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Aug 28, 2013

August 28, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 2013 South Carolina football season gets underway Thursday, August 29 when the Gamecocks host Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina. The 6 p.m. ET game will be televised nationally by ESPN with Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer and David Pollack in the booth and Samantha Ponder on the sidelines. ESPN Radio has the national radio broadcast with Bill Rosinski handling the play-by-play and David Norrie providing the color commentary while Joe Schad works the sidelines.

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South Carolina Notes

Date: Thursday, Aug. 29
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Stadium: Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
Series: North Carolina leads 34-17-4
RADIO Flagship – 107.5 FM “The Game” & the IMG Network

THE HISTORY: 2013 marks the 120th season of intercollegiate football at the University of South Carolina, dating back to 1892. It is the 107th-consecutive year in which South Carolina has competed on the gridiron. The University did not field a team in either 1893 or 1906. Carolina owns an all-time record of 565-545-44.

THURSDAY SPECIAL: The Gamecocks are very familiar with Thursday night games on ESPN. Since head coach Steve Spurrier took over in 2005, Carolina has played 10 Thursday night ESPN contests. Carolina opened its 2005 season on a Thursday with a 24-15 win against UCF. In 2006, the Gamecocks opened at Mississippi State on a Thursday and pitched a 15-0 shutout. They also lost a mid-season Thursday night contest at home to Auburn. In 2007, they defeated eighth-ranked Kentucky on a Thursday by a 38-23 score. In 2008, they played the first two games of the season on Thursdays defeating NC State 34-0 before falling at Vanderbilt, 24-17. In 2009 they opened the year with a Thursday night 7-3 win at NC State, then knocked off fourth-ranked Ole Miss on a Thursday at home by a 16-10 score. They opened the 2010 season with a convincing 41-13 win over Southern Miss on a Thursday in Columbia. Last season, the Gamecocks edged Vanderbilt in Nashville by a 17-13 score. Carolina is 8-2 in Thursday night tilts under Coach Spurrier, including a 5-1 record at home and a 3-1 record on the road. The Gamecocks are 6-0 in season openers on Thursdays under the Head Ball Coach.

HOT AUGUST NIGHT: The Gamecocks are opening their season in August for just the eighth time in school history. All eight August games have come in the past 30 years, with five coming since the turn of the century. The Gamecocks are 6-1 in games played in the month of August, including a 4-1 record at home and a 2-0 record on the road.

VS. UNC: This is the 56th all-time meeting between these two flagship institutions in bordering states, with the Tar Heels holding a 34-17-4 advantage, including a 14-9-1 record when the games have been played in Columbia and an 18-8-3 mark when the teams have met in Chapel Hill. UNC has also won twice on neutral fields. In a series that dates back to 1903, the Gamecocks and Tar Heels have met 55 times, the fifth most-played matchup in South Carolina history, but have played just once since 1991. The teams met every year from 1949-64 as members of the ACC.

THE LAST TIME THEY MET: Chris Smelley threw a career-high three touchdown passes in the first half and No. 7 South Carolina withstood a late rally to beat North Carolina, 21-15, on October 13, 2007. The redshirt freshman improved to 4-0 as a starter, helping South Carolina (6-1) build a 21-3 lead through three quarters. The win improved the Gamecocks record to 6-1 on the season and vaulted them to a No. 6 ranking in the national polls. That squad lost at home to Vanderbilt the following week and went on to lose its last five games to finish the season 6-6.

THE LAST TIME THEY MET IN COLUMBIA: South Carolina outgained the Tar Heels 372-206 while posting a 27-5 win in Columbia on September 8, 1990. Freshman running back Rob DeBoer replaced the injured Mike Dingle early in the first half and rushed for 63 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown. Quarterback Bobby Fuller completed 21-of-36 passes for 248 yards, including TD passes of 20 yards to Robert Brooks and 32 yards to Charles Steward in the first quarter as USC opened up an early 14-0 lead and never looked back.

SPURRIER AND THE TAR HEELS: South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is 4-0 in his career against North Carolina. His first three wins came in the regular season finale from 1987-89 while he was coaching at Duke. He posted consecutive wins of 25-10, 35-29 and 41-0. He is 1-0 as the Gamecocks’ head coach.

WHEN WILL I SEE YOU AGAIN? The Gamecocks and Tar Heels have agreed to open the 2015 season by getting together on September 5 in Charlotte.

