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November 30, 2008: A Familiar Story Repeats as Gamecocks Lose to Clemson
 
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- James Davis ran for three touchdowns to lift Clemson to a 31-14 victory over South Carolina.

It was two years ago after South Carolina's 31-28 victory here Spurrier said it was the kind of win he could build on. Instead, he fell to 1-3 against his state rivals.

Clemson fans celebrated and chanted "Da-Bo!" and "Da-Bo Swin-ney!" as the clock wound down on the 10th victory over their rivals in the past 12 seasons.

It didn't start that way as South Carolina's defense got going fast, Chris Culliver jarring the ball free from Spiller less than three minutes in.

Chris Clemons intercepted Smelley early in the second quarter and Cullen Harper made the Gamecocks pay with his long touchdown pass to Ford.

Harper, on his knees, pumped his fists and Swinney leaped into the arms of former Gamecocks coach and current Clemson offensive line coach Brad Scott for a bear hug.

It wasn't long before Smelley's next mistake and Clemson's next touchdown.

Safety Michael Hamlin stepped in front of Smelley's throw on the following drive as Spurrier stood with arms folded.

It took only three plays for the Tigers to capitalize, Davis rushing around the left side for a 20-yard TD.

South Carolina closed things to 24-14 on touchdown receptions of 16 yards to Patrick DiMarco and 23-yards to Weslye Saunders.

Davis regained momentum for Clemson two series later with his 2-yard touchdown run.

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November 18, 2008: Tables Turned as Spurrier, Gamecocks Get Blown Out in the Swamp
 
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP)--The Head Ball Coach never experienced anything like this at Florida Field.

Not as a player. Not as a coach. Not even as an opponent.

Percy Harvin ran for a career-high 167 yards and two touchdowns, Tim Tebow accounted for three scores and No. 3 Florida thrashed 24th-ranked South Carolina 56-6 Saturday, handing Steve Spurrier his worst loss in 90 games at The Swamp.

The Gators won their sixth in a row, finished unbeaten in the SOUTHeastern Conference Eastern Division and kept their national title hopes alive by beating the Gamecocks for the 16th time in the last 17 years. The 50-point drubbing was South Carolina's worst loss since falling 63-7 to Spurrier's Gators in 1995.

Not even a few visor tosses would have helped Spurrier in this one.

Florida (9-1, 7-1) scored three touchdowns in eight plays in the first quarter, capitalizing on three consecutive turnovers by South Carolina (7-4, 4-4), and put the game away when Harvin went 80 yards for a score on the opening play of the third.

Brandon Spikes started Florida's scoring barrage when he intercepted Chris Smelley's pass - the quarterback was under heavy pressure from linebacker Brandon Hicks - and returned it 12 yards for a touchdown.

Two plays later, Hicks tipped Smelley's pass in the flat. Ahmad Black picked that one off, and Harvin darted up the middle for a 26-yard score on the next snap.

Smelley finished 13-of-24 for 92 yards. He alternated plays with Stephen Garcia, but neither one was effective. Garcia was 6-of-13 for 28 yards with an interception.

The Gamecocks tried a little trickery on the ensuing kickoff, but Dion Lecorn's lateral across the field went over Chris Hail's outstretched arms. Florida's James Smith scooped it up at the 3 and nearly scored. Hail tackled him just shy of the goal line.

Tebow took it from there, scoring his 11th rushing touchdown of the season and putting the Gators ahead 21-0.

Tebow made it 28-0 in the second when he hooked up with Deonte Thompson for a 46-yard score down the sideline. The Heisman Trophy winner finished 13-of-20 passing for 173 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 14 times for 39 yards. He added a 5-yard TD pass to Aaron Hernandez on the first play of the fourth, then turned things over to backup John Brantley the rest of the way.

Tebow didn't trounce South Carolina's defense like he did a year ago, when he had 120 yards rushing and a school-record five touchdowns to go along with 304 yards passing and two more scores in the 51-31 victory. He didn't have to, either.

Harvin did that. The speedster didn't play in Columbia last year because of migraine headaches, but handed the Gamecocks two games worth of frustration Saturday.

He ran just eight times, but averaged 20.9 yards a carry and surpassed his previous career high (165 yards) set against Michigan in the Capital One Bowl in January.

It was somewhat surprising since Spurrier brought the nation's third-ranked defense to Gainesville. South Carolina led the SEC in total defense, allowing just 256.5 yards a game, and ranked third in scoring defense (15.6 points a game) and second against the run (101.4 yards a game).

The Gamecocks had surrendered 12 rushing touchdowns all season; Florida scored five times on the ground. They hadn't given up more than 24 points in any game, and all three of their losses were by seven points.

