Sept. 25, 2009
It was a wonderful victory for our team, our university and all Gamecocks. Obviously it was a defensive struggle, and our defense was sensational. Our pass defense (held) their guy (Jevan Snead) to 8-of-22 for 109 yards. We struggled on offense, but we did manage 16 points. Tori Gurley had another touchdown called back. He’s had four (called back) now. But anyway, we had a lot of bad things happen, but our guys hung in there and kept fighting. The defense hung in there down the stretch, and we had a good victory. It was good for our team to get a big win at home, especially for our fans. Spencer Lanning had a sensational game. We gave him a game ball because he had a sensational tackle on the punt return. Eric Norwood, Cliff Matthews, all those guys had a good effort.
We did manage 16 points and 285 yards or so before the fourth quarter, and we were able to come away with the victory. We’re happy and we have a long way to go, but we’re excited to get the victory.
The win over Kentucky two years ago was very similar. Who knows how good everybody is (right now). This isn’t the number one or two team from last year. Ole Miss is a good team, but it’s early in the year. Who knows where they’ll end up. You can remember two years ago we were number six and managed to lose our last five. It’s early.
On playing on Thursday nights
Thursday nights, I didn’t know we played all that well, but we have won all our openers somehow. The ones we’ve lost have been pretty close games. It was good to get a win. The whole country watches. Our fans were loud and into the game. It was good for all Gamecocks.
On Eric Norwood
Eric Norwood got the career sack record. He had pressure on the quarterback all night. He was all over the place. That’s how you stop good passing games. We talked about Jevan being a good passer and an NFL quarterback, but when you get good pressure in his face it’s hard to throw.
To hold this team to 10 points is pretty good. One thing our offense did do, we lost one fumble. We only had one turnover. That was helpful.
On Travian Robertson’s injury
I think Travian may have sprained his knee. I’m not sure how bad. We’ll wait and see tomorrow for the final results. That will be a big blow to us. Travian was a great player in there. Nate Pepper was able to play in there, he and Melvin Ingram.
On Kenny Miles and the rest of the backfield
Kenny (Miles) was running very well early. We tried to keep giving it to him, but there was nowhere to go. No matter who was in there the fourth quarter, we couldn’t find a running play. We felt like our defense was playing well and it was 16-3 so we had a decent lead. Still, certainly I hope we can play offense a lot better than we did in the second half. Jarvis is OK. It’s just one of those games he didn’t get a lot of opportunities. Little Sherm didn’t get much of an opportunity either.
We kept trying to make some first downs. We tried to throw. We couldn’t get anybody open. We couldn’t get it off either. Coach Wolford is starting to understand some things I’ve been watching for four or five years now. I don’t know what it is, but our guys make a lot of mistakes.
We thought we could beat them. We thought we had a chance. The point spread wasn’t a big deal. We left some points out there in the first half, but I guess 16 points was enough (tonight).
On special teams
Special teams were solid. We didn’t give up anything after the one punt. They were only 1-for-13 on third downs. That’s pretty good there. We actually converted six, which is average for us, 6-for-16.
On the Carolina defense
Our defense was sensational. This week compared to last week, Florida Atlantic made 21 first downs on us. Ole Miss made 10. (Florida Atlantic) made some yards and Ole Miss didn’t make (many) for what that’s worth. Offensively we didn’t score, but we were out there challenging, staying on the field and making some first downs. We went in a slump from the middle of the third to the rest of the game. We relied on our defense to win the game, simple as that.
How did it feel to score the game’s only touchdown?
It was an awesome feeling, and it kind of set the tempo for the game. We got a lot of big plays, and we really got in a groove and just ran with it. We got slowed down there at the end, but we were able to pull it out and that is all that really counts.
What does it feel like to make history tonight?
It is huge, and it gives us a lot of confidence that we really need. We have had a new slogan since this year started. “New Carolina,” where we are going to finish off games. So tonight we proved that we can play with anyone in the nation. I’m proud of the entire team, and the entire organization for pulling this one out.
Did you sense frustration from Ole Miss tonight?
Yeah, you could see that they were getting really frustrated as the game moved on. They had few holding calls and off-sides that really hurt them. Our defense was just relentless tonight, and we brought our best tonight.
Talk about Darian Stewart’s big hit to win the game at the end.
You know, he always makes plays like that. He really brings it like that every day in practice. All of us on defense like to go out there and hit. So yeah, that was a big play that we knew he was going to make.
Do you think this is a signature win for the program?
This win really means a lot to all of us. They were coming in number four in the nation, and we had an opportunity to take advantage of it and we did tonight.
What do you think about the defense really stepping up there at the end and winning the game?
It was really a challenge. We are all competitive people, and we really brought it tonight. Any time you get the opportunity that we had tonight, we all have to step it up and seize that.
How important was it to contain Jevan Sneed tonight?
It was a very important step for us winning tonight. Everyone knows that he plays a major role on their team. We went out tonight, and we got the job done.
Our defense played their hearts out tonight. Offensively, we didn’t stay on the field enough. I thought we came back there at the end and fought hard. We just did not get the job done. We had some opportunities, and that’s what really hurts. We had some opportunities to finish this one off. I thought we had the momentum at the end, but we just didn’t finish it.
On the play of the Ole Miss defense
Our defense, when you hold them to 16 points, you’re supposed to win that ball game. They played good enough to win. I thought they played extremely well. I was just really disappointed with the offense because we’re better than that. We missed a few blocks. We missed a few holes. We had a chance to score, I thought, on that fake field goal, but they just tripped him up. I saw nothing but grass. I thought that was six. There are just so many plays where we stopped ourselves tonight.
On Eric Norwood
We didn’t block #40 (Eric Norwood). He’s a good player. They’ve got a good defense. That’s a real man coming up that edge. You have to account for him. We knew that, but he still made it awfully tough on us. Eric Norwood’s a real guy. He’s relentless, and you have to really keep four hands on him. And even some times with that, the pocket’s collapsing.
On the offense and getting the ball to Dexter McCluster
When you get behind in the count, when you play third-down ball, it’s hard to play that game. It’s hard to play that third-and-10 ball. We had plans to get the ball to Dexter (McCluster), but we had to many three and outs. Every time we’d think of the next play, it’d be third down again. It got us off track a little bit. We have to work hard. We have to get better.
About South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood
He’s a good defensive player, he made some good plays, and made one or two sacks, we just have to keep getting better.
Snead was hit a little too much. We need to work on that a little.
On the spirits in huddle lifting once started running the ball
We started getting a little more physical. We should have done it a little more during the game.
On what went wrong with so few yards in the first half
We have to keep being more physical. We were a play or two off, but we can fix it though.
On keeping the No. 4 national ranking
I’m glad its gone, so we can get back to working and win some ball games. You can’t really pay attention to that anyway. I’m glad it’s over with so everyone can just stop talking about it and play ball.