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Oct. 4, 2013

October 4, 2013

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South Carolina Notes

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The No. 13/12 South Carolina Gamecocks (3-1, 1-1 SEC) return home to face the Kentucky Wildcats (1-3, 0-1 SEC) in an SEC Eastern Division matchup on Saturday, October 5. The game is a sellout. Game time is set for 7:38 p.m. ET with Bob Rathbun and Tim Couch in the booth and Elizabeth Moreau working the sidelines for FSN. Todd Ellis and Tommy Suggs handle the call for the Gamecock Radio Network with Langston Moore on the sidelines. WKNT (107.5 The Game) in Columbia is the flagship station for Gamecock Athletics.

Date: Saturday, October 5
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Stadium: Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
Series: South Carolina leads 16-7-1
RADIO Flagship – 107.5 FM “The Game” & the IMG Network

SETTING THE STAGE: The No. 13/12 South Carolina Gamecocks (3-1, 1-1 SEC) return home to face the Kentucky Wildcats (1-3, 0-1 SEC) in an SEC Eastern Division matchup on Saturday, October 5. The game is a sellout. Game time is set for 7:38 p.m. ET with Bob Rathbun and Tim Couch in the booth and Elizabeth Moreau working the sidelines for FSN. Todd Ellis and Tommy Suggs handle the call for the Gamecock Radio Network with Langston Moore on the sidelines. WKNT (107.5 The Game) in Columbia is the flagship station for Gamecock Athletics.

A LITTLE 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 is 22 games over the .500 mark with an all-time record of 568-546-44. The Gamecocks were nine games under .500 until head coach Steve Spurrier took the reins in 2005, but are 31 games over since.

SEC HISTORY: The 2013 season marks South Carolina’s 22nd year in the Southeastern Conference. South Carolina and Arkansas joined the league prior to the 1992 campaign. The Gamecocks earned their first SEC Eastern Division title in the 2010 season. The Gamecocks are 73-96-1 all-time in SEC regular-season play, but are 18-8 since 2010 in conference action.

CAROLINA VS. KENTUCKY: This is the 25th game in a series that dates back to 1937 between the Gamecocks and Wildcats. Carolina leads the all-time series 16-7-1, including a 7-3-1 mark in Columbia and a 9-4 advantage in Lexington. South Carolina has won each of the last two meetings, a 38-17 decision in Lexington last season and a 54-3 rout in Columbia in 2011. Kentucky’s last win was by a 31-28 count in Lexington in 2010, 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 15-6 record against UK, including wins in 12 of the 13 meetings in this century. Kentucky has not won at Williams-Brice Stadium since 1999.

SPURRIER VS. KENTUCKY: South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier owns a 19-1 all-time record against Kentucky, including a 7-1 mark as head coach at South Carolina. The 19 wins matches his mark against Vanderbilt (19-2) as his most wins against any school. He also has double-digit wins against Georgia (15-6), Tennessee (14-8), LSU (11-4), Auburn (10-8) and South Carolina (10-1). Coach Spurrier’s offenses have scored 30+ points in 15 of 20 games against Kentucky, including 10 games of 40+ points.

THE LAST TIME THEY MET: Sixth-ranked South Carolina erased a 10-point halftime deficit, scoring 31 second-half points, on its way to a 38-17 win over Kentucky on Sept. 29, 2012 in Lexington. Marcus Lattimore carried 23 times for 120 yards in the win, while Connor Shaw completed 15-of-18 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns and added 76 yards on the ground on 19 carries. After allowing 17 points and 173 yards in the first half, the Carolina defense pitched a shutout in the second half, limiting Kentucky to just 70 yards over the final 30 minutes.

THE LAST TIME THEY MET IN COLUMBIA: Connor Shaw threw for a then-career-high 311 yards and four touchdowns to lead No. 18/14 South Carolina to a convincing 54-3 win over Kentucky in Columbia on Oct. 8, 2011. Shaw completed 26-of-39 passes as Carolina rolled up 639 yards of total offense in the contest, the most in the Steve Spurrier Era at South Carolina. Meanwhile, the Gamecock defense stifled Kentucky all day, limiting the Wildcats to just 96 yards of offense, including 17 through the air, forcing six turnovers.

THE LAST TIME OUT: The No. 12/13 Gamecocks traveled to Orlando for a non-conference matchup with UCF on Saturday, September 28, and came away with a hard-fought 28-25 win over the previously undefeated Knights. UCF opened up a 10-0 lead at the intermission, but Carolina came out and physically dominated the Knights in the second half, scoring 28 consecutive points before UCF scored two fourth-quarter TDs to make the game interesting late. Mike Davis was the workhorse, churning out a career-high 167 yards rushing on 26 carries with three touchdowns, tying the school record. 150 of the yards came after intermission, including a 53-yard scamper for the Gamecocks’ first score early in the third period. South Carolina totaled 490 yards of offense (326 after halftime) to UCF’s 427, and each team committed four turnovers. A.J. Cann was selected as the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week.

WIN STREAK EXTENDED: With the win over UCF, South Carolina extended its winning streak against non-conference opponents to 12 games. South Carolina’s last non-conference loss came to Florida State in the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl. South Carolina’s regular season non-conference winning streak increased to 18 games with the win. The Gamecocks last regular season non-conference loss was at Clemson in the final game of the 2008 regular season.

BE LIKE MIKE: Sophomore running back Mike Davis continues to impress. The Lithonia, Ga. product rushed for a career-high 167 yards in the win at UCF, including 150 after intermission. He scored three rushing touchdowns, tying the school record, held by many. He has three 100-yard rushing games in four outings this season. Davis is the SEC’s leading rusher, averaging 127.0 yards per contest, is second in all-purpose yardage at 158.8 yards per game, and is tied for fourth in scoring at 9.0 points per game. Davis ranks 12th in the nation in rushing.