Spurrier's record at Florida Field had been even more impressive.

He was 13-2 as a player with the Gators (1964-66), 68-5 as Florida's coach (1990-2001) and 0-1 with the Gamecocks (2006). His only double-digit loss in Gainesville came in 1993, when rival and eventual national champion Florida State beat his Gators 33-21.

Rest easy, Coach, you're not alone.

The Gators have outscored opponents 299-63 in their six-game winning streak and have been even more dominant in the first quarter. They have outscored Arkansas, LSU, Kentucky, Georgia, Vanderbilt and SOUTH CAROLINA by a combined 101-0 in the opening 15 minutes.

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November 9, 2008: Two QB System Works as USC Defeats Arkansas 34-21
 

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)--Steve Spurrier shuffled things up again Saturday, alternating quarterbacks Stephen Garcia and Chris Smelley most of the way in South Carolina's 34-21 victory over Arkansas.

The Gamecocks (7-3, 4-3) have won four of their past five Southeastern Conference games since starting 0-2 in the league, snapped a two-game losing streak to Arkansas (4-6, 1-5) and put themselves in position for a New Year's Day bowl game.

And they did it through one of the South Carolina coach's quirkiest trademarks.

The former Heisman Trophy winner is known for being tough on quarterbacks. Only a short time after freshman Stephen Garcia threw two touchdowns to bring South Carolina its first home win over Tennessee in 16 years last week, Spurrier complained that Garcia wasn't ready to run the offense.

Spurrier kept everyone guessing about the quarterbacks this week, only saying he planned to play both. No one figured he meant every other snap.

Smelley got first chance, overthrowing receiver Jason Barnes. Then Garcia entered and hit Kenny McKinley with a 30-yard pass to the Arkansas 14. After Smelley was incomplete on the next play, Garcia rushed past the Razorbacks for a touchdown.

Spurrier kept up the pattern much of the opening period: Smelley, a sophomore, would start the sequence, with Garcia coming in every other play.

The two shared time in leading a drive that ended with Ryan Succop's 54-yard field goal--missing the senior's career mark by a yard.

It was Smelley who found tight end Jared Cook for a 66-yard touchdown pass and a 17-7 lead.

It's far from the first time Spurrier's gone through such QB issues. The most famous coming the season after Florida's national title in 1996, when Spurrier rotated Gator passers Doug Johnson and Noah Brindise. The result? A satisfying 32-29 victory over rival Florida State.

Down 20-7, Arkansas got back into it with a 15-play, 8 minute drive that ended with Casey Dick's 4-yard TD throw to Mitchell Bailey.

Dick had the Razorbacks driving again moments later when defensive end Jordin Lindsey stretched up to snag the interception and take it 40 yards to the Arkansas 15.

On Garcia's play, he lofted a pretty pass into the waiting hands of McKinley to put the Gamecocks up 27-14.

Smelley was more productive at 9 of 19 for 148 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Garcia was 4 of 11 for 71 yards and an interception for South Carolina's lone turnover.

McKinley had seven catches for 130 yards and, with 2,602 yards, surpassed Sterling Sharpe as the school's career yardage leader.

South Carolina was run over by Arkansas and its backfield stars of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones the past two years. McFadden had one of last season's top performances, rushing for 321 yards in Arkansas' 48-36 win over the Gamecocks.

But with McFadden and Jones both gone to the NFL, South Carolina's SEC-leading defense bottled up Arkansas.

Dick had three interceptions and Arkansas was sacked six times. The Razorbacks rushed for 54 yards.

It didn't help when Michael Smith, the SEC leader at 123 yards a game, left with a shoulder injury right before halftime. He had just 25 yards on seven carries.

The Razorbacks, who upended 19th-ranked Tulsa a week ago, have lost six of their past eight games in coach Bobby Petrino's first season.

Arkansas tried an onside kick in the final minutes after drawing within 34-21 and players from both sides threw punches. Gamecock safety Chris Culliver, a starter, was ejected.

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November 2, 2008: Gamecocks Dominate Volunteers
 
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Freshman Stephen Garcia threw two touchdown passes and South Carolina piled on the problems for Tennessee and embattled coach Phil Fulmer with a 27-6 victory on Saturday night.

The victory was just the fourth over the Vols for the Gamecocks (6-3, 3-3 Southeastern Conference), who sent Tennessee (3-6, 1-5) to its second losing SEC record in the past four seasons.

A big reason was the heady play of Garcia, who passed for 139 yards and his two scoring throws before a third-quarter knee injury sent him to the sidelines.

Gamecocks players ran to the student section when it was over, celebrating their first win over the Vols at home in 16 years.

