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Nov. 22, 2013

November 22, 2013

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South Carolina Notes

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The No. 12/11 South Carolina Gamecocks (8-2, 6-2 SEC) host FCS instate foe Coastal Carolina (10-1, 4-1 Big South) on Saturday, November 23 at Williams-Brice Stadium. This is the first time the two schools have met on the gridiron. Game time is set for 1 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on a pay-for-view basis throughout the Palmetto State and nationally on ESPN3 with the Carolina Radio Network providing the announcing crew (please note ESPN3 is blacked out in the state of South Carolina). Todd Ellis and Tommy Suggs handle the call for the Gamecock Radio Network with Langston Moore on the sidelines. WKNT in Columbia (107.5 The Game) is the flagship station for Gamecock Athletics..

Date: Saturday, November 23
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Stadium: Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
Series: First meeting
TV: Institutional PPV & ESPN3 (ESPN3 is blacked out in state of South Carolina)
RADIO Flagship – 107.5 FM “The Game” & the IMG Network; National Radio – Touchdown Radio

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 26 games over the .500 mark with an all-time record of 573-547-44. The Gamecocks were nine games under .500 until head coach Steve Spurrier took the reins in 2005, but are 35 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 78-97-1 all-time in SEC regular-season play, but are 23-9 since 2010 in conference action.

GAMECOCKS VS. CHANTS: This is this first time the Gamecocks and Chanticleers have ever met on the gridiron. The teams are scheduled to meet again in 2016 in Columbia, as Coastal Carolina works its way into the in-state FCS rotation on the Gamecocks’ schedule.

SPURRIER VS. COASTAL: Head coach Steve Spurrier has never faced Coastal Carolina. This will be the 64th different school he has faced as a head coach. It is his 298th career game as a college head coach.

IN-STATE FCS FOES: Since the regular season was expanded to 12 games in 2006, the Gamecocks have hosted an in-state FCS opponent every year. They are 7-0 in those contests, defeating Wofford (2006, 2008, 2012), South Carolina State (2007, 2009), Furman (2010) and The Citadel (2011). Furman (2014) and The Citadel (2015) are on the Gamecocks’ schedule over the next two years with Coastal Carolina slated to return to Columbia in 2016.

BASKIN-ROBBINS WOULD BE PROUD: The Gamecocks have won 31-consecutive games against teams outside the BCS automatic qualifying conferences dating back to a 1999 loss to East Carolina.

STREAKING OUTSIDE THE SEC: The Gamecocks have taken care of business in recent years against non-conference opponents. A few of the current winning streaks:

South Carolina has won 12-straight games against non-conference opponents. It’s last non-conference loss came to Florida State in the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl.

South Carolina has won 18-straight regular-season games against non-conference opponents. The last regular-season non-conference loss came at Clemson in the 2008 regular-season finale.

South Carolina has won 16-straight home games against non-conference opponents. It’s last home loss to a non-conference team was to Clemson in the 2007 regular-season finale.

BOWL ELIGIBLE: South Carolina is 8-2 on the season and is bowl-eligible for the 10th-straight year. It’s the third-straight season that the Gamecocks have opened with eight wins in their first 10 games. Both the 2011 and `12 teams won their final three contests (including the bowl game) to finish 11-2.

GOOD HOME COOKIN’: The Gamecocks have established a new school record by winning their last 16 games at Williams-Brice Stadium. They are also 32-3 (.914 winning percentage) in their last 35 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’ 16-game home winning streak is the longest in the nation, two more than Ohio State and Stanford. Northern Illinois has won 25-straight games in its home stadium, but the NCAA considers its loss to Iowa at Chicago’s Soldier Field in the 2012 season opener as a “home” loss and credits them with a 10-game home winning streak.

TOP HOME STREAKS: The Gamecocks have won 16-straight home games, the longest streak in school history, surpassing the mark of 15 set from 1978-80.

PERFECT AT HOME: The Gamecocks are 5-0 at home this season. They 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 had gone undefeated at home prior to 2012 was in 1987. They have been undefeated and untied at home 10 times.

