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Nov. 6, 2009

Scene Setter
Andy & Jill’s Walkthrough

South Carolina (6-3, 3-3 SEC) will make its final road trip of the 2009 regular season as it heads to the western edge of the SEC to face the Arkansas Razorbacks (4-4, 1-4 SEC). South Carolina fell on the road at Tennessee last Saturday, 31-13, while Arkansas rolled up big numbers against Eastern Michigan in a 63-27 win. The game will be broadcast regionally by the SEC Network with Dave Neal, Andre Ware and Cara Capuano calling the action. It can be seen locally on WIS-TV in Columbia. It will be only the second daytime game for Carolina this year; the other was a 28-26 win over Kentucky on Oct. 10.


• Head coach Steve Spurrier is 5-2 all-time against Arkansas, 2-2 as head coach at South Carolina.

• This week’s matchup features the top two quarterbacks in total offense and passing yardage in the SEC. Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett and Carolina’s Stephen Garcia rank first and second, respectively, in both categories.

• A win today would give Coach Spurrier his 106th conference win as an SEC head coach, tying him with Johnny Vaught (106) for second all-time, trailing only Bear Bryant (159).

• Senior linebacker and All-America candidate Eric Norwood now has his own home on the web. Visit for the latest on the Gamecock captain.

A South Carolina win over Arkansas would…

* Guarantee a winning season for the second straight year and the fourth time in the five-year Spurrier era.

* Give coach Steve Spurrier his 106th career conference win as an SEC head coach, tying him with Johnny Vaught for second all-time. Only Bear Bryant (159) has more.

* Guarantee at least a .500 conference record for the second straight year with their fourth SEC victory. The Gamecocks have finished .500 or better in SEC play only six times since joining the league in 1992.

* Give the Gamecocks 28 wins over the last four years, tying the school record for wins in a four-year period. The Gamecocks also won 28 from 1987-90 (8, 8, 6, 6) and from 2005-08 (7, 8, 6, 7).


This is the 18th meeting all-time between South Carolina and Arkansas. The Razorbacks lead the series, 10-7, but the teams have split the last four games evenly. The teams have met every year since 1992 when both joined the Southeastern Conference. Carolina won last year in Columbia, posting a 34-21 victory on Nov. 8. Arkansas won the previous meeting in Fayetteville, 48-36.


South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier owns a 5-2 career record against Arkansas, winning two of three in Fayetteville (wins by scores of 42-7 in 1996 and 14-10 in 2005 before a 48-36 loss in 2007), one of two in Columbia (34-21 win in 2008 after a 26-20 loss in 2006) once in Gainesville (56-7 in 1997) and once in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta (34-3 in 1995). WINNING THE CLOSE ONES South Carolina has amassed a 4-1 mark in contests decided by a touchdown or less this season. The Gamecocks have wins over NC State (7-3), Ole Miss (16-10), Kentucky (28-26) and Vanderbilt (14-10) by six points or less. The only single-digit defeat came in a 41-37 loss at Georgia. Last season, Carolina did not have any of its 13 games decided by less than seven points, although five were by exactly seven points (2-3).


The Gamecocks jumped out to an early 10-0 advantage less than four minutes into the contest and never looked back in a 34-21 SEC win over Arkansas on Nov. 8, 2008, in Columbia. Rotating Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia at quarterback on nearly every play, the offense churned up 351 total yards, including 219 through the air. Kenny McKinley was the primary beneficiary, catching seven passes for a season-high 130 yards and a touchdown, becoming the school’s all-time leader in career receiving yardage along the way. The defense was solid, holding Arkansas to 309 total yards, including just 54 on the ground. The turning point of the game came with Carolina on top, 20-14 in the third quarter but with momentum on the Razorback side, defensive end Jordin Lindsey intercepted a pass and rumbled 40 yards, setting up a touchdown two plays later and extending the lead back to 13. Eric Norwood led the defense with nine solo tackles including a career-best 3.0 sacks. Ryan Succop boomed a 54-yard field goal, the second-longest of his career and tying for the third longest in school history.


The Gamecocks had no answer for the running back tandem of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones in a 48-36 Razorback win in Fayetteville on Nov. 3, 2007. McFadden rushed for an SEC-record-tying 321 yards on 34 carries, while Jones added 165 yards and three touchdowns on 13 rushes. The Gamecocks dug themselves an early deficit but fought back in the second half to make things interesting. Blake Mitchell, making his first start in several weeks, completed 27-of-51 passes for 364 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, as the Gamecocks put up a season-best 26 second-half points.


