Oct. 31, 2014
|DATE:||Saturday, November 1|
|KICKOFF:||7:30 p.m. ET|
|STADIUM:||Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)|
|SERIES:||Tennessee leads 23-7-2|
|RADIO:||Flagship – 107.5 FM “The Game” & the IMG Network|
|GAME NOTES:||South Carolina | Tennessee|
|LIVE POST-GAME:||Gamecock All-Access|
|PARKING:||Game Day Parking|
|INFORMATION:||Game Day Information|
The South Carolina Gamecocks (4-4, 2-4 SEC) return home for another SEC Eastern Division battle when they host the Tennessee Volunteers (3-5, 0-4 SEC) on Saturday, November 1. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250) in Columbia. The game will be televised nationally on the SEC Network with Tom Hart and Matt Stinchcomb in the booth and Heather Mitts on the sidelines. Westwood One will also be on hand to broadcast the game nationally.
A South Carolina win over Tennessee would…
Snap the Gamecocks three-game conference losing streak. The Gamecocks have dropped their last three SEC games to Missouri, at Kentucky and at Auburn. The Gamecocks have not lost four-straight league games since dropping the last four of the 2007 season and the first two in 2008.
Give the Gamecocks victory No. 5 on the season and bring them to within just one win of becoming bowl eligible for a 10th-straight season.
Give the Gamecocks their fourth win in their last five meetings with the Volunteers. At one time, Tennessee held a 19-2-2 advantage in the all-time series, but Carolina has won five of the nine games contested since head coach Steve Spurrier took over the reins.
A LITTLE HISTORY: 2014 marks the 121st season of intercollegiate football at the University of South Carolina, dating back to 1892. It is the 108th-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 580-551-44. The Gamecocks were nine games under .500 until head coach Steve Spurrier took the reins in 2005, but are 38 games over since that time.
SEC HISTORY: 2014 marks South Carolina’s 23rd 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. Carolina was 37-66-1 (.361) in SEC action from 1992-2004, but is 43-35 (.551) in conference play since Coach Spurrier took the reins, including a 20-10 (.667) mark since 2011..
CAROLINA VS. TENNESSEE: This is the 33rd meeting in a series that dates back to 1903. Tennessee leads the all-time series, 23-7-2. The Vols are 8-5-2 all-time in Columbia and hold a 15-2 advantage in Knoxville. South Carolina has won three of the last four meetings, rolling up a 38-24 win in Williams-Brice Stadium in 2010, posting a 14-3 victory in Knoxville in 2011 and holding on for a 38-35 win in Columbia in 2012, before the Vols pulled out a last second 23-21 win last year in Knoxville. The Gamecocks’ three-game winning streak was their longest in the series. In fact, the Gamecocks had never defeated the Vols twice in a row before winning three-straight from 2010-12. Carolina has won four of the last six and five of the last nine contests. The Gamecocks defeated Tennessee three times in a 105-year period from 1903-2007 and won four times in a five-year period from 2008-2012. Two of South Carolina’s three overtime contests have come at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, a 23-20 setback in 2003 and a 27-24 loss in 2007.
THE HBC VS. THE VOLS: Steve Spurrier, who was raised in Johnson City, Tenn., owns a 14-9 record as a head coach against Tennessee, including a 5-4 mark at South Carolina. He owns an 8-2 record when playing the Vols in his home ballpark and is 6-7 in Knoxville. Tennessee is one of seven schools in which the HBC owns 10 or more wins. He also has double-digit wins over Vanderbilt (20-2), Kentucky (20-2), Georgia (16-6), LSU (11-4), Auburn (10-9) and South Carolina (10-1).
