Sept. 14, 2012
The South Carolina Gamecocks (2-0, 1-0 SEC) play the middle game of this three-game homestand when they host the UAB Blazers (0-1, 0-0 C-USA) on Saturday, September 15, at Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250). The game will be televised on FSN with Bob Rathbun and Tim Couch in the booth and Elizabeth Moreau working the sidelines.
The South Carolina Gamecocks (2-0) and UAB Blazers (0-1) are meeting for the third time. Carolina has won each of the previous two meetings, posting a 42-10 win in 2003 and a 26-13 victory in 2008. The Gamecocks are off to a 2-0 start, logging a 17-13 win over Vanderbilt in an SEC road contest before posting a convincing 48-10 win over Conference USA foe East Carolina last week. UAB lost its opener to Troy, but has had two weeks to prepare for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier has 199 career collegiate wins as a head coach. He is looking to become the 71st coach in college history (all divisions) to record 200 career victories.
The Gamecocks have won six straight games (Florida, Citadel, Clemson, Nebraska, Vanderbilt, East Carolina) dating back to last season. It’s their longest winning streak since a six-game stretch over the final three games of the 2006 season (Middle Tennessee, Clemson and Houston) and the first three games of the 2007 campaign (Louisiana-Lafayette, Georgia, South Carolina State. That ties for the third-longest streak in school history. The school record for consecutive wins is nine, set in 1984.
The Gamecocks are looking to start the season 3-0 for the third straight year and for the fourth time (also 2007) in eight seasons under head coach Steve Spurrier.
Marcus Lattimore needs one touchdown to become the school record holder in career touchdowns. He is tied with George Rogers and Harold Green with 33 career TDs.
SETTING THE STAGE: The South Carolina Gamecocks (2-0, 1-0 SEC) play the middle game of this three-game homestand when they host the UAB Blazers (0-1, 0-0 C-USA) on Saturday, September 15, at Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250). The game will be televised on FSN with Bob Rathbun and Tim Couch in the booth and Elizabeth Moreau working the sidelines.
A LITTLE HISTORY: 2012 marks the 119th season of intercollegiate football at the University of South Carolina, dating back to 1892. It is the 106th-consecutive year in which South Carolina has competed on the gridiron. The university did not field a team in either 1893 or 1906. Carolina is 13 games over the .500 mark with an all-time record of 556-543-44. The Gamecocks were nine games under .500 until head coach Steve Spurrier took the reins in 2005, but are 22 games over since.
VS. UAB: The Gamecocks lead the all-time series versus UAB by a 2-0 margin. South Carolina posted a 42-10 win over the Blazers on September 20, 2003, then came away with a 26-13 victory on Sept. 27, 2008. Both of those contests also came in Columbia.
SPURRIER VS. THE BLAZERS: Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is 1-0 in his career against UAB, a 26-13 win in Columbia during the 2008 season.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: Stephen Garcia was 13-for-20 for 131 yards and ran for 86 more in the first significant action of his career, giving South Carolina’s offense enough of a kick to beat UAB 26-13 on Sept. 27, 2008. Garcia came in on the second possession for the Gamecocks (3-2). Over the next five first-half possessions, the redshirt freshman accounted for all but six of the Gamecocks’ yards and either passed the ball or ran it on 26 of the next 32 plays. South Carolina’s defense took care of the rest, holding the Blazers (1-4) to 207 yards and forcing three turnovers.
OUT OF THEIR LEAGUE: The Gamecocks put a 13-game regular season non-conference winning streak on the line against UAB. They were 4-0 in regular season non-conference action in each of the past three seasons. Including the bowl games, the Gamecocks went 5-0 in non-conference action in 2011 after going 4-1 in non-league games in both 2009 and 2010. They are 27-7 in non-conference games under head coach Steve Spurrier, including wins in 25 of their last 30 non-SEC tilts. The year-by-year breakdown: 2005 (2-2); 2006 (5-0); 2007 (3-1); 2008 (3-2); 2009 (4-1); 2010 (4-1); 2011 (5-0); 2012 (1-0). South Carolina’s last regular season non-conference loss came at Clemson in 2008.
