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Oct. 7, 2011

The No. 18/14 South Carolina Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1 SEC) look to get back in the winning column when they host the Kentucky Wildcats (2-3, 0-2 SEC) on Saturday, Oct. 8. Game time is set for 12:21 pm on the SEC Network. The game sponsor is Wachovia. The Gamecocks got off to a 4-0 start for the first time under Steve Spurrier and for the first time since the 2001 season, before dropping a 16-13 decision to the defending national champion Auburn Tigers last Saturday night in Columbia. This is the final game of a four-game homestand for South Carolina. Tickets for the contest remain available through the Gamecock Athletics ticket office.

SEC Defensive Player of the year candidate Melvin Ingram has been named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week each of the last two weeks, following performances against Vanderbilt and Auburn. He is a three-time SEC Player of the Week recipient this season, as he was the Special Teams Player of the Week following his effort at Georgia.

For the latest on Gamecock standouts Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery, check out the websites: and

THIS WEEK’S FOE: SEC Eastern Division rival Kentucky (2-3, 0-2 SEC) makes its way to Columbia for a 12:21 p.m. kick on Oct. 8. The Wildcats are coached by Joker Phillips, who is in his second year at the helm. They opened the season with wins over Western Kentucky and Central Michigan, but have dropped their last three in a row, losing to Louisville, Florida and LSU on consecutive weekends. They are off next week before hosting FCS school Jacksonville State.

CAROLINA VS. KENTUCKY: This is the 23rd game in the series that dates back to 1937 between the Gamecocks and Wildcats. Carolina leads the all-time series 14-7-1, including a 6-3-1 mark in Columbia. Kentucky won last year’s meeting in Lexington, 31-28, snapping South Carolina’s 10-game winning streak in the series. The teams played just three times (1937, 1978 and 1981) before Carolina joined the SEC for the 1992 season. Since then, they have met every year. Since joining the league, the Gamecocks own a 13-6 record against UK. The Wildcats have lost their last five trips to Columbia, with their last win at Williams-Brice Stadium coming in the 1999 season.

THE LAST TIME THEY MET: Carolina rolled to a 28-10 halftime advantage, but Marcus Lattimore went down with an ankle injury and so did the Gamecock fortunes in a 31-28 loss in Lexington on Oct. 16, 2010. Lattimore had 212 yards of total offense and three touchdowns before the injury. Mike Hartline rallied the Wildcats with three second-half touchdown tosses, including one to Randall Cobb with just 1:15 left in the contest. Hartline finished the game with a career-high 349 yards passing. Stephen Garcia hit on 20-of-32 passes for a career-high 382 yards in the contest, but could not get the Gamecocks on the board in the second half. It snapped Carolina’s 10-game winning streak in the series and was the first loss Kentucky had put on Steve Spurrier in 18 career meetings.

THE HEAD BALL COACH: Steve Spurrier is in his seventh season directing the Gamecock football program. He has logged a 48-34 mark in Columbia. The Head Ball Coach ranks second on the school’s all-time wins list and is tied for third with Jim Carlen in games coached at South Carolina. He is the first coach to have a career winning record at Carolina since Joe Morrison (39-28-2) patrolled the sidelines from 1983-88. Spurrier owns a 190-74-2 mark as a collegiate head coach, with stops at Duke and Florida before his stint at South Carolina. He is signed through the 2014 season.

SPURRIER VS. KENTUCKY: South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier owns a 17-1 all-time record against Kentucky, including a 5-1 mark as head coach at South Carolina. The 17 wins matches his mark against Vanderbilt (17-2) as his most wins against any school. He also has double-digit wins against Georgia (14-5), Tennessee (12-8), LSU (11-3), Auburn (10-8) and South Carolina (10-1).

GOOD HOME COOKIN’: The Gamecocks have done a good job of protecting their home turf of late. In each of the past two seasons (2009 and `10), Carolina posted a 6-1 home record. The only losses in those years came to top-ranked Florida in 2009 and to 17th-ranked Arkansas in 2010. South Carolina is 2-1 at home this season, losing to defending national champion Auburn, and is 16-3 in its last 19 home games.