Just a year ago, the 4-3 Vols faced South Carolina and used a dramatic 27-24 OT victory to start a five-game win streak. Tennessee won the SEC Eastern Division, won 10 games and the pressure surrounding Fulmer eased a bit.

Fulmer probably won't be so lucky this time.

Tennessee's stagnant offense had no solution for South Carolina's top-rated SEC defense.

And no one was stopping Garcia, not even an old Kentucky linebacker turned umpire. That's right, Wilbur Hackett Jr., who became an Internet sensation for his forearm-leading hit on Garcia two weeks ago in a loss to LSU here, was back at Williams-Brice Stadium as umpire.

Hackett stayed contact-free this time, although he had to duck to avoid Garcia's line-drive throw to Mike Davis on South Carolina's first TD.

Garcia, starting his second career game, went 4-for-4 for 80 yards on the drive, ended by the 12-yard pass to Davis.

Gamecocks cornerback Stoney Woodson jumped in front of Nick Stephens' pass and took it 68 yards for a touchdown to give South Carolina, at 14-0, its largest lead ever over the Vols in 16 years in the SEC.

The interception was Stephens' first of his career and Tennessee's first turnover in 193 snaps. The Vols didn't take nearly that long for their next one.

A play later, tailback Lennon Creer fumbled after catching a pass from Stephens' replacement, Jonathan Crompton, and Captain Munnerlyn returned it to the Vols' 4.

Garcia hit Kenny McKinley on a slant pattern for an all-too-easy score and a 21-0 lead.

Things were ugly for the Vols.

Stephens and Crompton were sacked six times and Tennessee was held under 10 points for the third time this season, a first in the Fulmer era.

The highlight might have been the career-long 71-yard punt of Britton Colquitt, the latest in the line of kicking Colquitts for Tennessee.

The Vols finished with minus-2 yards rushing in the opening half and their most productive play was a completion intended for Gerald Jones that bounced off him and landed in Arian Foster's hands for a 26-yard gain.

That drive would end soon enough, along with the Vols' chances of resuscitating an SEC season gone wrong.

Tennessee's third-quarter TD on Arian Foster's 1-yard leap averted an end to their streak of scoring in every game, which coincidently began 1994 after Spurrier's Gators blanked Fulmer and the Vols' 31-0.

A humbler Spurrier has sidestepped most questions this week about Fulmer's future, unlike the jabs "Darth Visor" routinely threw the Vols' way in the 1990s.

The way the Gamecocks dominated the Vols didn't leave much to say.

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October 22, 2008:  Garcia, Gamecocks Fall Short in Upset Bid Over LSU
 
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Jarrett Lee went 16-of-26 for 189 yards and LSU held South Carolina to minus-7 yards in the fourth quarter and the No. 13 Tigers beat the Gamecocks 24-17 on Saturday night.

LSU (5-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) took the lead for good on Charles Scott's 2-yard touchdown run with 4:16 to go. It capped a grinding, 83-yard drive that took more than six minutes off the clock.

Then Curtis Taylor picked off Stephen Garcia two plays later, souring an otherwise remarkable game for the freshman, who accounted for 230 of 254 yards for South Carolina (5-3, 2-3) in his first career start.

The Tigers had a season-best six sacks. The last one ended South Carolina's final drive into LSU territory and prompted Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier to drop his headset on the ground and kick it. LSU held South Carolina to 42 total yards in the second half after allowing two touchdowns in the final 2:28 of the first half.

The Tigers bounced back from a 30-point loss to fifth-ranked Florida last week and still control their own destiny in the SEC West. They haven't lost back-to-back games since 2002 and host No. 10 Georgia next week.

LSU trailed by a touchdown at halftime and failed to get a first down in its first two drives of the second half. But the Tigers finally got going late in the third quarter as Andrew Hatch, who usually comes in for running plays, rolled right, then threw back to a wide open Ricky Dixon for a 6-yard touchdown that tied the game at 17 with 44 seconds left in the third quarter.

Keiland Williams led LSU with 72 yards on 15 carries, while Scott, the SEC's third-leading rusher coming into the game, ran for 61 yards on 16 carries. Demetrius Byrd caught three passes for 65 yards.

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for South Carolina. Spurrier's Gamecocks have now lost at least three SEC games in all four of his seasons. Only once in his 12 years in Florida did his teams lose three league games.

Garcia was 14-of-26 for 215 yards with a touchdown. He also carried the ball 19 times for 15 yards. The Gamecocks had just 39 yards rushing. Kenny McKinley caught four passes for 77 yards and tight end Jared Cook had five receptions for 74 yards.

With LSU up 10-3, South Carolina scored two touchdowns in the final 2:28 of the first half. Garcia led the Gamecocks on a four-play drive highlighted by the freshman's 41-yard throw to McKinley and a 26-yard TD pass to tight end Weslye Saunders.