STREAKING INTO THE RECORD BOOKS: The Gamecocks have stretched their winning streak to six games dating back to last season, the longest winning streak since they put together a six-game stretch from the end of the 2006 season to the start of the 2007 campaign. The school record for consecutive wins is nine, set in 1984. There have been seven winning streaks of six games or more in school history, including two during the Spurrier Era. Here are the top streaks:
Consecutive Wins – Year(s)
HOT AS THEY COME: The Gamecocks’ six-game winning streak ties for the third-longest current winning streak in the country. TCU holds the longest current winning streak at nine games, followed by Baylor at seven games. South Carolina is tied with Southern California, BYU and Alabama for the third-longest current winning streak at six games.
THE HEAD BALL COACH: Steve Spurrier is in his eighth season directing the Gamecock football program. He has logged a 57-35 mark (.620) in Columbia. Coach Spurrier needs eight wins to take sole possession as the school’s all-time leader in career victories. The Head Ball Coach ranks second on the school’s all-time wins list with 57 behind only Rex Enright (64) and third in games coached with 92 behind Enright (140) and Paul Dietzel (96). Spurrier owns a 199-75-2 mark (.725) in 23 seasons as a collegiate head coach, with stops at Duke and Florida before his stint at South Carolina.
TOPS IN HIS FIELD: Steve Spurrier needs just one win to reach the 200-win plateau as a collegiate head coach. As of the end of the 2011 season, a total of 70 head college football coaches (all divisions) had reached that milestone. Coach Spurrier ranks fourth among active Division I coaches in wins, trailing only Frank Beamer, Mack Brown and Chris Ault. Coach Spurrier’s 117 wins in SEC vs. SEC games ranks second only to Bear Bryant’s 159.
PERFECT RECORD: Head coach Steve Spurrier is a perfect 45-0 all-time against schools outside of BCS automatic qualifier conferences, including a 19-0 mark since coming to South Carolina. In 2001, he defeated East Carolina, Navy and The Citadel. He extended the streak with a win over East Carolina last week.
UNCHARTED TERRITORY: Head coach Steve Spurrier has taken the Gamecocks to six bowl games in his seven-year tenure. The Gamecocks have been bowl-eligible in all seven of his seasons in Columbia, but were not selected following the 2007 season with a 6-6 record. No other coach in Carolina history has taken the Gamecocks to more than three bowl games (Jim Carlen and Joe Morrison). Coach Spurrier is 2-4 in bowl games at South Carolina. He and Lou Holtz are the only Gamecock coaches to post two bowl victories.
GOOD HOME COOKIN’: The Gamecocks have done an excellent job of protecting their home turf of late and will put a five-game home winning streak on the line against UAB. The Gamecocks were 6-1 at home in 2011, the third straight year in which they won six-of-seven home contests. The only home losses in the last three years came to top-ranked Florida in 2009, to 17th-ranked Arkansas in 2010 and to defending national champion Auburn in 2011. Carolina is 21-3 in its last 24 home games.
IN THE POLLS: The Gamecocks have been ranked in the Associated Press Top-25 for 34 consecutive polls, dating back to the second week of the 2010 season. That is the longest consecutive streak in school history. According to research compiled by “The Blitz,” South Carolina was ranked in the A.P. poll 148 times from 1936-2011, 14 times as a member of the ACC (1936-1970), 57 times as a Independent (1971-1991) and 77 times since joining the SEC (1992-2011).
ABOUT LAST WEEK: The Gamecocks were too strong on both sides of the ball in a 48-10 rout of East Carolina last Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Dylan Thompson completed 21-of-37 passes for 330 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in his first career start. Three players combined for 397 yards passing for Carolina, as 11 different receivers made catches, including Rory Anderson, who had a career-best game with four catches for 90 yards and two scores. The Gamecock defense surredered 403 yards to the Pirates, but did not give up a touchdown until the fourth quarter when the Gamecocks held a 41-3 lead. Jimmy Legree picked off a pass and returned it 34 yards to paydirt.
