from Blake Mitchell in the third quarter. Rice has gone over 100 yards five times this season. He has gone over 100 yards receiving 11 times in his career, breaking the tie he had with Sterling Sharpe (1983, 1985-87) for the school record.
:: RB Mike Davis’ 25-yard run in the first quarter was his longest of the season. His career-long run was a 37-yarder against Arkansas last season.
:: LB Jasper Brinkley hit the 100-tackle mark for the season when he recorded his fourth tackle of the game by delivering a punishing blow on Anthony Alridge on the sideline midway through the second quarter.
:: RB Cory Boyd capped a nine-play, 51-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run with 2:09 remaining in the first quarter. The touchdown run was his seventh of the season. He also has a pair of receiving touchdowns on the year.
:: RB Cory Boyd found the endzone again when he punched in a nine-yard TD run with 42 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
:: DE Jordin Lindsey picked off a Kevin Kolb pass with 13:11 remaining in the second quarter. The pick was the second of Lindsey’s career. His first career interception came against Missouri in last year’s Independence Bowl. Kolb had 27 touchdown passes and only three interceptions this year entering the game.
:: DE Jordin Lindsey struck again when he recovered a Anthony Alridge fumble on the Houston 19-yard line with 3:01 remaining in the second quarter. DT Lemuel Jeanpierre forced the fumble, the first forced fumble of his career. Lindsey’s recovery was the second of his career, with the first
:: On the ensuing play after Lindsey’s recovery, QB Blake Mitchell hooked up with WR Sidney Rice for a 19-yard touchdown pass. The Mitchell-to-Rice TD connection was Mitchell’s second touchdown pass of the game, tying his own South Carolina bowl game record set in last year’s Independence Bowl. The reception extended Rice’s school record for career touchdown receptions to 23.
:: When Blake Mitchell found WR Kenny McKinley for a 43-yard touchdown pass with 12:15 remaining in the fourth quarter, it marked Mitchell’s third touchdown pass of the game, enabling Mitchell to take sole possession of South Carolina’s single-game touchdown passes record for a bowl game. Mitchell finished with four touchdown passes tonight, tying a Liberty Bowl record.
:: Including his performance in the Liberty Bowl, Blake Mitchell passed for 268 yards or more in each of his last four games this year.
:: When QB Blake Mitchell found TE Robert Pavlovic in the back of the endzone for a one-yard touchdown catch with 10:47 remaining in the second quarter, it marked the first touchdown pass of Pavlovic’s career. In fact, Pavlovic had only made three catches all season entering Friday’s Liberty Bowl game.
:: FS Syvelle Newton made a seven-yard reception with about four minutes remaining in the second quarter, marking his first reception since catching a 22-yard touchdown reception against Kentucky on a wide receiver throwback pass from Kenny McKinley.
:: K Ryan Succop knocked in a 45-yard field goal with 9:55 remaining in the third quarter, his longest since booting a 47-yarder at Florida.
:: WR Kenny McKinley set career-highs with two touchdown catches and 112 yards receiving.
:: The Gamecocks rushed the ball 13 times for 85 yards in the first quarter, with Houston mustering 14 rushing yards on seven first-quarter rushes. Houston, meanwhile, racked up 79 first-quarter passing yards to Carolina’s 16.
:: When Kevin Kolb connected with Vincent Marshall for a 77-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds left in the first half, it marked the longest reception against the Gamecock defense this year. The previous long was a 76-yard Will Proctor-to-Jacoby Ford strike in the regular-season finale against Clemson.
:: The 28 points scored by Houston in the first half marked the most allowed by the Gamecocks in any half this season and were the most allowed by Carolina since Auburn scored 31 points against the Gamecocks in the first half of last year’s meeting between the two teams.
:: When Houston QB Kevin Kolb connected with Vincent Marshall for a 32-yard touchdown pass on the game’s opening drive, it marked the third consecutive game in which the opposition has scored before the Gamecocks.
:: After the two teams combined for 55 points in the first half, Carolina won the third quarter by a 3-0 margin.
:: Including today’s win, South Carolina has won four of its last five bowl trips. The Gamecocks knocked off West Virginia in the 1995 Carquest Bowl and beat Ohio State in both the 2001 and 2002 Outback Bowls before losing to Missouri in the 2005 Independence Bowl.
:: South Carolina achieved a new bowl record for points scored, bettering the 31 points it scored in the 2002 Outback Bowl and the 2005 Independence Bowl.
:: QB Blake Mitchell was selected the Liberty Bowl Most Valuable Player, while WR Sidney Rice picked up team Offensive MVP honors and DE Jordin Lindsey earned the squad’s Defensive MVP Award.
:: A total of 12 South Carolina seniors saw their Gamecock careers come to an end Saturday, as DB Fred Bennett, OL Thomas Coleman, LS Ike Crofoot, OL Seth Edwards, WR Jamal Hayes, ROV Jerod June, LS Scott Morgan, FS Syvelle Newton, QB Brett Nichols, DE Keron Rouse, C Chris White and WR Noah Whiteside suited up for the last time as collegiate players.
:: Friday’s game was televised nationally by ESPN, marking the ninth time in 13 games this year that the Gamecocks were on national television.
:: South Carolina finished with a 5-0 record against non-conference opponents in 2006, claiming wins over Wofford, Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee, Clemson and Houston.
:: Friday’s game marked the third-ever meeting between South Carolina and Houston, with the Cougars victorious in each of the first two meetings. Houston claimed a 27-19 win over Carolina in 1973 and a 24-14 win over the Gamecocks in 1974.
:: Today’s victory is the first for the Gamecocks in the month of December since 1960, when they defeated Virginia on Dec. 3
:: South Carolina ended the season with three straight wins for the first time since 1973.
:: The Gamecocks posted an 8-5 record for the season, marking Carolina’s high mark since going 9-3 in 2001.