On LSU's next play, Lee threw an interception that Carlos Thomas returned 46 yards to the Tigers 8. Mike Davis then barely fell into the end zone on fourth-and-1 to give the Gamecocks a 17-10 halftime lead.

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October 12, 2008: Garcia, Munnerlyn Lead the Gamecocks to Key Road Win
 
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)--Captain Munnerlyn returned a blocked field goal 81 yards for a touchdown and set up another score with an 84-yard kickoff return as South Carolina defeated Kentucky 24-17 Saturday, improving Steve Spurrier's record to 16-0 against the Wildcats.

South Carolina (5-2, 2-2) won its ninth consecutive meeting against Kentucky (4-2, 0-2), which came in with momentum after nearly upsetting Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Instead, the Wildcats' string of futility against Spurrier is the longest by any team against a single coach other than two losing streaks against Penn State's Joe Paterno.

The game, billed as a field position showdown between two of the Southeastern Conference's top defenses, lived up to that hype, at least until midway through the third quarter. That was when Spurrier, always quick with the hook on his quarterbacks, made a change that paid immediate dividends.

Stephen Garcia replaced a struggling Chris Smelley and led four consecutive drives into Wildcat territory, which the Gamecocks turned into 10 points. It could have been more if not for three missed second-half field goal attempts by Ryan Succop.

With the game tied at 17, South Carolina took the lead for good when Garcia found Weslye Saunders open in the end zone off a playaction pass from 8 yards out. The play was set up by a 37-yard post pattern from Garcia to Jason Barnes. Garcia completed 10 of 14 passes for 169 yards in limited duty.

Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline got the ball back with an opportunity to tie the game, but an interception by Chris Culliver clinched it for the Gamecocks.

The teams combined for six turnovers. Kentucky's defense got three of its four takeaways in the first quarter yet still trailed by a touchdown at the beginning of the second.

First, Smelley appeared to connect with Kenny McKinley for an 8-yard gain, but Kentucky's Trevard Lindley ripped the ball out of his hands and took it 28 yards to put the Wildcats ahead 7-0.

It didn't take long for South Carolina to respond. Munnerlyn returned Tim Masthay's kickoff 84 yards and was stopped only when Masthay shoved him out of bounds at the Kentucky 16.

Given new life, this time Smelley threw the ball to a place only McKinley could get it--the corner of the end zone, tying the game at 7.

It was one of few highlights for Smelley, coming off an SEC offensive player of the week performance at Ole Miss. He completed 9 of 23 passes for 105 yards and two interceptions.

Hartline wasn't much better, completing 23 of 43 passes for 152 yards and two interceptions. But he was forced to play most of the game without the team's top receiver, Dicky Lyons Jr. Lyons injured his leg and was in a walking cast and using crutches on the sideline.

On South Carolina's next drive, McKinley broke Sterling Sharpe's South Carolina record with his 170th career reception but immediately coughed up the ball up again. It was recovered by Kentucky's Marcus McClinton.

After the teams combined for three turnovers, the Wildcats had a chance to grab momentum. But Ryan Tydlacka's 29-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Jordin Lindsey and returned 81 yards for a score by Munnerlyn.

Tydlacka later connected on a 51-yard attempt--the Wildcats' longest since 2004--to put Kentucky ahead 17-14 at halftime.

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October 5, 2008: Smelley Throws 3 TDs as Gamecocks Defeat Ole Miss

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - On-again, off-again starter Chris Smelley threw three touchdown passes, South Carolina's No. 1 defense held Mississippi to a field goal in the second half and the Gamecocks beat the Rebels 31-24 on Saturday.

Given the starting job Thursday, Smelley completed 22 of 31 passes for a career-high 327 yards and led an 11-play, 95-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter to put away Ole Miss, which stumbled a week after knocking off then-No. 4 Florida.

The Rebels (3-3, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) appeared to take control early, but a pair of fumbles helped the Gamecocks (4-2, 1-2) earn a critical win that kept them from exiting the SEC East race in early October.

Smelley, who sat last week after coach Steve Spurrier chose to start Stephen Garcia, made several strong throws in the game and only one big mistake, a third-quarter interception that didn't hurt South Carolina.

After Smelley hit Jason Barnes with a touchdown pass on third-and-goal from the 20 early in the second quarter, Gamecocks defensive lineman Nathan Peppers scooped up Jevan Snead's fumble and returned it 29 yards for a 14-point swing in exactly a minute that gave South Carolina a 17-14 lead.

Ole Miss answered to take a 21-14 halftime lead on a 24-yard pass from Snead to Brandon Bolden, but another fumble in the second half turned the game for the Gamecocks.