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: Michael Palardy connected on a 19-yard field goal as time expired to lift Tennessee to a 23-21 win over #11/9 South Carolina on Oct. 19, 2013 at in Knoxville. Tennessee controlled the first half, taking a 17-7 lead into intermission, but Carolina scored a pair of third-quarter TDs to take a four-point lead heading into the final stanza. Carolina’s offense struggled much of the day despite outgaining the Vols 384-325. Connor Shaw fumbled once and completed just 8-of-22 passes with his only interception of the season, but did complete a 76-yard scoring pass to Damiere Byrd. Mike Davis rushed 21 times for 137 yards and a score.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET HERE: No. 17/16 South Carolina came up with a pair of crucial defensive plays to hold off Tennessee in a 38-35 win in Columbia on Oct. 27, 2012. Jadeveon Clowney forced a fumble on a sack to end one fourth-quarter drive, then Victor Hampton sealed the win with an interception. The teams combined for 982 yards of offense, including 510 by Carolina. Connor Shaw completed 22-of-32 passes for a career-high 356 yards with three TDs. Justice Cunningham (108) and Bruce Ellington (101) each went over the 100-yard mark in receiving. The game was marred by a devastating season-ending knee injury to Marcus Lattimore.
SCORING HERE AND THERE: The Gamecock offense has had its way against Tennessee in each of the last three games played in Columbia, with Carolina tallying 27 in 2008, then 38 points in both the 2010 and 2012 wins, the most points they have scored in a game in the series history. However, on its last three trips to Knoxville, Carolina was held to 13, 14 and 21 points. The Gamecocks have scored at least 24 points in each of their last five home games against Tennessee, but have tallied more than 21 points just once in their 17 visits to Neyland Stadium.
LUCKY NUMBER 137: Mike Davis carried 21 times for 137 yards and a touchdown against the Volunteers last season. That’s the same number of yards that Brandon Wilds ran for on 28 carries against UT in the 2011 season.
GOOD HOME COOKIN’: The Gamecocks are 21-2 in their last 23 games at Williams-Brice Stadium and 37-5 (.881) in their last 42 home games. The Gamecocks had their school-record 18-game home winning streak, the longest in the nation, snapped in the 2014 season opener. The school’s previous longest home winning streak was 15 games, set from 1978-80. The only home losses since the start of the 2009 season have come to top-ranked Florida in 2009, to 17th-ranked Arkansas in 2010 and to defending national champion Auburn in 2011 before the 2014 home losses to Texas A&M and Missouri.
HOME CROWD ADVANTAGE: The Gamecocks have played in front of 11 sellouts in their last 12 home contests. The Gamecocks rank 15th in the nation in home attendance with an average of 81,914 per game, including a season-high 84,232 against Georgia, the fifth-largest crowd to attend a game in Columbia. Three of this year’s home crowds have figured in the top-30 all-time at Williams-Brice Stadium.
MAKING A POINT: The Gamecocks are on pace to score 457 points this season (35.1 ppg) if they play 13 games. That puts them ahead of the record-setting mark of 443 points scored, set last season. The school record for points per game is 36.5, set in 1995 in an 11-game season (401 total points).
THAT’S ANOTHER CAROLINA…: The Gamecocks lead the SEC in first downs with 206.
THE LAST TIME OUT: The Gamecocks went to the Plains and got into an old-fashioned shootout with the Auburn Tigers, falling to the nation’s fifth-ranked team, 42-35. The Gamecocks rolled up 535 yards of offense, including 416 through the air, but Auburn countered with 551 yards including 395 on the ground. Dylan Thompson tied a school record with five touchdown passes while throwing for a career-high 402 yards, the fifth-highest single-game mark in school history. He threw 50 passes in that contest, tying for the seventh-highest single-game mark in school history. Pharoh Cooper caught seven passes for a career-high 127 yards and two scores. Mike Davis carried 21 times for 88 yards and added six receptions for 85 yards and a score.
THAT’S A LOT OF O: The Gamecocks rolled up a season-high 548 yards against Furman and came back with 535 at Auburn. That is the fourth- and seventh-highest single-game totals in the Steve Spurrier Era at Carolina. The Gamecocks have gone over the 500-yard mark in three-consecutive games and 14 times total under the HBC.