Tennessee took advantage of three first-half South Carolina turnovers, converting them into 21 points and played tough defense the rest of the way to defeat the Gamecocks, 31-13, last Saturday night in Knoxville. The Vols, dressed in black jerseys for Halloween night, got two touchdown passes from Jonathan Crompton and another two touchdown runs from Montario Hardesty. Stephen Garcia had his third 300-yard passing game of the season, going 25-for-50 for exactly 300 yards and one touchdown. Moe Brown had four catches for 54 yards and a diving touchdown grab in the third quarter in becoming the 22nd all-time Gamecock to pass 1,000 receiving yards for his career. The Gamecocks outgained Tennessee 365-341 and had four more first downs, but could not overcome the early turnovers.

MR. 300

•Of the eight 300-yard passing performances by Southeastern Conference quarterbacks this season, Gamecock sophomore Stephen Garcia has had three of them (Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett has had two). Below is a list of 300-yard passing games this season: 1. Stephen Garcia, SC – 3 2. Ryan Mallett, ARK – 2 3. Joe Cox, UGA – 1 Jonathan Crompton, UT – 1 Jevan Snead, MISS – 1

• There have been a total of 37 all-time games in which a Gamecock signal-caller has passed for 300 yards or more; Garcia is responsible for three of those. Here is the list: 1. Todd Ellis – 9 2. Steve Taneyhill – 8 3. Blake Mitchell – 5 4. Tommy Suggs – 3 Stephen Garcia – 3 6. Steve Fuller – 2 Anthony Wright – 2 8. Chris Smelley – 1 Syvelle Newton – 1 Bill Troup – 1 Dondrial Pinkins – 1 Phil Petty – 1

• Garcia is only the third different quarterback in Carolina history to have three 300-yard games in one season, joining Steve Taneyhill (6 in 1995) and Todd Ellis (5 in 1987 and 3 in 1988).


The Gamecocks have had three 100-yard rushing games this season, all by freshmen – Kenny Miles against Kentucky (100) and Vanderbilt (102) and Jarvis Giles versus Florida Atlantic (113). Last season, Mike Davis logged the only 100-yard rushing game, going for 101 against NC State in the season opener. The Gamecocks also have had four 100-yard receiving games this season – Tori Gurley against FAU (100), Moe Brown versus South Carolina State (100), and Alshon Jeffery against both Kentucky (138) and Vanderbilt (161).


When Stephen Garcia threw for 312 yards, Kenny Miles rushed for 102 yards and Alshon Jeffery logged 161 receiving yards against Vanderbilt on Oct. 24, they became the first Gamecock trio to go 300-100-100 in a game since September 28, 1996 when three future NFL players – Anthony Wright (351 yards passing), Duce Staley (100 yards rushing) and Marcus Robinson (189 yards receiving) accomplished the feat in a 14-10 loss to Mississippi State at Williams-Brice Stadium.


Not only is South Carolina having success on the playing field, the Carolina student-athletes have gotten it done in the classroom as well. South Carolina has led the SEC in student-athletes on the academic honor roll for five consecutive semesters. They placed 24 football players on the 2008 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll. In the spring of 2009, Steve Spurrier’s Gamecock squad posted its highest team GPA on record. Eric Norwood was honored at the spring game as the Harris Pastides Scholar-Athlete Award winner for football, while Kenny Miles, Addison Williams and Scott Spurrier were honored as recipients of the Harold White GPA Award. As part of its commitment towards academic success, the Gamecocks will move into the Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center in the spring of 2010. “The Dodie,” named for Dolores F. Anderson of Greer, S.C., is a three-story, 40,000-square foot center located in the Roost footprint.


Senior linebacker Eric Norwood was named to the first-team Midseason All-America teams by Phil Steele, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News. In addition, he was named to Steele’s 2009 Midseason All-SEC first team. Defensive end Cliff Matthews and punter Spencer Lanning earned spots on the All-SEC second team, while safety Chris Culliver was a third-team All-SEC selection.


Despite losing four turnovers at Tennessee, the Gamecocks rank eighth in the SEC and 59th in the country in turnover margin at zero (13 takeaways – eight fumbles and five interceptions – and 13 turnovers – eight fumbles and five interceptions). While that might not seem very impressive, through nine games last season, the Gamecocks were last in the league and 99th in the country with a turnover margin of minus-7. Through nine games in 2008, the Gamecocks had four more takeaway with 17 but had committed 24 turnovers, 11 more than this season to date.


