Nov. 19, 2011
Head Coach Steve Spurrier
Might have been the best offensive game since I’ve been here. We had seven possessions and scored six touchdowns and had that one pick on a first-down play. All the guys really played well. Ran the ball pretty well, only had 55 plays. It was a fast game. That’s what happens when you play a running team that just keeps running. You can’t get them off the field. And that’s how you get beat if your offense doesn’t score when they’re out there. Fortunately, a lot of our guys made some big plays: Alshon (Jeffery), Ace Sanders. And Connor (Shaw) had his best game, I think, ever as a Gamecock, rushing for over 100 yards and hitting 16 out of 18 for 217 yards. He definitely was a game-ball guy. It was good. Football is a team sport, and it was time for the offense to be the main part in us winning a game. The kickoff coverage was pitiful, that’s all you can say. The guys out there can’t tackle the Citadel players. But that’s where we are right now. We’ll try to do something next week to see if we can cover a kickoff or two. Other than that, we made a bunch of third and fourth downs. It was a tough battle. Those Citadel players played their hearts out. If they would’ve had a few breaks earlier in the game, they easily could’ve beat us. I think they had four fumbles and got every one of them. We had a bunch of injuries today, had a bunch of guys get knicked up. We had tremendous respect for The Citadel and knew that they could beat us. We had no excuses for being in a tight ball game with them. We’re happy to have won it, and we’ll enjoy having nine wins and regroup to see if we can give Clemson a game next week.
On how nice it was getting the passing game going
Well again, we only threw 18 passes, but to hit 16 out of 18 was good. We had to make the most of our opportunities out there. Obviously, seven possessions is not a lot. But that’s what happens when a team can run the ball like The Citadel and make a bunch of first downs. We had to stay out there, and we never punted and only had 26 minutes and change out on the field. That’s how a team like Citadel could beat us. If we sputtered around offensively, they easily could have won the game.
On experiences playing option offenses helps
It doesn’t matter. We’ve never stopped one completely yet … We play much better against conventional teams. For some reason, we struggle against these teams. The defense has had a super year. We’ve had a super red-zone defense all year. Maybe today we just had a down day.
On whether he’s still amazed by Alshon Jeffery
He makes some catches like that in practice. We’ve seen them like that. We’d like to get him more balls in the air. We finally got one there. The Citadel had a decent little defensive scheme. We finally got him sorta one-on-one and jump-balled it for the touchdown.
Assistant Head Coach Ellis Johnson
On The Citadel’s physicality
They weren’t exceptionally physical, but I thought they executed very well. It was typical wishbone stuff. We ran a lot of stunts and blitzes to see if we could force some negative yardage but did not get that very often.
On missing some key players for Clemson
We’ll have to see what happens, I don’t want to speculate on too much, but there are some key guys that are not practicing but we’ll just have to wait and see. That’s part of football. I’m disappointed in some of the backup guys, they have scholarships in the SEC but aren’t playing too well.
On the challenges Clemson’s offense brings
We’ve played Auburn and Mississippi State who have very similar attacks so we have some games we can go back to and we’ll try to change the things up that didn’t work well.
Sophomore Quarterback Connor Shaw
On whether he is amazed by catches like the touchdown catch by Alshon
We see it in practice a lot. That was one heckuva catch out there. It was pretty special. I was in awe of it for a second. It was a great catch.
On how it felt getting things going in the passing game
We threw it 18 times, 16 completions and a very careless pick. I never saw the guy. It felt good throwing it around. The receivers got open and made good catches.
On whether this was his best game
I think so. Like I’ve said before, I’m getting better week by week. Those are big plays, but I had a lot of help on that.
On the long touchdown run
I set up the defender off of Kenny (Miles). Kenny had a great block. I knew if I could get by Kenny, I could take it to the house. It was great perimeter blocking.