Chris Culliver forced Dexter McCluster to fumble at the South Carolina 6 midway through the third quarter. Emmanuel Cook returned the fumble to the 42. It was McCluster's second critical fumble near the opponent's goal line in the last three games. A similar play at the 1 helped Vanderbilt beat Ole Miss two weeks ago.

Smelley was especially sharp on the ensuing drive, converting a pair of first downs with quarterback sneaks, including fourth-and-inches at the Ole Miss 10. That set up the second of his two touchdown passes to Barnes, a 6-yarder that put the Gamecocks up 24-21.

After Ole Miss downed the ball at the 5 following a punt on the ensuing drive, Smelley and tailback Mike Davis marched South Carolina down the field. Davis rushed for 28 yards on the drive and Smelley hit 5 of 6 passes for 54 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown pass to Joe Hills.

The Gamecocks were the nation's top defense entering the game, allowing 105 yards passing and 221 total yards per game coming in. But the Rebels surpassed both marks by halftime. Snead completed 12 of 15 passes for 154 yards by the break and the team added another 78 yards rushing, including 29 yards and a 5-yard touchdown by McCluster out of the Wild Rebel formation.

In the second half, however, a Gamecocks defense led by Cook's 14 tackles held the Rebels to 129 yards and a field goal.

Fittingly, South Carolina finished off the Rebels with Carlos Thomas' drive-ending interception in the final minute.

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September 28, 2008: Garcia Makes Debut as Gamecocks Defeat UAB 26-13
 
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Stephen Garcia was 13-for-20 for 131 yards and ran for 86 more in the first significant action of his career, giving South Carolina's offense enough of a kick to beat UAB 26-13 on Saturday night.

Garcia came in on the second possession for the Gamecocks (3-2). Over the next five first half possessions, the redshirt freshman accounted for all but six of the Gamecocks' yards and either passed the ball or ran it on 26 of the next 32 plays.

South Carolina's defense took care of the rest, holding the Blazers (1-4) to 207 yards and forced three turnovers as the Gamecocks won back-to-back games for the first time since starting 6-1 last season.

Bobby Wallace ran six times for 51 yards, and Jason Barnes led the eight players for South Carolina who caught a pass with three receptions for 46 yards.

Joe Webb was 17-of-26 for 140 yards and two interceptions for UAB. He also was the Blazers' leading rusher with 22 yards on nine carries and a touchdown in the final moments. Brandon Carisle had both of UAB's interceptions.

Even with Garcia's lift, the South Carolina offense still sputtered at times. Ryan Succop made all four of his field goals, a career best, and the Gamecocks scored 17 points less than the Blazers were giving up to fellow Football Bowl Subdivision foes coming into the game. They gained 353 yards, well below the 568 yards UAB had been allowing major college teams.

Garcia's biggest contribution to the offense is his mobility. Coach Steve Spurrier's prize 2007 recruit had 67 yards on 14 carries in the first half, much of them coming on scrambles when he couldn't find anyone open. His 6-yard touchdown run put South Carolina up 17-3 in the second quarter. He also completed nine of 12 passes in the opening half for 101 yards, including a 13-yard TD on a swing pass to running back Brian Maddox.

Garcia even had a little luck. His first two deep passes were badly thrown, but the Blazers were called for pass interference on the first one and a UAB interception was nullified by an offside penalty on the second long ball. After that, Spurrier rarely let the freshman throw more than 15 yards downfield. Garcia threw a pick in the third quarter on a badly thrown long ball on third-and-11, and Spurrier alternated starter Chris Smelley and third-string Tommy Beecher, who began the year as the starter, to finish the game.

Now Spurrier has to figure out who starts next week when South Carolina tries to break a six-game Southeastern Conference losing streak at Mississippi.

South Carolina's top 10 in the nation defense was again strong. UAB had just 26 total yards midway through the second quarter and had been penalized seven times for 55 yards. The Blazers didn't get a first down until 6:39 remained in the second quarter.

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September 21, 2008: Gamecocks Hold off Pesky Wofford Squad

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Quarterback Chris Smelley had 204 yards passing as South Carolina struggled before putting away Wofford 23-13 on Saturday night.

South Carolina gained 376 yards and never punted, but Smelley threw two interceptions and fumbled. Spurrier stuck with the sophomore the whole game, even after more boos rained down when he overthrew everyone in the end zone in the third quarter.

This one wasn't out of reach until the Gamecocks put together a grinding drive of nearly 6 minutes in the fourth quarter that ended with Smelley's 17-yard touchdown pass to Dion Lecorn put South Carolina ahead 23-13 with 1:58 to go.