ABOUT LAST WEEK: The Carolina offense struggled to get anything going and the Auburn offense stayed on the field long enough to post a 16-13 win at Williams-Brice Stadium last Saturday night. Auburn ran 92 plays, including 67 rushes, and consumed 35:57 of the clock, compared to just 52 plays and 24:13 time of possession for the Gamecocks. Michael Dyer led the way for the Tigers with a school-record 41 carries for 141 yards. The Gamecocks were plagued by poor field position all game, as only five of their 15 drives started outside their own 20-yard line. Marcus Lattimore was limited to 66 yards on 17 totes with one touchdown. Melvin Ingram (11 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT) and Antonio Allen (13 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1 INT) led the Carolina defense. Both teams turned the ball over four times in a contest that lasted just one minute shy of four hours.

DID YOU KNOW: South Carolina has played each of the last five defending National Champions? The Gamecocks played Florida (2007 and `09), LSU (2008), Alabama (2010) and Auburn (2011) in the year following their national title. The Gamecocks went 1-4 in those contests, with their lone win coming against Alabama.

DEFENSE STEPS UP: After surrendering 79 points in the season’s first two games (37 against East Carolina and 42 at Georgia), the Carolina defense has stepped up over the past three weeks. The Gamecocks have allowed 40 points in those three contests (21 to Navy, 3 to Vanderbilt and 16 to Auburn), an average of 13.3 points per game. Their opponents’ scoring average has dipped from 39.5 points per game after two contests to just 23.8 points per game after five tilts.

NOT BY AIR: The Gamecock pass defense has dramatically improved statistically over the start of the season. The Gamecocks currently lead the SEC and rank third in the country in pass defense, allowing just 150.80 yards per game through the air.

TURN IT OVER: The Gamecocks are tied for third in the nation in turnovers gained with 16. Carolina is tied for fifth in the country with eight fumbles recovered and is tied for fourth with eight interceptions.

LEADERS OF THE PACK: The trio of Antonio Allen, Melvin Ingram, and Jadevon Clowney are the ringleaders in forcing the turnovers. Allen has three interceptions (T5th-SEC; T12-NCAA), three fumble recoveries (T1st-SEC; T2nd-NCAA) and three forced fumbles (T2nd-SEC; T9th-NCAA); Ingram has two interceptions and a fumble recovery; Clowney has three forced fumbles (T2nd-SEC; T9th-NCAA).

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS: The Carolina defense and special teams have been responsible for six touchdowns this season. Defensive end Melvin Ingram has scored three times, a 68-yard run on a fake punt and a five-yard fumble return, both at Georgia, and a fumble recovery in the end zone against Vanderbilt; Spur Antonio Allen has scored twice, a 25-yard fumble return against ECU and a 25-yard interception return against Georgia; and Ace Sanders scored on a 68-yard punt return against East Carolina. The Gamecocks scored six defensive touchdowns all last season.

HERE THEY COME: Led by Melvin Ingram’s 3.5 sacks, the Gamecocks recorded five sacks against Auburn and have 11 sacks in the last two contests. Carolina leads the SEC with 13 sacks through five games. They had a school record 41 sacks last season. SACK ATTACK: Melvin Ingram leads the SEC and is tied for fifth in the country with 1.1 sacks per game (5.5 total), while freshman Jadeveon Clowney is second in the SEC with 4.0 sacks. With 17.0 career sacks, Ingram ranks fourth on Carolina’s all-time list behind only Eric Norwood (29.0), Andrew Provence (26.0) and John Abraham (23.5).

AMONG THE BEST: Marcus Lattimore checks in as the nation’s fifth-leading rusher this week with 677 yards in five games, an average of 135.4 yards per game.

GETTING MORE FROM LATTI: Sophomore tailback Marcus Lattimore had the best game of his career when he carried 37 times for 246 yards against Navy earlier this season. The 246-yard performance ranks as the fourth-best in school history. He has carried 37 or more times three times during his career, including a school record 40 totes at Florida last season. He has three 100-yard rushing games this season (also 112 vs. East Carolina and 176 at Georgia) and seven in his 18-game career, with five of the seven going for 175 or more. The great Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers played 26 games before registering his seventh-career 100-yard rushing game. Lattimore has nine rushing touchdowns this season and 26 in his career, tying Jeff Grantz for fifth on the all-time list, just five away from the top spot. With 29 career touchdowns (including three receiving), he ranks third in career touchdowns in school history and is just four away from the record co-held by George Rogers and Harold Green.


* In the year of the running back in the SEC, Marcus Lattimore leads the conference in rushing with an average of 135.4 yards per game.

