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Nov. 21, 2014


DATE: Saturday, November 22
LOCATION: Columbia, S.C.
STADIUM: Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
SERIES: First Meeting
RADIO: Flagship – 107.5 FM “The Game” & the IMG Network
GAME NOTES: South Carolina | South Alabama
LIVE POST-GAME: Gamecock All-Access
PARKING: Game Day Parking
INFORMATION: Game Day Information

It’s Senior Day for the South Carolina Gamecocks (5-5, 3-5 SEC) as they host the South Alabama Jaguars (6-4, 5-3 Sun Belt) in the final home game of the 2014 season. Game time is set for noon ET at Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250). Fox Sports Net will televise the game, with Bob Rathbun and Tim Couch in the booth and Olivia Harlan working the sidelines.

A South Carolina win over South Alabama would…
Make the Gamecocks bowl-eligible for the 10th-consecutive year.

Extend the Gamecocks’ winning streak over teams from outside the BCS automatic qualifying/Power 5 conferences to 36 consecutive games. Carolina’s last loss to a team outside that top tier came against East Carolina in 1999.

Extend the Gamecocks’ winning streak against non-conference opponents to 18-straight games overall and its regular season non-conference streak to 23-straight games.

Extend Carolina’s home winning streak against non-conference opponents to 21-straight games.

Give head coach Steve Spurrier a perfect 52-0 record against teams outside the BCS/Power 5.

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 581-552-44. 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 44-36 (.550) in conference play since Coach Spurrier took the reins, including a 21-11 (.656) mark since 2011.

SALUTING THE SENIORS: The Gamecocks have 17 seniors playing in their final game at Williams-Brice Stadium. The list includes: Rory Anderson, Damiere Byrd, A.J. Cann, Ryland Culbertson, Jordan Diaz, Patrick Fish, Cody Gibson, Sharrod Golightly, Tyler Hull, Nick Jones, Kadetrix Marcus, Connor McLaurin, Sidney Rhodes, Corey Robinson, J.T Surratt, Dylan Thompson and Brison Williams. In addition, several players with a year of eligibility remaining are slated to participate in “Senior Day” including Mike Davis, Austin Hails, Coleman Harley, Matthew Harvey and Drew Owens.

WHAT THEY’VE DONE: This year’s senior class has been part of 38 wins and three bowl victories over the past four seasons.

CAROLINA VS. SOUTH ALABAMA: This is the first meeting on the gridiron between these two schools.

THE HBC VS. SOUTH ALABAMA: Steve Spurrier has never faced South Alabama. This will mark the 67th different school that the HBC has faced during his 25-year career.

NON-CONFERENCE WINS: South Carolina has won 17-straight games against non-conference opponents. Its last non-conference loss came to Florida State in the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl. Since that loss they have defeated East Carolina (three times), Navy, The Citadel, Clemson (three times), Nebraska, UAB, Wofford, Michigan, North Carolina, UCF, Coastal Carolina, Wisconsin and Furman.

REGULAR SEASON NON-CON WINS: The Gamecocks have posted 22-consecutive regular season victories against non-conference opponents, dating back to the start of the 2009 season. Over the past six seasons, Carolina has logged regular season non-conference wins over Clemson (5 times), East Carolina (3 times), North Carolina State, Florida Atlantic, South Carolina State, Southern Miss, Furman, Troy, Navy, The Citadel, UAB, Wofford, North Carolina, Central Florida, Coastal Carolina and Furman.

NON-CON WINS AT HOME: South Carolina has won 20-straight home games against non-conference opponents. The last home loss to a non-conference team was to Clemson in the 2007 regular-season finale.

THE STREAK LIVES ON: The Gamecocks have won 35-consecutive games against teams outside the BCS automatic qualifying/Power 5 conferences dating back to a 1999 loss to East Carolina.

PERFECT RECORD: Head coach Steve Spurrier is a perfect 51-0 all-time against schools outside of BCS automatic qualifying/Power 5 conferences, including a 25-0 mark since coming to Carolina.

GOOD HOME COOKIN’: The Gamecocks are 21-3 in their last 24 games at Williams-Brice Stadium and 37-6 (.860) in their last 43 home games. The Gamecocks had their school-record 18-game home winning streak 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, Missouri and Tennessee.

HOME CROWD ADVANTAGE: The Gamecocks have played in front of 12 sellouts in their last 13 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.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: The Gamecocks dropped four conference games by a total of 18 points. In each case, the opponent scored the winning points in the fourth quarter or in overtime.

MAKING A POINT: The Gamecocks are on pace to score 450 points this season (34.6 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).