The Terriers (2-1) never strayed from their patient option running game. They ran for 185 yards, well under their average of 400 yards. Fullback Dane Romero led the team with 75 yards on 17 carries, while quarterback Ben Widmyer ran 10 times for 59 yards and completed 8 of 13 passes for 100 yards.

Wofford gave South Carolina fits in 2006, when the Gamecocks had to stop the Terriers on fourth down at South Carolina's 10 to escape with a 27-20 win. The Terriers never led in that one.

On Saturday, they took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter on Widmyer's 50-yard scoring run. Two Gamecocks defenders took the pitch man on the option, leaving Widmyer to scamper untouched into the end zone.

South Carolina responded with a quick drive that ended with three Brian Maddox runs, the last one 7 yards for a TD, to put the Gamecocks back ahead 10-7.

The Gamecocks moved the ball for most of the game, but struggled to get into the end zone. An 18-play, 75-yard drive ended with a 22-yard field goal from Ryan Succop that put South Carolina ahead 3-0.

Spurrier used several players who hadn't seen a lot of playing time this season. Freshman Eric Baker hadn't carried the ball before Saturday, but ended with 49 yards on 11 carries.

Maddox led the Gamecocks with 12 carries for 52 yards, while starting tailback Mike Davis caught six passes for 51 yards. South Carolina didn't have a passing play gain more than 20 yards.

The Gamecocks have lost to FCS teams before. The Citadel beat them 38-35 in 1990 and Furman won 28-23 in 1982.

Wofford is 1-11 against teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision, with the only win coming over Louisiana-Monroe in 2000. The Terriers did take home $230,000 for making the trip to Williams-Brice Stadium.

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September 15, 2008: Game Times Set for Next Two Contests
 
After a scorching hot mid-afternoon contest between Georgia and South Carolina last Saturday, the University of South Carolina has decided to play the next to games at night.  Both will be 7:00pm kickoffs.

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September 14, 2008: Gamecocks Fall Just Short in Loss to #2 UGA
 
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- No. 2 Georgia and Knowshon Moreno made sure South Carolina didn't ruin a second-straight shot at a championship season.

Moreno's sliding 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter lifted the Bulldogs to a 14-7 victory over the Gamecocks on Saturday.

Reshad Jones sealed the victory for the Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference), intercepting South Carolina's Chris Smelley's pass with 13 seconds left inside the Georgia 10.

The Bulldogs had all offseason to remember how last September's 16-12 loss to South Carolina (1-2, 0-2) likely kept them from playing for the SEC and national titles.

For much of this one, it looked like the Gamecocks could do it again as the Bulldogs trailed 7-6 midway through the third quarter. Georgia had already muffed a scoring chance near the goal line, settling for Blair Walsh's 23-yard field goal after having a third-and-goal at the South Carolina 1.

Moreno, who finished with 79 yards on 20 carries, didn't squander the Bulldogs' next opportunity.

He ran left, then took a hard cut up the middle with his feet sliding out from under him. Moreno steadied himself with his right hand, then slipped through for his seventh touchdown of the year.

Stafford converted the 2-point try on a pass to Kris Durham and Georgia led 14-7.

Moreno's TD was the first Georgia's scored in the past eight quarters against the Gamecocks. South Carolina had three chances in the fourth quarter to tie things up.

The Gamecocks drove to Georgia's 2 midway through the period. But linebacker Rennie Curran smacked the ball free as tailback Mike Davis tried to leap the pile and it bounced into the arms of Georgia defensive back Asher Allen.

South Carolina got to Georgia 17 in the final minute before Smelley was intercepted by Jones to keep the Gamecocks winless against teams' ranked in the top two.

Georgia's first two series dissolved into punts. It had two scoring drives that took a combined 28 plays and ate up more than a quarter of the first half, but both ended with field goals.

But the Gamecocks finally got something going midway through the second quarter. Smelley found Moe Brown for a 19-yard gain to get inside Georgia territory. Two plays later, Brown slipped behind defender Ramarcus Brown for a 34-yard TD pass from Smelley.

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September 8, 2008: Vandy Makes it Two-in-a-Row over Spurrier, Gamecocks
 
No. 24 South Carolina's fourth quarter comeback effort Thursday against Vanderbilt fell short and the Gamecocks fell 24-17.

South Carolina (1-1) extended its streak of quarters without yielding a point to five by keeping Vanderbilt (2-0) scoreless in the first. The Commodores' third quarter touchdown on a Chris Nickson pass to Brandon Barden marked the first time an opponent reached the end zone against the Gamecocks this season.

Vanderbilt had little offense in the first half and was outgained 133-50 by the Gamecocks.