STILL IN THE HUNT: Carolina posted a 6-2 SEC mark for the third-straight season, something that had never been accomplished before 2011. With a win earlier this season over Missouri, the Gamecocks hold the tie-breaker over the SEC Eastern Division-leading Tigers. If Missouri loses either at Ole Miss or at home versus Texas A&M, South Carolina would represent the East in the SEC Championship for the second time in four years. This year’s game will be played in Atlanta on December 7 at 4 p.m. If Mizzou wins out, it would mark the third-consecutive year that Carolina would have defeated the Eastern Division champion. The winner of the “Iron Bowl” between top-ranked Alabama and Auburn will represent the West in the SEC Championship game.

INDIVIDUAL HONORS: Several Gamecocks are still in the hunt for postseason individual national honors. Quarterback Connor Shaw is one of 10 finalists for Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and is one of 16 semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien Award. Running back Mike Davis is one of 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is one of 12 semifinalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award.

THE LAST TIME OUT: The No. 11/12 Gamecocks rallied from a 14-6 halftime deficit to defeat the Florida Gators, 19-14, on Saturday, November 16, at Williams-Brice Stadium in front of a home season-high 83,853 fans. Elliott Fry booted a career-high four field goals and little-used tailback Shon Carson rushed for 102 yards on 13 carries, including a key fourth-quarter 58-yard burst that led to the game-winning points. Bruce Ellington scored Carolina’s only TD on a 32-yard pass from Connor Shaw in the third quarter. The Gamecock defense pitched a shutout in the second half, holding the Gators to 130 total yards over the final two periods.

FOUR FOR THE MONEY: True freshman walk-on placekicker Elliott Fry came up big for the Gamecocks in the win over Florida. The Frisco, Texas product converted four-of-five field goal attempts, including a career-long 45-yarder, as he tallied 13 of the Gamecocks’ 19 points on the night. Fry is now 14-of-17 on the season, hitting on 82.4 percent of his field goal attempts.

CARSON CITY: The Gamecocks got a big lift from little-used tailback Shon Carson in the win over Florida. Carson, a 5-8, 219-pound sophomore from Scranton, S.C., rushed 13 times for a career-high 102 yards against the Gators, including a key 58-yard burst from the Carolina 5-yard line in the fourth quarter, that led the game-winning field goal. Carson entered the game with just 114 rushing yards through the season’s first nine contests. It was his first career 100-yard game.

BEST OFFENSE IN HISTORY?: Carolina is averaging 448.5 yards per game of total offense, including 197.1 on the ground and 251.4 through the air. They are on pace to shatter the school record for average yards of total offense.

CHARTING THE DRIVES: Through six games, Carolina had been one of the best teams in the country in logging the fewest 3-and-outs, recording just seven in their first 60 drives. For the season, Carolina has been held to 3-and-out 24 times in 112 drives, 21.4 percent of the time. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks have scored on 52-of-112 drives, 46.4 percent, with 38 TDs.

BETTER THAN AVERAGE: The Carolina defense has held eight of its 10 opponents below their season scoring average, with five held double-digits below that average. Only Georgia and Kentucky have scored more against the Gamecocks than their season average. Overall, Carolina is holding its opponents to eight points less a game than they are accustomed to scoring.

THE GOLDEN AGE OF GAMECOCK FOOTBALL: The Gamecocks have put together back-to-back 11-win seasons, the first back-to-back double-digit win seasons in school history. The only previous 10-win campaign came in 1984. Entering the 2013 campaign, the Gamecocks had won 22 games over the past two seasons, 31 over the past three seasons, and 38 over the past four seasons, all school records. This year’s senior class has surpassed last year’s senior class for the most wins in a four-year period in school history with 39 victories.

WINNING NINE IS FINE: A win over Coastal Carolina would give the Gamecocks a nine-win season for the fourth-straight year. Prior to the current stretch, they had only won nine games twice in school history.

THE HEAD BALL COACH: Steve Spurrier is in his ninth season directing the Gamecock football program. He has logged a 74-39 mark (.655) in Columbia. The Head Ball Coach is Carolina’s winningest coach with 74 victories and is second in games coached with 113, behind Rex Enright (140). Coach Spurrier owns a 216-79-2 mark (.731) in 24 seasons as a collegiate head coach, with previous stops at Duke and Florida.

ATOP THE LIST: Steve Spurrier became the all-time winningest coach at Carolina in the 2012 the regular-season finale at Clemson, surpassing Rex Enright (64) for the most coaching wins in school history. He is also 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.