HALF A GRAND: The Gamecocks totaled 500 yards at Kentucky, then collected a season-high 548 yards against Furman before rolling up 535 at Auburn. Logging 500 yards of offense in three-straight games has only happened twice previously – first in 1987, then again in 1995. The Gamecocks have never had four-consecutive games with 500 yards of offense.
THAT TIES A RECORD: Dylan Thompson became the sixth player in Carolina history and the first since Syvelle Newton in 2006 to throw five touchdowns in a game when he accomplished the feat on his birthday at Auburn.
JUST GO FOR IT: The Gamecocks faced seven fourth-down situations at Auburn. They punted once, but went for it on the other six occasions, converting five for first downs. Interestingly, four of the fourth down plays came inside South Carolina territory, all between the 33- and 40-yard lines. All four of those were converted into first downs. The Gamecocks are 10-for-14 on fourth-down conversions this season. Both the 14 attempts and 10 conversions lead the SEC.
RARE KICK: The Gamecocks recovered their own onside kick in the third quarter at Auburn, courtesy of kickoff specialist Landon Ard and recovered by Skai Moore. It was the first time they executed that feat since Nov. 3, 2007 at Arkansas.
FINISH STRONG: The Gamecocks have four regular season games remaining – vs. Tennessee, at Florida, vs. South Alabama and at Clemson. They need two wins to secure their 10th-straight bowl eligible season. The Gamecocks have been a strong closer of late. They won the final four games of the 2011 season, the final five games of the 2012 season and a school-best six-consecutive wins to close the 2013 season.
THROWIN’ IN THE WIND: Fifth-year senior Dylan Thompson has taken virtually every meaningful snap for the Gamecocks this season. Thompson, a 6-3, 218-pounder from Boiling Springs, S.C., waited patiently for his turn behind Connor Shaw, the winningest quarterback in school history. It’s already been a big year for Thompson, as he proposed marriage to his girlfriend at midfield in August. Thompson is 7-4 as a starter, is one of only 13 players in school history to throw for over 3,000 yards and one of only 10 players to throw for over 4,000 yards. He has thrown for over 300 yards in a game on four occasions and has thrown at least three touchdown passes in a game four times.
THOMPSON IN 2014: Dylan Thompson has completed 60.8 percent of his passes this season (175-for-288) for 2,241 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He ranks second in the SEC and 20th in the country in passing yards per game (280.1). He is sixth in the SEC in total offense at 277.5 yard per game. His best game came when he threw for a career-high 402 yards with a career-high and school record-tying five touchdown passes at Auburn. The 402 yards ranks as the fifth-best single-game performance in school history.
WHAT A PACE: Senior quarterback Dylan Thompson is on pace for a record-setting season. He has thrown for 2,241 yards (280.1 yards per game) and 20 touchdowns (2.5 per game) through eight games. He is second in the SEC and 12th in the country in TD passes.
BE LIKE MIKE: Junior tailback Mike Davis is playing like the player that earned preseason All-America recognition. The 5-9, 223-pounder from Atlanta, Ga., logged the fourth-most single-season rushing yards in school history last season when he rambled for 1,183 yards with 11 touchdowns. This year, he has four 100-yard rushing games, posting an 18-carry, 101-yard, 2 TD effort against East Carolina, carrying 22 times for 104 yards and a score against Missouri, going for a career-high 183 yards on 23 carries with three scores at Kentucky, then rumbling for 111 yards and 2 TDs on 18 carries against Furman. For the season, he has rushed 142 times for 750 yards and a team-high eight scores. He is sixth in the SEC in rushing yards per game at 93.8. In his third season at Carolina, he became the 16th player in school history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a career. Davis is the younger brother of former Clemson standout James Davis.
A SOLID SIX-PACK: Mike Davis has logged 11 100-yard rushing games in his career, tying him with Brandon Bennett, Harold Green and Marcus Lattimore for second on the all-time list behind only George Rogers.