* Lattimore is second in the SEC and tied for eighth in the nation in points per game, averaging 12.0 per contest on his 10 touchdowns in five games.

* Lattimore has scored 10 of Carolina’s 16 offensive touchdowns this season.

* Lattimore ranks first in the SEC in all-purpose yards (rushing, receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns) at 163.2 yards per game.

* Lattimore has three 100-yard rushing games this season and seven in his career. He ranks ninth on the South Carolina list for 100-yard rushing games in a career.

* Lattimore has garnered 69 percent of the Carolina rushing yards this season and has scored nine of the 13 rushing touchdowns.

* Lattimore is the Gamecocks’ second-leading receiver with 12 catches for 139 yards, including the season’s longest reception of 52 yards.

GARCIA IN THE BOX: Stephen Garcia has started four straight games after his string of 28 consecutive starts was snapped in the opener against East Carolina. Prior to the opener against ECU, the last time the Gamecock starting quarterback was not named Garcia was Nov. 29, 2008 when Chris Smelley got the nod against Clemson. Garcia has completed 51.7 percent of his passes (61-for-118) for 844 yards (168.8 per game) with four touchdowns and nine interceptions this year. He is also the Gamecocks’ second-leading rusher with 171 yards on 34 carries, an average of 5.0 yards per carry, with three rushing TDs.

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: Fifth-year senior Stephen Garcia, a 6-2, 232-pounder from Lutz, Fla., ranks statistically among the top four quarterbacks in South Carolina history (see charts below). He is 20-14 in 34 career starts. Only Todd Ellis (24) and Steve Taneyhill (20) have won as many games as a starting quarterback for Carolina. Garcia is the SEC active leader in total offense, touchdown responsibility, pass completions, passing yards and touchdown passes.

IF NOT GARCIA, THEN SHAW: Sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw could see playing time. Shaw, a 6-1, 204-pounder from Flowery Branch, Ga., saw action in nine games last season, completing 23-of-33 passes for 223 yards. He got the nod as the starter in the season opener against East Carolina and completed 3-of-9 passes for 21 yards and rushed seven times for 26 yards. He also saw limited action in the win over Vanderbilt, completing 1-of-2 passes for eight yards and rushing twice for 14 yards.

BROTHER ACT: When sophomore Connor Shaw made the start in the season opener against East Carolina, it marked a rare occurrence in college football, as Connor’s brother, Jaybo, was the starting quarterback the same day for Georgia Southern. Other recent quarterbacking brother acts in college football include the Mannings (Payton and Eli), Detmers (Ty and Koy), Hasselbecks (Matt and Tim), McCowns (Randy, Josh, and Luke), Huards (Damon, Luke and Brock), Vicks (Michael and Marcus), Glennons (Sean and Mike), Forciers (Jason, Chris and Tate) and Weatherfords (Drew and Joe).

SLOW START, FAST FINISH: The Gamecocks have produced 159 points in the first five games (31.8 points per game), but have scored just twice in the first-quarter – a TD run by Marcus Lattimore against Navy and a long Stephen Garcia to Alshon Jeffery pass against Auburn. The Gamecocks have given up the first score in all five games and have been outscored 26-13 in the first stanza, but have outscored their opponents 52-37 in the second period, 56-21 in the third quarter and 38-35 in the fourth quarter. 94 of their 159 points (59 percent) have come after the break.

TRENDING ALSHON: Biletnikoff candidate Alshon Jeffery has been “held” to somewhat modest numbers in the first five games. He logged five catches for 92 yards against ECU and came back with five catches for 85 yards and a touchdown at Georgia. He was limited to just two catches for 35 and 34 yards in each of the next two games, against Navy and Vanderbilt, respectively, his fewest receptions in a game since South Carolina State held him to two catches in 2009. He came back with five catches for 86 yards against Auburn, including a 50-yard TD reception. The junior wideout leads the team with 19 catches for 332 yards, an average of 17.5 yards per catch. Fourteen of his 19 receptions have resulted in a first down. He has caught at least one pass in 28 straight games. In the win over Vanderbilt, Jeffery has vaulted past Sterling Sharpe (2,497) into second place on the all-time receiving yards list in South Carolina history with 2,612 yards, trailing only Kenny McKinley (2,781). He is tied with Sidney Rice for the most 100-yard receiving games in school history with 11.