Quarterback Chris Smelley threw for two scores: a 19-yard strike to Kenny McKinley in the first quarter and another five-yarder to Freddie Brown. The latter brought South Carolina within a touchdown in the game's final five minutes, but could not produce the equalizer on the team's last possession.

South Carolina was in Vanderbilt territory looking to break a 10-10 tie when officials threw a flag as Smelley tried to find Moe Brown for a long pass. But they ruled the ball uncatchable instead of flagging Vandy for pass interference.

The Gamecocks return home for their first home SEC game Sept. 13 against Georgia.

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August 30, 2008: South Carolina Shuts Out NC State in Opener

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -South Carolina overcame four interceptions by first-time starter Tommy Beecher to give Steve Spurrier his 16th-straight opening game victory, 34-0 over North Carolina State on Thursday night.

Mike Davis and Taylor Rank had rushing touchdowns, and Dion Lecorn and Jared Cook caught TD passes from backup Chris Smelley to lift the Gamecocks and keep alive Spurrier's first-week streak which began in 1990 at Florida.

The Wolfpack, shutout 37-0 by Maryland to end last season, were held scoreless in consecutive games for the first time since 1956.

For Spurrier, it was also the first taste of victory since last October when a 21-15 win at North Carolina pushed the Gamecocks to 6-1 and had him cocky about bigger things ahead.

Instead, South Carolina collapsed with five-straight defeats, the longest stretch of Spurrier's stellar career.

And for three quarters, this had to be torture for South Carolina's head ball coach, famed for his quick trigger on bad quarterbacks.

Beecher was given the job by Spurrier in April despite throwing three interceptions in South Carolina's closing spring scrimmage. Ever since, Spurrier has stood solidly in Beecher's corner repeating the junior would have a chance to go the distance for the Gamecocks this season.

Beecher looked shaky from the start. He was intercepted by Jimmaul Simmons less than three minutes in, then took the first of his five sacks to end South Carolina's next series.

Beecher was picked off twice more before the half. Spurrier finally showed his trademark fire, tossing his visor, headset and game notes after Beecher's third interception sailed over receiver Moe Brown and into the hands of Justin Byers.

Maybe he bit his tongue, or repeated a calming mantra, but Spurrier continued to send Beecher back out in spite of the mistakes.

Beecher finally left in the final quarter, with the Gamecocks citing a head injury.

Beecher finished 12 of 22 for 106 yards. He was two interceptions shy of the Gamecocks single-game mark, set by Glenn Morris in a 17-7 loss to Clemson in 1971.

Lucky for the Gamecocks' their defense was there to clean up the mess.

The group, headed by new coordinator Ellis Johnson, bottled up the Wolfpack throughout. North Carolina State had just 117 yards and eight first downs through three quarters.

The closest the Wolfpack came to scoring was Josh Czajkowski missing a 49-yard field goal attempt.

South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood recovered a botched shotgun snap at the Wolfpack 9 right before halftime that led to Ryan Succop's 29-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Then on the Wolfpack's second play after halftime, Carlos Thomas stepped in front of a Daniel Evans pass for an interception at the North Carolina State 9. Four plays later, Davis lept into the end zone.

Succop added a 46-yarder at the end of the third quarter.

That was more than enough points to hold off the Wolfpack.

Smelley made a push to regain the starting job he had for six games last season, leading three touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. His 5-of-5 performance included sharp scoring throws of 20 yards to LeCorn and 13 yards to Cook.

Davis finished with 101 yards, the senior's fourth career game of at least 100.

The game's most frightening moment came when Wolfpack freshman Russell Wilson, starting his first game, was carted off the field. Wilson was motionless as he was strapped to backboard and rolled onto a cart. He extended his thumbs upward to acknowledge the cheers of the players and fans at Williams-Brice Stadium.

North Carolina State officials announced Wilson had a grade-three concussion and was doing well after going to the hospital. He was scheduled for more tests.

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August 16, 2008: More Game Times Set
 
Well, there are some reliable rumblings that CBS has picked up the South Carolina-LSU matchup for a 3:30pm kickoff and ESPN has picked up the South Carolina-Tennessee matchup for a 7:30pm kickoff.  Nothing will be definate until two weeks before each game, but here is the schedule with these two penciled in:
 
08/28- NC State (8:00PM-ESPN)
09/06- at Vandy (8:30PM-ESPN)
09/13- Georgia (3:30PM-CBS)
09/20- Wofford (TBA)
09/27- UAB (TBA)
10/04- at Ole Miss (TBA)
10/11- at Kentucky (TBA)
10/18- LSU (3:30PM-CBS)
11/01- Tennessee (7:30PM-ESPN)
11/08- Arkansas (TBA)
11/15- at Florida (TBA)
11/29- at Clemson (TBA)
 
**Home Games in Bold
 

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August 16, 2008: Preseason AP Poll Released
 
Below is the AP Poll.  South Carolina's opponents are in bold.  Carolina is at #26 (the highest preseason ranking since Spurrier has been at USC).
 
