Oct. 9, 2007
No. 11 South Carolina capitalized on Kentucky’s generosity and used the Wildcats’ giveaways to spoil previously undefeated Kentucky’s perfect season, while downing the Cats 38-23 Thursday night in Columbia.
Defensive end Eric Norwood tied an NCAA record by recovering two fumbles and returning them for touchdowns. The stout Gamecock defense, led by Norwood, pressured Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson into several errors. He fumbled after Jonathan Williams’ sack on Kentucky’s first series, and Norwood picked it up for a 2-yard touchdown return that put the Gamecocks ahead 7-0. The mistakes continued after halftime. Woodson’s lateral attempt to fullback John Conner was muffed, and this time Norwood grabbed it and ran 53 yards for his second score and a 24-10 lead.
Norwood’s touchdown returns matched an NCAA record accomplished three times before, the last by Southern Methodist’s Alvin Nnabuife against Nevada in 2004. For his tremendous play, Eric Norwood is awarded the “MCS Nike Game Ball” (www.mcspoll.com) for the National Defensive Player of the Week.
Each week during the 2007 college football season, the 17 Master Football Coaches will award an MCS Nike Game Ball to the respective schools of a National Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Player of the Week. The Master Coaches will also present a game ball to the offensive and defensive coordinator whose game plans made the biggest impact in their respective teams’ victory.
In addition to Norwood, the Master Football Coaches will also award MCS Nike Game Balls to Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall, Virginia Tech returners Eddie Royal and Victor Harris, Missouri Offensive Coordinator Dave Christensen and Stanford Defensive Coordinator Scott Shafer.