BRUCE ALMIGHTY: Redshirt freshman wide receiver Bruce Ellington made an early impact on the gridiron after doing so on the hardwood last winter. Ellington is Carolina’s top kick returner, averaging 22.8 yards (sixth in the SEC) on nine returns. He also worked out of the “Wildcat” formation, rushing six times with a long rush of 14 yards. As a wideout, he has caught five passes for 75 yards (15.0 per catch), including three for 60 yards against Auburn. The 5-9, 197-pounder from Moncks Corner, S.C. was the starting point guard for the Gamecocks’ basketball team as a freshman. He earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team after leading the squad with a 12.8 points per game average. He started all 30 games for a squad that went 14-16. He is expected to rejoin the basketball team at the conclusion of the football season. He was a standout prep athlete in both sports for Berkeley High.

STARTS ON THE LINE: The Gamecocks used the same starting five along the offensive line in each of the four games this season. In game five versus Auburn, true freshman Mike Matulis made the start at left tackle for the injured Kyle Nunn (lower back). The O-line has combined for 95 starts. Center T.J. Johnson leads the way with 32, followed by tackles Kyle Nunn (20) and Rokevious Watkins (19). Sixth-year senior guard Terrence Campbell has made 18 starts. Redshirt freshman guard A.J. Cann has started five games. Watkins is considered the best of the group by most, while Johnson is a Rimington candidate.

TAKING THE FIFTH (AND THE SIXTH): Linebacker Rodney Paulk and offensive guard Terrence Campbell were both granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. Paulk earned second-team Freshman All-America honors from Sporting News as a freshman in 2006. He ranked fourth on the squad with 64 tackles during his sophomore season in 2007. Paulk injured his knee in August of 2008 and saw limited action in the first four games of that campaign before sitting out of the remainder of the season. He was granted his first medical redshirt following the season. In 2009, Paulk suffered a season-ending knee injury in the season-opening win at NC State, and was granted his second medical redshirt. He sat out the spring drills in 2010 while continuing his rehab work, and returned to the field in August. Paulk graduated in December with a degree in marine science. Campbell also came to Carolina in 2006, but suffered a season-ending knee injury early in his first camp and was granted a medical redshirt. He played in one game as a defensive lineman in 2007 before moving to the offensive side of the ball. He was a regular at right guard in 2008 then, after starting the first two games of the 2009 season, he suffered a neck/shoulder stinger that sidelined him for the remainder of the season and earned him a second medical redshirt season. He played sporadically in `10 but returns as a probable starter in 2011. Campbell earned his degree in retail in May. Paulk and Campbell are the second and third Gamecocks to have a sixth year of eligibility granted in the Spurrier Era, joining former tight end Andy Boyd.

BIG PLAY INGRAM: Senior defensive end Melvin Ingram is turning in an All-America season with big play after big play. He leads the SEC in sacks with 5.5 and tackles for loss with 7.5. Here’s what he’s done game-by-game:

East Carolina: Recorded his first career interception.

Georgia: Named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week and National Defensive Player of the Week by after scoring twice… ran a fake punt 68 yards for a touchdown and scooped and scored on a fumble recovery that sealed the win… was only the third Division I player since 2006 to score an offensive and defensive touchdown in the same game.

Navy: Collected eight tackles.

Vanderbilt: Had 3.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks and fell on a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, earning SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Auburn: Credited with a career-high 11 tackles including 4.5 TFL and 3.5 sacks… also intercepted a pass… named SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second consecutive week.

ALLEN SPURS D: While many other Gamecock defenders receive the accolades, senior Spur Antonio Allen is having a stellar of a final campaign. He leads the team in tackles with 49 (9.8 per game) which ranks fourth in the SEC. He is tied for second in the SEC and is tied for ninth in the country with three forced fumbles, is tied for the SEC lead and is tied for second in the nation with three fumble recoveries, and is tied for fifth in the league and tied for 12th in the nation with three interceptions. Allen had the best game of his career in the season opener against East Carolina. He logged a game-high 16 tackles, doubling his previous career high, and the most for a Gamecock since Jonathan Martin had 17 at LSU in 2002. Allen also forced two fumbles and recovered a pair, including a strip that he took 25 yards to paydirt. He came back with six tackles against Georgia and intercepted a pass, returning it 25 yards for a score. He led the team with 10 tackles in the win over Navy, was credited with a forced fumble and sealed the game with an interception in the final minute. He had four tackles and a fumble recovery in the win over Vanderbilt. He led the team with 13 tackles with 3.0 TFL and an interception against Auburn.