YES THEY CALL IT A STREAK: The Gamecocks are tied for the fifth-longest current streak of being ranked in the Associated Press’s Top 25. Carolina and Stanford have been ranked for 60-consecutive weeks, trailing only Alabama, LSU, Oregon and Oklahoma. Carolina’s streak started with the second week of the 2010 season and is the longest consecutive streak in school history.

LEADER OF THE PACK: Senior quarterback Connor Shaw is 24-5 as a starter, including a 15-0 mark at home. With 5,495 yards passing and 1,503 yards rushing, he became not only the first 4,000-1,000 yard player in school history, but the first 5,000-1,000. He is the school’s all-time leader in completion percentage at 65.0 percent, is second with 51 touchdown passes, and is fourth in total offense with 6,998 yards. Shaw has been named one of 16 semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award and is one of 10 finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

JUST WIN BABY: Connor Shaw became just the fifth quarterback at Carolina to record 20 or more wins as a starter. With the win over Florida, he has tied Todd Ellis’s school record of 24 career wins as the starting quarterback. Shaw easily has the best winning percentage of the QB’s with 20 or more wins with an 82.8 percent success rate.

BE LIKE MIKE: Sophomore running back Mike Davis has put together seven 100-yard rushing games this season, earning a midseason addition to the Maxwell Award watch list, and spots on Phil Steele’s midseason first-team All-SEC and third-team All-America squads. He became the 41st player in school history to reach the 1,000-yard plateau for his career. The Lithonia, Ga. product is the SEC’s leading rusher, averaging 111.2 yards per contest, is third in all-purpose yardage at 144.4 yards per game, and is tied for ninth in scoring at 6.0 points per game. Davis ranks 17th in the nation in both rushing and all-purpose yards. He has scored a touchdown in seven of 10 games this season with 10 TDs total.

STELLAR TIGHT ENDS: The Gamecocks are blessed with a pair of standout tight ends. Junior Rory “Busta” Anderson is an All-SEC candidate. He came into the season with eight touchdown receptions among his 22 career catches. Sophomore Jerell Adams averaged over 22 yards a catch on just four receptions last season, and has maintained that average this season. The two combined for six catches and 86 receiving yards in the win at Missouri.

SHARING THE WEALTH: The Gamecocks have used the team approach in stopping their opponents this season. Four players, Skai Moore (44), Jimmy Legree (41), Sharrod Golightly (41) and Brison Williams (40) have 40 tackles or more. An additional seven players have 30 or more stops.

FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE: Junior Kelcy Quarles, an All-SEC candidate, is reaping the benefits of the attention Clowney draws. Quarles leads the team and is fourth in the SEC in sacks (7.0) and leads the team and is third in the SEC in tackles for loss (11.0), surpassing his 2012 totals of 3.5 sacks and 8.0 TFLs. Fifth-year senior Chaz Sutton, who has spent the past two years backing up Clowney and Devin Taylor, logged 5.0 sacks last season. He is third on the team with 6.5 tackles for loss this season and has 18.0 in his career.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES: The Gamecocks have tallied 71 tackles for loss, an average of 7.1 tackles for loss per game, second in the SEC and 21st in the country, including a season-high 14 in the loss at Tennessee. 21 different players have contributed to the TFLs, led by Kelcy Quarles (11.0), Jadeveon Clowney (8.5), Chaz Sutton (6.5), Sharrod Golightly (6.0) and Jimmy Legree (5.5).

THE FRISCO KID: True freshman Elliott Fry walked on to the Gamecock squad this summer and earned the starting placekicking chores. The Frisco, Texas product is 14-for-17 in field goal attempts and has hit eight of his last nine attempts after making his first five attempts of the season. He connected on 2-of-3 at Missouri, hitting from 20-yards out in the fourth quarter then nailing the eventual game-winner in the second overtime from 40-yards away, earning SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. He was successful on both of his kicks against Mississippi State, including a then-season-long 44-yarder. His career-high four field goals against Florida, including a career-long 45-yarder, proved to be the difference in the game. He is sixth in the SEC in scoring among kickers, averaging 7.8 points per game. He became the first true freshman placekicker to kick in the Gamecocks’ season opener since Courtney Leavitt in 1996.

WHAT’S NEXT: The regular season will conclude with the annual Palmetto State Showdown with the Clemson Tigers (9-1) on Saturday, November 30, at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks will be looking to make it a school-record five-straight wins over their rivals from the ACC.