PICKIN’ AND GRINNIN’: The Gamecocks intercepted three passes in the win over UCF, with Victor Hampton, Jimmy Legree and T.J. Holloman all registering a pick. The Gamecocks had just one interception in the season’s first three contests. For the game, Carolina forced a season-high four turnovers. They had forced just three turnovers in the first three contests combined.

GO THE DISTANCE: South Carolina produced a pair of 90-plus yard drives in the win over Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks went 93 yards in 11 plays, using 3:58 in the first quarter, resulting in a Mike Davis’ 4-yard run, then went 92 yards in eight plays, consuming 3:23 with Bruce Ellington scoring on a 26-yard pass from Connor Shaw early in the second stanza. It marked the first time the Gamecocks had recorded multiple drives of over 90 yards in a game since a 2011 contest against The Citadel and the first time in SEC play since 2006 versus Arkansas. The Gamecocks then went a season-best 97 yards in a scoring drive at UCF, taking 11 plays and using 5:02 of the clock, with Dylan Thompson scoring from two-yards out. That matched the fourth-longest scoring drive in the Spurrier Era at Carolina.

BEST OFFENSE IN HISTORY?: Through four games, Carolina has generated 1,929 yards of offense, 482.2 yards/game. That’s the school’s high water mark for the season’s first four games since at least 1962, when full records are available. The Gamecocks rank fourth in the SEC and 32nd in the country.

GOOD HOME COOKIN’: The Gamecocks have won their last 13 games at Williams-Brice Stadium. Carolina is 29-3 in its last 32 home games. The only home losses since 2009 came to top-ranked Florida in 2009, to 17th-ranked Arkansas in 2010 and to defending national champion Auburn in 2011. The Gamecocks’ 13-game home winning streak is the third-longest in the nation, trailing only Michigan (17) and Georgia (15).

TOP HOME STREAKS: The Gamecocks have won 13-straight home games, their longest stretch since joining the SEC and tying for the second-longest streak in school history. Only a 15-game home winning streak from 1978-80 has been longer.

THE HEAD BALL COACH: Steve Spurrier is in his ninth season directing the Gamecock football program. He has logged a 69-38 mark (.645) in Columbia. The Head Ball Coach is Carolina’s winningest coach with 69 victories and is second in games coached with 107, behind Rex Enright (140). Coach Spurrier owns a 211-78-2 mark (.729) in 24 seasons as a collegiate head coach, with previous stops at Duke and Florida.

WITH 50 YOU GET 72: There have been 72 recorded rushes of 50 yards or more from scrimmage in South Carolina history. Mike Davis has logged four of those in his first 16 games. He had a 50-yarder as a true freshman against UAB last season. His 75-yard burst against North Carolina in the 2013 season opener and his first career start was the longest by a Gamecock since Bobby Wallace went for 88 against Middle Tennessee in 2006, and tied for the 12th-longest run in school history. He matched that with another 75-yard burst at Georgia, playing for the first time as a collegian in his home state. Of the 14 runs in school history of 75 yards or longer, Davis is the only one to do it twice. His fourth-career 50-yard jaunt came at UCF, a 53-yard TD run. Only Derek Watson has more runs of 50-plus yards at Carolina.

100-YARD EFFORTS: The Gamecocks have three 100-yard rushing games this season, all from Mike Davis, after notching just four a season ago when they got three from Marcus Lattimore and one from Kenny Miles. Davis become the third player on the roster with a 100-yard rushing game in his career, joining Brandon Wilds (3) and Connor Shaw (1). Both Wilds and Shaw turned in their 100-yard efforts during the 2011 campaign. Davis logged a 115-yard performance against North Carolina in his first career start. He came back at Georgia, playing in his home state for the first time, and responded with a 149-yard effort on just 16 carries, an average of 9.3 yards per tote, with one touchdown. He had his career-best day with 167 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries at UCF.

CATCH THIS: The Gamecocks have spread the wealth in the passing game this season with 13 different players getting receptions and three different players leading the team in receiving in the four games this season. The top three receivers are all juniors: Bruce Ellington is the top returning receiver. He logged 40 receptions for 600 yards and seven touchdowns last season. After a slow start, he had his best game as a Gamecock against Vanderbilt, catching eight passes for 111 yards, both career highs. For the season, he has a team-high 14 catches for a team-best 229 yards with one touchdown. Ellington went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark for his career in the win at UCF. Nick Jones is not the biggest guy on the roster or have the most raw talent. All he does is catch passes. The 5-7, 174-pounder from Moore, S.C. had his best game as a Gamecock, catching six passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns in the loss at Georgia, all career highs. His TD catches came from 18 and 30 yards out. His previous highs were four receptions (4 times) and 78 receiving yards. He had just one career touchdown coming into the season, but has found pay dirt three times in 2013. For the season, he has 12 catches for 136 yards and three scores. Damiere Byrd, the fastest player on the squad, had his best game at UCF, catching a career-high five passes for 74 yards. He has eight catches on the season for 108 yards.

SACK MASTERS: After leading the SEC and finishing fifth in the country with 43 sacks a year ago, the Gamecocks are among the leaders again in sacks this season. With 12 sacks, an average of 3.0 per game, they rank tied for first in the SEC and 17th in the country.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES: The Gamecocks not only have an SEC-best 3.0 sacks per game, they have tallied a league-high 33 tackles for loss, an average of. 8.3 tackles for loss per game, the nation’s 10th-best mark.

NEXT UP: Carolina begins a three-game road swing next week when it travels to Fayetteville to face the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, Oct. 12. Arkansas leads the all-time series, 13-8. Trips to Tennessee and Missouri follow.