FINISH STRONG: The Gamecocks have two regular season games remaining – vs. South Alabama and at Clemson. They need one win 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.

THE LAST TIME OUT: The Gamecocks won in Gainesville for just the second time in school history, posting a dramatic 23-20 overtime win over the Florida Gators last Saturday. Carolina scored on its first two possessions to take a 10-0 lead. The Gators tied it up before intermission, then took a 17-10 lead late in the third. With just over three minutes left in the contest, Florida looked to secure the win, but Gerald Dixon Jr. blocked a field goal attempt, keeping it a one-score game. The Gamecocks turned the ball over on downs on their next possession, but the defense held and forced a Florida punt with 46 seconds on the clock. Carlton Heard came through the line untouched and blocked the punt, setting up one final chance. Dylan Thompson found Mike Davis on a 27-yard pass, then four plays later pitched to Davis, who was unable to handle it cleanly, but fell on the ball in the endzone with 12 seconds left to send the game into overtime. Florida kicked a field goal on its possession before Thompson ran it in from four yards out for the game-winner. The game was mostly controlled by the two defenses, as Carolina produced 301 yards on 80 plays, while Florida garnered just 278 yards on 60 plays, including only 60 yards through the air. The 278 yards allowed was a season-low for the Gamecock defense. Jonathan Walton and Skai Moore each had a dozen tackles to pace the Carolina D.

BLOCK THAT KICK: The Gamecocks blocked a pair of kicks in the last four minutes at Florida to save the day. First, Gerald Dixon Jr. was credited with a blocked field goal attempt, then Carlton Heard blocked a punt, setting up the game-winning score. It was the Gamecocks first blocked punt since Devin Taylor had one against NC State in 2009. The Gamecocks have blocked four kicks this season.

THAT’S ANOTHER CAROLINA…: The Gamecocks lead the SEC in first downs per game, averaging 25.1 first downs each contest. With 251 first downs through 10 games, the Gamecocks are well on their way to breaking the school record of 291, set last season.

JUST GO FOR IT: The Gamecocks have converted 11-of-18 fourth-down conversion attempts this season. The 11 conversions lead the SEC, while the 18 tries is even with Ole Miss behind only Kentucky (20). The Gamecocks nearly pulled off the upset at Auburn when they went for it on six-of-seven fourth down situations, converting five, four of which came inside South Carolina territory, all between the 33- and 40-yard lines.

THAT SETS A RECORD: Elliott Fry has set the school record for consecutive extra points made with 91. He made his first six as a true freshman before missing at Georgia last season. He hit his final 48 of the 2013 season and has connected on all 43 this season. Fry broke Scott Hagler’s mark of 82, set from 1984-86.

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 8-5 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 five occasions and has thrown at least three touchdown passes in a game four times.

THOMPSON IN 2014: Dylan Thompson has completed 60.1 percent of his passes this season (217-for-361) for 2,794 yards with 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. According to the NCAA, he ranks first in the SEC and 18th in the country in passing yards per game (279.4), is third in the SEC and 33rd in the country in total offense per game (276.1), and his 22 TD passes ranks second in the SEC and 18th in the country. His best game came when he threw for 402 yards, the fifth-best single-game performance in school history, with a school record-tying five touchdown passes at Auburn.

SIX WITH FIVE: 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.

BE LIKE MIKE: Junior tailback Mike Davis is playing more like the player that earned preseason All-America recognition. The 5-9, 223-pounder from Atlanta, Ga., has rushed 173 times for 875 yards and a team-high nine rushing scores. He is sixth in the SEC in rushing yards per game at 87.5 and is tied for ninth in touchdowns with 10. 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. He logged the fourth-most single-season rushing yards in school history last season when he rambled for 1,183 yards with 11 touchdowns. 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.

IN ELITE COMPANY: 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.

RUNNING WILDS: Junior Brandon Wilds (6-2, 230) has logged 479 yards on 83 attempts this season, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. He became the 42nd player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in his career. As a true freshman in 2011, he posted three 100-yard rushing games as a freshman, including a then-career-high 137 against Tennessee, but was injured much of his sophomore campaign. He likes to run against the Vols, as he posted a career-high 143-yard, two-touchdown effort on just eight carries against Tennessee this season for his fourth-career 100-yard game, including a career-best 70-yard burst.