SEND IN THE CLOWNEY: Freshman sensation Jadeveon Clowney was in the starting lineup against ECU, the first true freshman to start on the D-line at Carolina since Travian Robertson in 2007. Clowney finished the opener with seven tackles, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry. At Georgia, he was credited with just two tackles, but both were sacks, the first two of his career, including one late in the game that forced a fumble that Melvin Ingram scooped and scored, sealing the win. He had three stops against Navy, including a half-tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry. He had a pair of sacks and forced two fumbles in the win over Vanderbilt. For the season, he is second in the SEC with 4.0 sacks, is tied for eighth with 5.0 tackles for loss, and is tied for second with three fumbles forced.

SHAQ IS BACK: The Gamecocks welcome the return of linebacker Shaq Wilson. Wilson led the team in tackles as a sophomore in 2009, but saw action in just one game last season, due to a hamstring injury suffered the first day of preseason drills. He played in the regular season game at Auburn and accounted for seven tackles and recovered two fumbles, but re-aggravated the hamstring injury and did not play again. He has 19 tackles in five games this season.

IN THE SECONDARY: The Gamecocks feature a talented group in the secondary, led by All-SEC performer and third-team All-American Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore led the team in tackles a season ago with 79. He logged 10 tackles in the opener against East Carolina. He had four stops against Georgia, and also scooped up a fumble and rambled 56 yards, setting up a Carolina score. He had his first pick of the season against Vanderbilt. D.J. Swearinger is the other awards candidate in the secondary. He is considered the hardest hitter in the defensive backfield and recorded 66 tackles last year. He had seven stops against Georgia and is second on the team with 28 tackles.

GILMORE DOES IT ALL: Gamecock cornerback Stephon Gilmore was one of only six players to earn first-team All-SEC honors by either the Associated Press or Coaches and also be named to the 2010 Fall Academic Honor Roll. The others were Alabama offensive guard Barrett Jones, Florida punter Chas Henry, Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy, Auburn center Ryan Pugh and Mississippi State offensive tackle Derek Sherrod.

DOUBLE DIGITS TACKLES: Antonio Allen (16) and Stephon Gilmore (10) were both credited with double digits in tackles against East Carolina. Allen logged another 10 in the win over Navy, and three players (Allen -13, Reginald Bowens-11 and Melvin Ingram-11) all eclipsed the double figure total against Auburn. Interestingly, no Gamecock had 10 or more tackles in a game during the 2010 season.

COMING UP ACES: Sophomore Ace Sanders returned just one punt against East Carolina, but it paid big dividends, as he scooted 68 yards for a score. It was the first kickoff or punt return for a touchdown for the Gamecocks during the Steve Spurrier Era, and was a nice way for new special teams coach John Butler to get started. Sanders became the first Gamecock to return a punt for a TD since Chavez Donnings went 73 yards against Florida in 2003.

HARD TO BELIEVE BUT…: Ace Sanders’ 68-yard punt return against ECU gave the Gamecocks three more yards in punt returns than they had during the entire 14-game season of 2010. Last year Sanders, Stephon Gilmore and the “Team” combined on 19 punt returns for just 65 yards.

WOOTEN WOWS `EM: Senior Jay Wooten has been nearly perfect this season, hitting on 21-of-22 of his extra point attempts and nailing two of his three fields goal attempts – the difference in two games – with a 49-yarder at Georgia and a 48-yarder versus Navy. The senior from Laurinburg, N.C., has previous experience, as he kicked for North Carolina during the 2008 season, going 4-for-6 in field attempts and was successful on all 11 extra point tries. He is averaging 5.4 points per game, ninth among the kickers in the SEC.

THE PUNTER: The starting punting duties was a closely contested, with Joey Scribner-Howard and Patrick Fish batting toe-to-toe. Scribner-Howard, a senior from Irmo who gained experience kicking for Carson-Newman College in 2007 and `08 and as a kickoff specialist for Carolina in 2010, won the job and averaged 31.8 yards on four punts in the opener, but did not allow any return yardage. He upped his game at Georgia, averaging 44.8 yards per punt on six punts, including a career-long 59 yarder and three inside the 20. He did not enter the game against Navy, as Carolina was not forced to punt, but the layoff did not hurt him, as he averaged 46.3 yards on three punts with a long of 56 against Vanderbilt. He had another 59-yarder against Auburn. He ranks seventh in the SEC with a 41.3 yards per punt average. Four of his 20 punts have gone over 50 yards.