Senior Defensive End Melvin Ingram On motivating the second and third team guys who may have to play next week
I feel like every second and third team guy can be a starter, so we have confidence in them. We all go to war for each other, so I feel like they will be ready next week.
On the fake punt call and how often they practice it
We called it from the sideline, and yes it did lower my rushing average, but it’s all for the team. We run that play every day in practice.
Junior Strong Safety D.J. Swearinger
On concerns about defensive injuries
My foot is alright. It bothered me a little bit but not enough to affect my play. We got banged up a little bit out there, especially in the linebacker position, but those guys will go in for treatment.
Junior Wide Receiver Alshon Jeffery
On touchdown and catches being routine
In practice, as receivers, we just try to make catches all the time. They pick at me a lot because they say I make a lot of one-handed catches. It was a great throw and I just made a great play.
On being able to get something going in the passing game
It was good, but we’ve just got to take care of business, and whatever the coaches call we’ve just got to execute and make the best of the plays.
On having a good game offensively
It feels real good, but if we’re not having a good offensive game and we’re struggling, I know the defense will pick us up. All that matters to me is that we get the win, that’s all I’m worried about.
Freshmen Tailback Brandon Wilds
On having a good game offensively
The offensive line just pushed, first down after first down, and opened lanes for the receivers.
On another 100-yard game and the confidence he’s building
I just work hard in practice, go and watch film everyday. I’m just getting better as a player, and it pays off.
On preparing for Clemson
We’ve got to put points on the board against any team. We don’t take any team lightly.
Sophomore Wide Receiver Ace Sanders
On getting something going in the passing game
It felt real good because it was a confidence booster for not only the team but the offense and the offensive line as well. We take a lot of criticism for our passing game, so we needed to get it going.
On his touchdown
We just called them on what they’re doing because when we’re throwing screens out there, they kept both defensive backs up instead of one leaving, so we just faked the screen and I went around.
Citadel Head Coach Kevin Higgins
First of all, I thought it was a great effort by our team. Nobody blinked at all. We got that early turnover on defense and offensively we converted that. We kept ourselves in the game until the fourth quarter when it got away from us a little bit. Our goal coming in was to have no turnovers and we didn’t turn the ball over. We wanted to keep our penalties to a minimum and we had one penalty for five yards. We’re the least penalized team in the country, which is nice for these players. We just didn’t get in the end zone enough, and obviously we didn’t stop them on a couple of critical series.
On what the players take away from today
I think our guys know exactly what we did and what they didn’t do today. Our guys know that they played hard and that they didn’t blink. They played with emotion and they’re a disciplined football team. We ran the ball against a very good football team that gave up 90 yards and 70 yards to Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Our guys know that they were in the game and they had a chance to win it. I think they will be disappointed that they didn’t make some of the plays that they could have made to win the game. I know these guys will use this as a building block so that they can get better next year.
On the team’s improvement
Our team is a much, much better team this year than they were last year. It’s the second year of the triple option. It’s the second year of our defensive scheme. We have the majority of our players coming back next year. We’ve got a lot of competitors in the program. I know these guys are going to work their tails off in the offseason and they’ll come back hungry for next year.
Sophomore Quarterback Ben Dupree
On the effort the team showed today
We did some positive things that we can take into next year. We fought hard but it still hurts because it’s a loss.
On being able to build on this game to go into next season
We definitely feel like it’s a building block for next year. We went out and battled with the number 12 team in the nation so I guess you could say it’s a positive.
Senior Running Back Rickey Anderson
On the significance of the game for the Citadel program
Of course, it’s a building block for the program to give us something to look forward to for next year. It shows that we can come out and compete with anybody.
On being able to run the ball well against South Carolina
It feels good any time you’re the underdog and you’re able to come out and pound the ball, especially against an SEC team. It gives us motivation for next year.
On the discipline of the team
That’s the number one thing Coach Higgins harps the offense on is ball security and keeping the ball. The ball was on the ground a couple of times but we had some dogs out there fighting for it.