With the win over Vanderbilt, the Gamecocks guaranteed themselves at least a .500 regular-season record for the sixth straight year. Prior to this season, the Gamecocks went 6-5 in 2004, 7-5 in 2005, 8-5 in 2006, 6-6 in 2007 and 7-6 in 2008. It’s the first time they have accomplished that since 1928-34.


•The Gamecocks have posted seven straight wins at Williams-Brice Stadium, defeating Tennessee and Arkansas last season and topping Florida Atlantic, Ole Miss, South Carolina State, Kentucky and Vanderbilt to start the 2009 campaign. The last time the Gamecocks won at least seven straight games at home was from the 1986-88 seasons when they posted 13 straight home wins. That streak, oddly enough, started following a loss to Florida State, then was snapped with another loss to the Seminoles.

•For the first time ever, South Carolina has defeated five straight SEC opponents at home. The streak started with a win over Tennessee on Nov. 1, 2008, followed by a win over Arkansas the next week. The streak continued in 2009 with wins over Ole Miss, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. A win over Florida on Nov. 14 would make the Gamecocks undefeated in SEC play at home during a season for the first time ever.


Head coach Steve Spurrier and his staff must be coming up with some key halftime adjustments or inspirational speeches, as the Gamecocks have come out like gangbusters in the third quarter this season. Carolina has outscored its opponents by a 74-23 margin in the third stanza, easily their highest scoring quarter and their fewest points allowed quarter. The Gamecocks have outscored their opponents by 26 points this season, but have a 51-point edge in the third quarter.


South Carolina has just nine players on its roster who are seniors. Of those, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Nathan Pepper and Gerrod Sinclair are fifth-year seniors, while Garrett Anderson, Moe Brown, Eric Norwood and Darian Stewart are in their fourth year. Former walk-ons John Guerry and Scott Spurrier earned scholarships during fall practice. With only nine seniors, the Gamecocks are tied with Duke for the second-fewest seniors in the country. Boise State has the fewest with four.


The Gamecocks have had 17 players make their initial collegiate starts this season.

• NC State: CB Akeem Auguste, CB Stephon Gilmore, SPUR Alonzo Winfield, OG T.J. Johnson, OT Quintin Richardson, WR Tori Gurley, DE Devin Taylor.

• Georgia: LB Shaq Wilson

• FAU: LB Tony Straughter, DB Antonio Allen

• S.C. State: CB C.C. Whitlock, OL Kyle Nunn and RB Kenny Miles

• Kentucky: TE Justice Cunningham, LB Josh Dickerson

• Vanderbilt: WR Stephen Flint

• Tennessee: SS DeVonte Holloman


The Gamecocks have received solid performances from several freshmen this season. Defensive end Devin Taylor, a redshirt freshman from Beaufort, started the first five games and was the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his efforts in the opener at NC State. True freshman tailback Jarvis Giles from Tampa became the first Gamecock frosh to rush for over 100 yards since 2006 when he went for 113 against FAU, earning SEC Freshman of the Week accolades. Three weeks later, redshirt freshman Kenny Miles hit the century mark with exactly 100 yards against Kentucky; he pulled off the feat again with 102 against Vanderbilt. He leads the team in rushing with 454 yards on the year. True freshman and Rock Hill, S.C., native Stephon Gilmore has started all nine games at cornerback and has intercepted a pass, forced a fumble and recovered another fumble. He also has two sacks among his 31 tackles, and is averaging 14.8 yards per punt return. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Tori Gurley is the Gamecocks’ third-leading receiver. He has caught 25 passes for 368 yards in nine games, including a four-catch, 100-yard performance against FAU. Redshirt freshman T.J. Johnson from Aynor, S.C. has started all nine games at right offensive guard. And true freshman Alshon Jeffery had a big coming-out party against Kentucky with a seven-catch, 138-yard performance that saw him score three touchdowns, earn SEC Freshman of the Week honors. He then bested that feat with an eight-catch, 161-yard performance and the game-winning TD in the win over Vanderbilt. Carolina lists 17 freshmen on its two-deep.


Here is a rundown of the various awards and honors earned by the Gamecocks during the 2009 season:

• Devin Taylor – SEC Defensive Player of the Week (Week 1 vs. NC State).

• Jarvis Giles – SEC Freshman of the Week (Week 3 vs. Florida Atlantic).