CAROLINA ON MY MIND: The Gamecocks list 14 players on their roster from the state of North Carolina. The list includes Larenz Bryant, Drew Owens and Jody Fuller from Charlotte, Devin Potter from Granite Falls, Brock and Clayton Stadnik from Greensboro, Pharoh Cooper and Corey Robinson from Havelock, Tyler Hull from Mount Airy, Connor McLaurin and Connor Mitch from Raleigh, Patrick Fish from Shelby, K.J. Brent from Waxhaw and J.T. Surratt from Winston-Salem. Defensive line coach Deke Adams served in a similar position at UNC-Chapel Hill last season.

THE RANKINGS-2012: The Gamecocks finished eighth in the final 2012 Associated Press poll and seventh in the final USA Today/Coaches poll. It was the highest finish on record for Carolina, one spot better in both polls than in 2011.

THE RANKINGS-2013: The Gamecocks enter the 2013 season with the highest national ranking in school history. They open the season sixth in the Associated Press poll and seventh in the USA Today/Coaches poll. The previous high to open a season came in 2012 when they opened at No. 9 in both major polls.

SEC HISTORY: The 2013 season marks South Carolina’s 22nd year in the Southeastern Conference. South Carolina and Arkansas joined the 10-team league prior to the 1992 campaign. The SEC became a 14-team conference last year when Missouri and Texas A&M joined. The Gamecocks earned their first SEC Eastern Division title in the 2010 season.

MAKING HISTORY: The Gamecocks have put together back-to-back 11-win seasons, the first back-to-back, double-digit win seasons in school history. They have logged two of their three 10-or more win seasons in the last two years. The only previous 10-win campaign came in 1984. The Gamecocks have won 22 games over the past two seasons, 31 over the past three seasons, and 38 over the past four seasons, all school records.

TOP-10 PROGRAM: The Gamecocks have put together back-to-back Top 10 finishes for the first time in school history, finishing ninth in 2011 and eighth in 2012 according to the Associated Press. They finished one spot higher in the Coaches’ poll both years. The Gamecocks have finished among the nation’s Top 25 for three-straight seasons, another “first” in school history.

STARTING ON A ROLL: The Gamecocks won their final five games of the 2012 season, with consecutive victories over Tennessee, Arkansas, Wofford, Clemson and Michigan. It’s the first time in school history that Carolina enters the offseason on a five-game winning streak. The previous best was four, set in 1958 and matched in 2011. The 1912 unit went 4-0-1 in its last five games and the 1947 squad went 5-0-1 in its last six contests. The Gamecocks will enter the 2013 season tied with Rice for the nation’s eighth-longest winning streak behind Ohio State (12), Arkansas State (8), Stanford (8), Utah State (7), Vanderbilt (7), San Jose State (7) and Texas A&M (6).

THEY’RE BACK: The Gamecocks welcome 36 returning letterwinners to begin the 2013 campaign. The 36 lettermen consist of 19 offensive players, 16 defensive players and one special teams player. The Gamecocks lost 24 lettermen, including 10 on offense, 11 on defense and three from special teams.

EVERY TIME OUT: The Gamecocks had nine players start all 13 games a year ago. Of the nine, WR Bruce Ellington and OG Ronald Patrick will return for the 2013 campaign.

THE HEAD BALL COACH: Steve Spurrier begins his ninth season directing the Gamecock football program. He has logged a 66-37 mark (.641) in Columbia. The Head Ball Coach is Carolina’s winningest coach with 66 victories and is second in games coached with 103, behind Rex Enright (140). Spurrier owns a 208-77-2 mark (.729) in 23 seasons as a collegiate head coach, with previous stops at Duke and Florida.

AT THE TOP OF THE LEADER BOARD: Head coach Steve Spurrier recorded his 65th victory at South Carolina in his 102nd career game as the Gamecocks’ head coach in the regular-season finale at Clemson and added No. 66 in the Outback Bowl against Michigan. He surpassed Rex Enright (64) for the most coaching wins in school history. He is already the winningest coach at Florida with 122 victories. The legendary Bear Bryant (60 at Kentucky and 232 at Alabama) is the only other coach to own the most wins at two SEC schools.