NOTHING CATCHY ABOUT THIS: The Gamecocks feature four wide receivers that receive the bulk of the action:
Sophomore Pharoh Cooper (5-11, 201) was an All-SEC Freshman selection last season as both an all-purpose back and return specialist. He is the Gamecocks’ top pass catcher with 40 receptions (5.0/game, T4th in the SEC), with 553 receiving yards (69.1/game, 5th in the SEC) and with six touchdown receptions. He had a breakout game at Vanderbilt, catching 10 passes for 114 yards, both career highs. He surpassed his yards mark with a seven-catch, 127-yard, 2 TD effort at Auburn. He has also seen action at the “Wildcat” position, rushing 12 times for 106 yards, and handles the punt return duties. He has two carries in his career of 70 yards or more.
Fifth-year senior Nick “Governor Nicky” Jones (5-7, 168), has been consistent and sometimes overlooked throughout his Carolina career. He just has a knack for getting open and catching the ball. He logged the first 100-yard receiving game of his career against Texas A&M, catching five passes for a career-best 113 yards and two scores, including a 69-yard TD reception. He is second on the squad in receptions (31), receiving yards (406) and touchdown receptions (4).
Junior Shaq Roland (6-1, 176), a former “Mr. Football” in the state of South Carolina (following in the footsteps of Stephon Gilmore, Marcus Lattimore and Jadeveon Clowney), is the most gifted of the receiving corps. He came on strong at the end of his sophomore season, posting a career-high 112 receiving yards on six catches in the 2014 Capital One Bowl win over Wisconsin. He had a career-high seven catches for 94 yards against East Carolina. He has 21 catches for 300 yards and four scores this season.
Senior Damiere Byrd (5-9, 170) is the fastest Gamecock and one of the fastest players in the SEC. He has eight career receptions of 40 yards or more, including a 46-yard TD catch against Texas A&M, is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, is a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy and was a captain on the Gamecocks’ track & field squad. He had four catches at Kentucky, doubling his season total, while two of his 10 receptions have gone for touchdowns.
CANN DO: Senior left guard A.J. Cann made his 46th career start at Auburn. He is third on the all-time list and one of only 11 players in school history to make 40 or more starts for the Garnet & Black. He is expected to tie Cliff Matthews for second on the all-time list this week against Tennessee.
THE FRISCO KID: Elliott Fry continues to be a bright spot. A midseason first-team All-SEC selection by Phil Steele, Fry missed his only field goal attempt in the opener against A&M (from 54 yards out) and hasn’t missed since, converting all 12 of his attempts, just three shy of the school record, set by Collin Mackie. He went 4-for-4 against East Carolina, matching his career-best performance, and accounting for 15 points while earning SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. He leads the SEC with 12 field goals and is seventh in the country with a 92.3 percent field goal accuracy. He is second in the league in points scored by kicking, averaging 8.9 points per game. Fry walked on to the Gamecock squad last summer and earned the starting placekicking chores. The Frisco, Texas product who also deals with Type 1 diabetes, went 15-for-18 in field goal attempts and was successful on 54-of-55 extra point attempts for a team-leading 99 points, earning Freshman All-SEC accolades. The point total was the fourth-highest single-season mark in school history. He has made a school record 83 consecutive extra points.
HULL OF A PUNTER: Senior Tyler Hull handles the punting chores for Carolina for a third-straight season. He averaged 39.4 yards as a sophomore and 37.8 yards as a junior. He is having his best season to date, punting 24 times for a 42.6-yard average, which ranks eighth in the SEC.
EVERY TIME OUT: The Gamecocks have had seven players start every game this season. On offense, LT Corey Robinson, LG A.J. Cann, RT Brandon Shell and QB Dylan Thompson have made every start. On defense, DT J.T. Surratt, DB Brison Williams and S T.J. Gurley have been starters in each contest.
UP NEXT: South Carolina will enjoy their second and final bye week of the season next week before they wrap up their 2014 SEC slate at Florida on Saturday, November 18.