• Eric Norwood – SEC Defensive Player of the Week (Week 4 vs. Ole Miss).

• Alshon Jeffery – SEC Freshman of the Week (Week 6 vs. Kentucky).

• Eric Norwood – Rotary Lombardi Semifinalist (10/14).

• Eric Norwood – Phil Steele’s Midseason All-America first team (10/15).

• Eric Norwood, Cliff Matthews, Spencer Lanning, Chris Culliver – Phil Steele’s Midseason All-SEC Team (10/15).

• Eric Norwood – Sporting News Midseason All-America first team (10/21).

• Eric Norwood – Lott Trophy quarterfinalist (10/21).

• Eric Norwood – Sports Illustrated Midseason All-America first team (10/22).

• Spencer Lanning – Ray Guy Watch List (10/30).

• Eric Norwood – Bednarik Award semifinalist (11/4).


Head coach Steve Spurrier is 34-25 in his five seasons in Columbia. His 34 wins puts him sixth on the school’s all-time list, one ahead of Lou Holtz. He tied the school record for wins (7) in his first season at the helm; tied for the most wins (15) in his first two seasons of any Carolina head coach; recorded the most wins (21) by a Carolina head coach in his first three seasons; and surpassed Warren Giese (25 wins from 1956-59) for the most wins by a coach in his first four seasons on the Carolina sidelines. He has logged a .500 or better record in four straight seasons, the first coach to do that at Carolina since the final four years of the Jim Carlen Era (1978-81). Coach Spurrier is the first coach in Carolina history to take his team to three bowl games in his first four seasons on the sidelines. He also has matched Jim Carlen and Joe Morrison for the most bowl appearances (3) as a Carolina head coach.


The Gamecocks officially returned 12 starters from the 2008 squad (five on offense, six on defense and one specialist). The returning offensive starters are OC Garrett Anderson, WR Jason Barnes, OG Terrence Campbell, FB Patrick DiMarco and OT Jarriel King. The returning defensive starters include DT Ladi Ajiboye, FS Chris Culliver, DE Cliff Matthews, LB Eric Norwood, DT Nathan Pepper and S Darian Stewart. Junior Spencer Lanning is the returning punter and will handle placekicking duties this fall as well.


Steve Spurrier made numerous changes to his coaching staff in the off-season, promoting Ellis Johnson to assistant head coach-defense and bringing in Jay Graham (running backs/asst. special teams), Jeep Hunter (tight ends/asst. special teams), G.A. Mangus (quarterbacks), Lorenzo Ward (defensive coordinator), Eric Wolford (offensive line/running game coordinator) and Craig Fitzgerald (strength and conditioning).


Deep snapper Matthew Grooms joined the Gamecocks after serving as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years as a mechanic, included a six-month stint in Iraq. Grooms, 26, is the oldest player on the squad Walk-on freshman linebacker Matthew Ansley, a member of the Army Reserves, spent 18 months in Iraq, working as a gunner for convoy security and route clearance.


South Carolina celebrates three major anniversaries during the 2009 season. This year marks the 75th year of competition in what is now Williams-Brice Stadium. The 80,250-seat structure on George Rogers Drive held its first game on Oct. 6, 1934, as South Carolina defeated VMI, 22-6. It’s also the 40th anniversary of South Carolina’s only conference championship as the 1969 Gamecocks won the Atlantic Coast Conference title under head coach Paul Dietzel by going 5-0 in league play. This year is also the 25th anniversary of the 1984 “Black Magic” team that posted the winningest season in school history, going 10-2 under head coach Joe Morrison and rising as high as No. 2 in the polls.


Season captains were elected for the first time in the Spurrier era. Senior LB Eric Norwood and junior DE Cliff Matthews were the two defensive selections, with senior WR Moe Brown and junior FB Patrick DiMarco were picked from the offensive side of the ball.


• Junior DT Travian Robertson tore his ACL in the win over Ole Miss and will miss the rest of the season.

• Junior linebacker Rodney Paulk suffered a season-ending ACL tear in his right knee in the season-opening win at NC State. It’s the second straight year that a knee injury has sidelined him early in the season.

• Junior defensive end Cliff Matthews suffered a sprained shoulder in the loss at Tennessee and will be out at least for the Arkansas contest.


With the win over Ole Miss, South Carolina made the 2000s the winningest decade in school history with their 64th win since 2000; that total now stands at 67. They surpassed the mark held by the 1980s Gamecocks that rolled up 63 victories, including 10 by the 1984 “Black Magic” team.