IN THE POLLS: The Gamecocks opened the 2011 season ranked 12th in both major polls. It’s the highest the Gamecocks had been ranked to start a season in school history. Previously, they have been ranked six times in the preseason poll by the Associated Press. They were No. 14 in 1959, No. 17 in both 1970 and 1985; 19th in 1988, 21st in 2001 and 22nd in 2002. They dropped eight spots in this week’s A.P. poll and fell five notches in the Coaches’ poll following the loss to Auburn.

CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP: The Gamecocks have named individual game captains this season:

East Carolina: Terrence Campbell, Melvin Ingram, Kenny Miles, Travian Robertson

Georgia: Antonio Allen, Bruce Ellington, Stephen Garcia, Rokevious Watkins

Navy: Justice Cunningham, Marty Markett, Devin Taylor, Jay Wooten

Vanderbilt: Melvin Ingram, Marty Markett, Dalton Wilson, Shaq Wilson

Auburn: Melvin Ingram, Marcus Lattimore, Travian Robertson, D.J. Swearinger

COMEBACK KIDS: The Gamecocks have not scored first in a game this season and have posted two come-from-behind fourth quarter wins. Previously, South Carolina had won only three games in fourth quarter, come-from-behind fashion during the Spurrier Era. Here are the specifics of the fourth-quarter rallies:

2005: SC trails at Tennessee, 15-13 after a UT field goal with 7:39 to play. Carolina gets 49-yard field goal from Josh Brown to win, 16-15.

2008: SC trails 17-14 at Kentucky after three quarters. Ryan Succop kicks a 42-yard field goal to tie it at the 11:58 mark, then Weslye Saunders catches a 7-yard pass from Stephen Garcia with 7:08 remaining for the 24-17 win.

2009: SC trails Vanderbilt 10-7 after three quarters. Stephen Garcia connects with Alshon Jeffery on a 43-yard touchdown pass with 12:51 left on the clock in a 14-10 win.

2011: SC trails 35-31 after a Georgia touchdown with 6:28 to play. Marcus Lattimore gives the Gamecocks the lead at the 3:28 mark, then Melvin Ingram scoops and scores on a fumble recovery in a 45-42 win.

2011: SC trails Navy, 21-17 after three quarters, but Marcus Lattimore scores from 7-yards out with 12:45 to play and the Gamecock defense limits Navy to 35 yards in the final stanza for the win. Navy had been 24-0 under head coach Ken Niumatalolo when leading after three quarters.

ROAD WARRIORS: The Gamecocks have matched a school record by winning their last four “true” road games on their opponents’ home field. The Gamecocks won at Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson to wrap up the 2010 season, then won at Georgia this season. The only other time they posted four consecutive road wins occurred in 1914 (Wofford and Newberry) and 1915 (North Carolina A&M and Wofford).

FIRST START: A dozen Gamecocks have made their first career starts this season. Six Gamecocks made their first career collegiate starts in the opener against East Carolina, including Reginald Bowens, A.J. Cann, Jadeveon Clowney, Jimmy Legree, Connor Shaw and Dalton Wilson. In the Georgia contest, Aldrick Fordham and Ace Sanders both made their initial collegiate start. Lamar Scruggs made his first collegiate start against Navy. Damiere Byrd, Nick Jones and Mike Matulis all made their first start against Auburn.

FIRST ACTION: Eleven true freshmen have seen action for South Carolina this season. That list included Rory Anderson, Damiere Byrd, Shon Carson, Jadeveon Clowney, Kyle Harris, Kadetrix Marcus, Mike Matulis, Kelcy Quarles, Brandon Shell, Brandon Wilds and Brison Williams.

UP NEXT: The Gamecocks are on the road next week when they travel to Starkville to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-3, 0-3 SEC). It will be the Gamecocks first trip to Starkville since the 2006 season opener and their first road game this season since a 45-42 win at Georgia in week 2. Carolina owns a 7-6 record against the Bulldogs, including a 3-3 mark in Starkville. South Carolina has won the last five meetings between the two teams, but they have not met since 2007.