THESE FOUR ARE CATCHING ON: The Gamecocks feature four wide receivers that receive the bulk of the action:

An All-SEC Freshman selection last season as both an all-purpose back and return specialist, Pharoh Cooper is the Gamecocks’ top pass catcher with 55 receptions (5.5/game, 2nd in the SEC), for 826 receiving yards (82.6/game, 2nd in the SEC) and eight TDs. He had a breakout game at Vanderbilt, catching 10 passes for 114 yards, surpassed that with a seven-catch, 127-yard, 2 TD effort at Auburn, then went for a career-high 11 receptions for a school record 223 yards and two scores against Tennessee.

Fifth-year senior Nick “Governor Nicky” Jones has been consistent and sometimes overlooked throughout his career. He just has a knack for getting open and catching the ball. He logged his first 100-yard receiving game against Texas A&M, catching five passes for a 113 yards and two scores, including a 69-yard TD reception. He is second on the squad in receptions (35), receiving yards (433) and TD receptions (4).

Junior Shaq Roland is a former “Mr. Football” in the state of South Carolina, following in the footsteps of Stephon Gilmore, Marcus Lattimore and Jadeveon Clowney. He came on strong at the end of the 2013 season, posting a career-high 112 receiving yards in the 2014 Capital One Bowl win over Wisconsin. This season, he had a career-high seven catches for 94 yards against East Carolina and has 23 catches for 330 yards and four scores.

Senior Damiere Byrd (5-9, 170) is the fastest Gamecock. He has eight career receptions of 40 yards or more, including a 46-yard TD catch against Texas A&M, is a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, is a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy and was a captain on the Gamecocks’ track & field squad. This season he had four catches at Kentucky, while two of his 14 receptions have gone for touchdowns.

TOUTING THE TIGHT ENDS: Senior Rory “Busta” Anderson suffered a torn triceps muscle in the win over Furman, but returned last week against Florida. He is an All-SEC candidate and is on the John Mackey Midseason Watch List. Anderson has averaged 15.7 yards per catch with nine TDs in his career. Junior Jerell Adams picked up the slack in Anderson’s absence. Adams has hauled in 14 passes in the last four games. Adams has averaged 16.8 yards per catch with four scores in his career. He had the best game of his career against Furman, with three catches for 91 yards, including a 45-yard TD.

CANN DO: Senior left guard A.J. Cann made his 48th career start against Florida. He is second on the Gamecocks’ all-time list behind only T.J. Johnson.

THE SKAI’S THE LIMIT: Skai Moore, a 6-2, 213-pounder from Cooper City, Fla., led the Gamecocks in both tackles (56) and interceptions (4) as a true freshman in 2013, despite starting just four games. This season, he is tied for the team lead in tackles (63) and was named to Phil Steele’s Midseason All-SEC second team. He has led the team in tackles four times with seven stops against East Carolina, a career-best 10 vs. Georgia, nine more tackles at Kentucky and eight at Auburn. He sat out the Tennessee game with sprained ankle.

LEADER IN THE SECONDARY: Senior Brison Williams is the unquestioned leader in the secondary. The 5-11, 208-pound senior from Warner Robins, Ga., has played both safety positions during his Gamecock career, and has spent the bulk of the 2014 season at cornerback. He has started 34 times in his career. He has 27 tackles, including 21 solo stops, owns two of the team’s five interceptions and has a team-high five pass breakups. He turned the Vandy game around with his 53-yard interception return for a touchdown.

PICK THIS: The Gamecocks intercepted 18 passes a season ago, led by linebacker Skai Moore’s four INTs. They have five this season, two against East Carolina, Brison Williams’ pick-six at Vanderbilt, one against Furman and one vs. Tennessee.

THE FRISCO KID: Elliott Fry a midseason first-team All-SEC selection by Phil Steele, missed his only field goal attempt in the opener against A&M (from 54 yards out) before hitting each of his next 12 attempts, three shy of the school record, set by Collin Mackie. Two of the Lou Groza semifinalist’s misses have come from beyond 50 yards. 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 is third in the SEC with 13 field goals and is third in the league in points scored by kicking, averaging 8.2 per game. Fry walked on to the 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 hit 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 91 consecutive extra points.

HULL OF A PUNTER: Senior Tyler Hull, who was on the Ray Guy Watch List, 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 32 times for a 41.5-yard average, which ranks ninth in the SEC.

EVERY TIME OUT: The Gamecocks have had six 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, and DB Brison Williams have been starters in each contest.

UP NEXT: South Carolina will wrap up the 2014 regular season when the annual Palmetto Bowl between the Gamecocks and Tigers gets renewed on Saturday, November 29, at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium. The Gamecocks will be looking to extend its school-record winning streak in the series to six games over their instate rivals from the ACC.