IN THE CLASSROOM: The Gamecocks placed 29 players on the 2012 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll while posting a team GPA of 2.918, highest in school history. Among those who made the SEC Honor Roll include returnees Landon Ard, K.J. Brent, Damiere Byrd, A.J. Cann, Shon Carson, Gerald Dixon Jr., Phillip Dukes, Bruce Ellington, Deon Green, Mason Harris, Tyler Hull, Kadetrix Marcus, Drew Owens, Ronald Patrick, Kelvin Rainey, Corey Robinson, Brandon Shell, Brock Stadnik, Clayton Stadnik and Dylan Thompson.

THEY PAY TO SEE THE GAMECOCKS PLAY: The Gamecocks ranked 18th in the nation in average home attendance in 2012, averaging 80,001 at Williams-Brice Stadium. That includes a school record 85,199 who were on hand to watch the Gamecocks thump Georgia, 35-7.

GOOD HOME COOKIN’: The Gamecocks have won their last 11 games at Williams-Brice Stadium. Carolina is 27-3 in its last 30 home games. The only home losses in the last four years came to top-ranked Florida in 2009, to 17th-ranked Arkansas in 2010 and to defending national champion Auburn in 2011.

PERFECT AT HOME: The Gamecocks went 7-0 at home in 2012. It marked the first time they ran the table at home since joining the SEC. The last time they went undefeated at home was in 1987. They have been undefeated and untied at home 10 times.

TOP HOME STREAKS: The Gamecocks have won 11-straight home games, their longest stretch since joining the SEC and the third-longest streak in school history. Here are the top home winning streaks:

1978-1980 (15)
1986-1988 (13)
2011-2012 (current) (11)

AS GOOD AS IT GETS: The 2013 Gamecocks will feature one of the game’s top players in junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney, who is regarded by most as the top defensive player in the country and a likely top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, was just the second Gamecock to earn unanimous All-America honors in 2012, joining George Rogers from his Heisman Trophy season in 1980. Clowney was named the Hendricks Award winner as the nation’s top defensive end, and the All-America Player of the Year, presented by AT&T as selected by the fans on He finished sixth in the Heisman race and was a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy, Rotary Lombardi Award and the Bednarik Award after being named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by the league’s coaches.

OPENING DAY HIGHLIGHTS: Here are the top opening day offensive performances in Carolina history:

100-yard Rushing Games In Season Openers
1. 187 – Duce Staley, UCF (1996)
2. 160 – Harold Green, Duke (1989)
3. 153 – George Rogers, Pacific (1980)
4. 120 – Brandon Bennett, Georgia (1994)
5. 118 – Derek Watson, NC State (1999)
6. 114 – Derek Watson, New Mexico State (2000)
7. 113 – Mike Dingle, Duke (1990)
113 – Carl West, Pacific (1980)
9. 112 – Marcus Lattimore, East Carolina (2011)
10. 110 – Marcus Lattimore, Vanderbilt (2012)
11. 104 – Carl Brazell, Wofford (1955)
12. 103 – Earl Clary, Duke (1931)
13. 102 – Jeff Grantz, Georgia Tech (1973)
14. 101 – Mike Davis, NC State (2008)
15. 100 – Harold Green, NC State (1988)

200-yard Passing Games In Season Openers
1. 405 – Steve Taneyhill, Georgia (1994)
2. 330 – Blake Mitchell, UCF (2005)
3. 329 – Todd Ellis, Appalachian State (1987)
4. 318 – Bill Troup, Virginia (1972)
5. 290 – Todd Ellis, North Carolina (1988)
6. 238 – Allen Mitchell, The Citadel (1984)
7. 236 – Anthony Wright, UCF (1996)
8. 220 – Phil Petty, Boise State (2001)

100-yard Receiving Games In Season Openers
1. 146 – Ira Hillary, The Citadel (1984)
2. 140 – Jackie Brown, Virginia (1972)
3. 134 – Stanley Pritchett, Georgia (1995)
4. 120 – Zola Davis, UCF (1997)
5. 110 – Mike Haggard, Virginia (1972)
6. 106 – Alshon Jeffery, Southern Miss (2010)

UP NEXT: The Gamecocks will travel to Athens for their SEC opener at Georgia on Saturday, September 7. The 4:30 p.m. ET kick will be televised nationally on ESPN. The Gamecocks have won the last three meetings between the two schools, their first three-game winning streak in the series, including a 35-7 blowout last season in Columbia. Georgia leads the all-time series 46-17-2 including a 26-8 advantage in Athens, but Carolina won by a 45-42 count in 2011 on their last trip to Sanford Stadium.