MOST UNDER SPURRIER: The Gamecocks threw for 397 yards in the win over ECU. It was the most yards passing in a game for Carolina in the Steve Spurrier Era, surpassing the 391 recorded against Middle Tennessee in 2006. In fact, the 397 yards passing were the most for a South Carolina team since they threw for a school-record 490 yards against Mississippi State in 1995.
THOMPSON STEP IN AND STEPS UP: Redshirt sophomore Dylan Thompson made his first career start in place of the injured Connor Shaw last Saturday against East Carolina and responded with an impressive performance. After entering the game with just two completions in five career attempts for 17 yards, Thompson connected on 21-of-37 passes for 330 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
SANDERS IS AN ACE IN THE HOLE: Junior wide receiver Ace Sanders, who figures to be the Gamecocks’ top receiver this season, has been impressive when he’s been asked to throw the ball. He completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to D.L. Moore in the win over ECU. It was his third career pass and his second completion and second touchdown. He also threw a 3-yard TD pass to Stephen Garcia in the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl.
GETTING MOORE FROM D.L.: Senior D.L. Moore had one of his best game as a Gamecock against ECU, catching a pair of passes for 45 yards. Both passes went for touchdowns, a 29-yarder from Dylan Thompson and a 16-yarder from Ace Sanders. D.L. has six touchdown receptions among his 34 career catches.
BIG PLAY ANDERSON: Sophomore tight end Rory Anderson also came up big for the Gamecocks in the win over ECU. He caught a career-best four passes for a career-high 90 yards, including touchdown receptions of 7 and 51 yards. Anderson now has 12 catches in his career, five of which have gone for scores.
EVERYONE JOIN IN: The Gamecocks completed passes to 11 different players in the win over ECU. That’s the most receivers to figure in the action in recent history, surpassing the 10 receivers that caught passes against Kentucky in 2011 and FAU in 2009.
TURNING THEM OVER: The Gamecocks recorded four interceptions and forced five turnovers overall in the win over ECU. Cornerback Jimmy Legree notched the first defensive score of the year with a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown. D.J. Swearinger, Brison Williams and Shaq Wilson also logged interceptions, while Reginald Bowens forced and recovered a fumble. The Gamecocks forced 10 Pirate turnovers in their last two meetings.
BREAKING THE CENTURY MARK: The Gamecocks have three tailbacks who have rushed for 100 or more yards in a game for a total of 15 occasions. Junior Marcus Lattimore leads the way with nine 100-yard rushing games, while senior Kenny Miles and sophomore Brandon Wilds each have three 100-yard rushing contests. In addition, quarterback Connor Shaw has one 100-yard rushing game to his credit.
NINE FOR MARCUS: Tailback Marcus Lattimore has returned to the gridiron for the first time since suffering a season-ending knee injury at Mississippi State last October. The junior carried 23 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the opener at Vanderbilt. It was his ninth career 100-yard rushing game, moving him into a tie for fifth in school history with Duce Staley and Derek Watson. Here are the school leaders:
Rk. – Player -100-Yd Games
1. George Rogers 27
2. Brandon Bennett 11
2. Harold Green 11
4. Steve Wadiak 10
5. Duce Staley 9
5. Derek Watson 9
5. Marcus Lattimore 9
AMONG THE LEADERS: Marcus Lattimore ranks second the nation in career yards rushing per game, averaging 98.4 yards per contest (minimum 15 games played). Here are the NCAA leaders:
MARCUS MAKES HIS POINT: Marcus Lattimore’s 6-yard touchdown run against East Carolina was his 33rd career TD, tying the school record set by George Rogers and matched by Harold Green. It was his 30th career rushing touchdown, one shy of the record set by Rogers and matched by Green. He is tied for fifth in school history with 198 points scored. Only four players (Collin Mackie-330; Ryan Succop-251; George Rogers-202; Reed Morton-201) have tallied 200+ points. Lattimore ranks sixth among active NCAA players in rushing TDs (the most by a junior).
ALONG THE O-LINE: The Gamecocks’ offensive line has a blend of youth and experience. Senior center T.J. Johnson, a Rimington Award candidate, anchors the line. He has started every game over the past three seasons, making 42 career starts, He needs just seven starts to become the school’s career-leader. Redshirt sophomore A.J. Cann has become a fixture at left guard. He started all 13 games last season as a redshirt freshman and has 15 consecutive starts. True sophomore Mike Matulis (7 starts) gets the call at one of the tackle positions. Junior right guard Ronald Patrick and redshirt freshman left tackle Brandon Shell both made their first career starts at Vanderbilt. Redshirt sophomore tackle Cody Gibson has made five career starts, including one this season.
SHAW AT THE HELM: Connor Shaw has won nine of his 10 career starts, the best record after 10 games of any signal-caller at Carolina in the past 40 years, just ahead of Steve Taneyhill and Blake Mitchell, both of whom logged 7-3 records through 10 games. The 6-1, 207-pounder junior from Flowery Branch, Ga. used his legs more than his arm to help Carolina win its season opener. He carried 14 times for 92 yards, the second highest rushing total in his career, topped only by his 107-yard effort against Clemson in 2011. Shaw has completed 65.9 percent of his career passes for 1,738 yards and 15 touchdowns with nine interceptions. He also has rushed 181 times for 782 yards with eight scores. His completion percentage ranks first in school history (minimum 150 pass attempts).
IMPRESSIVE D-LINE: The Gamecocks, anchored by two of the best defensive ends in college football in senior Devin Taylor and sophomore Jadeveon Clowney, have a standout defensive line. They helped hold Vanderbilt to just 62 yards rushing in the season opener while racking up five sacks, including one each by D-linemen Clowney, Kelcy Quarles, Aldrick Fordham and Chaz Sutton. Quarles, a true sophomore, was credited with a team-leading eight tackles against Vandy, including a pair of tackles for loss. They limited ECU to just 70 yards on the ground.
PICK THIS: The Gamecocks picked off four passes against ECU and have five for the season in two games. Linebacker Shaq Wilson leads the way with one in each game, while Jimmy Legree returned his for a touchdown last week. Last year, the defense logged 19 interceptions with two going for “pick-sixes” (Antonio Allen at Georgia and Devin Taylor at Arkansas). The school record for interceptions in a season is 23, set in 1981 and matched in 1984 and again in 1987. Here are the individual interception totals:
THE PUNTER: Sophomore Tyler Hull did not arrive on the Carolina campus until a week after fall camp began, but quickly asserted himself as the team’s top punter. The Mount Airy, N.C. product kicked at Guilford (N.C.) College in 2010 before transferring to Surry Community College. He had six punts in his debut at Vanderbilt, averaging 39.0 yards per kick with a long of 46 yards. He was a little better last week, averaging 40.0 yards on four punts with a long of 51 yards and two inside the 20. Both Hull and backup punter Patrick Fish, wear number 13.
JUST FOR KICKS: Fifth-year senior Adam Yates has won the placekicking duties. The Sparks, Md. product connected on his only field goal attempt, a 20-yarder, and two extra points in the opener at Vanderbilt for his first career points. He was a perfect 6-for-6 in extra point attempts last week against ECU. Yates made the biggest kick of his career when he hit a 42-yarder midway through preseason camp, earning a scholarship.
EXCELLENT KICK COVERAGE: The Gamecocks were excellent in kick coverage in the win over ECU. Two of Landon Ard’s kicks went into the endzone for touchbacks. On each of the other six kicks, Carolina stopped the Pirates inside the 25-yard line, including five times inside the 20. Taking away the two touchbacks, ECU’s starting field position after a kickoff was their own 17 1/2 yard line.
CAPTAINS: The Gamecock coaches will select game captains each week until the off week in November, at which time the team will select “permanent” captains for the 2012 season. Here are the game-by-game captains:
UP NEXT: The Gamecocks will wrap up its three-game homestand when the Missouri Tigers make their first visit ever to Columbia for an SEC Eastern Divison matchup on Saturday, September 22. The teams have met twice previously, but never in the regular season. Missouri has won both previous contests, a 24-14 win in the 1979 Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham, then a 38-31 decision in the 2005 Independence Bowl in Shreveport.