1) Georgia
2) Ohio State
3) Southern Cal
4) Oklahoma
5) Florida
6) Missouri
7) LSU
8) West Virginia
9) Clemson
10) Auburn
11) Texas
12) Texas Tech
13) Wisconsin
14) Kansas
15) Arizona State
16) Brigham Young
17) Virginia Tech
18) Tennessee
19) South Florida
20) Illinois
21) Oregon
22) Penn State
23) Wake Forest
24) Alabama
25) Pittsburgh
 
26) South Carolina (with receiving votes)

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August 9, 2008: Scrimmage Report/Injury Update
 
The Gamecocks held a closed scrimmage at Williams Brice Stadium on Saturday around 4pm.  Below are some passing stats from the scrimmage:
 
-Beecher: 9-13 (123 yards, 2 TDs, no ints)
-Smelley: 9-18 (114 yards, 2 TDs, no ints)
-Garcia: 6-8 (67 yards, 1 TD, 1 int)
 
About the scrimmage Spurrier said, "We had one of our typical scrimmages except we had a few touchdowns, which was different.  We had an overtime period thing where the offense ended up scoring two, but not the first offense. The first offense went backwards on their attempt against the first defense. It was productive mainly because we had no injuries. I thought the defense looked pretty good most of the day."
 
Injury update:
 
-Jasper Brinkley (twisted ankle, should return Monday)
-Jared Cook (sprained toe, should return Monday)
-Captain Munnerlyn (twisted ankle, was back practicing today, had the only INT)
-Jamon Meredith (sprained ankle, will be out about a week)
-Mike Davis (shoulder injury, no longer in sling, will be out about a week)
 
None of the injuries are considered serious. 

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August 9, 2008: Team Concludes First Week of Practice
 
The biggest news as the team concludes the first team of practice seems to be the number of injured starting players:
 
-Jared Cook, TE (sprained big toe); will return early next week
-Jasper Brinkley, LB (twisted ankle); Spurrier: "not serious"
-Captain Munnerlyn, CB (twisted ankle); Spurrier: "not serious"
-Mike Davis, RB (shoulder); Spurrier: "out for about a week" but was in sling tonight
-Jamon Meredith OT (twisted ankle); Spurrier: "not serious"
Gerrod Sinclair OLB (head); status unknown
 
RB Mike Davis is Carolina's #1 RB on the depth chart.  On Mike's injury Spurrier said, "They (Brian Maddox, Eric Baker, and Taylor Rank) should be ready if Mike can't go."

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August 1, 2008: Beecher Shines in First Practice
 
Tommy Beecher impressed nearly two thousand gamecock fans and Coach Steve Spurrier at South Carolina's first practice of the preseason tonight.  About Beecher's progress Spurrier said, "Tommy's obviously done a lot of work this summer.  Tommy threw the ball pretty doggone well."
 
Coach Spurrier named the redshirt junior starting quarterback a couple of weeks after the spring game in April. 
 
Spurrier also praised senior running back Mike Davis saying that Davis was "the fastest he's ever been" and "in the best condition of his life."  This is encouraging for Gamecock fans wondering whether or not Davis would be able to fill the void left by the departure of Cory Boyd last spring.
 
Among the two thousand in attendance were famous faces such as USC Men's Basketball coach Darrin Horn and new USC President Harris Pastides.  Pastides, accompanied by his wife, addressed the team briefly during the practice.  More practice media coverage is below:
 
 

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August 1, 2008: USA Today-Coaches Poll Released
 
Last year South Carolina was ranked preseason #30 in the USA Today-Coaches Poll.  Before ending the season unranked after a five game losing streak, Carolina reached top 10 status as a 6-1 team after defeating North Carolina.  This year, South Carolina is the preseason #27.  For poll numbers for the 2008 season click here.  Below are Carolina's opponents rankings:
 
#1 Georgia
#5 Florida
#6 LSU
#9 Clemson
#18 Tennessee
#42 Kentucky

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July 31, 2008: Garcia Speaks About Reinstatement
 
In a release from the university, Garcia said the following regarding his reinstatement:

"I thank everyone at the University of South Carolina that was involved with my reinstatement - for giving me another chance to be a student-athlete here.

All I can say is that I will try to be the best student-athlete I can during my career here and make this decision a positive one for our University.

The media attention needs to go to Tommy Beecher and the other players on our team. I will not start talking to the media until I begin playing in the real games here at Carolina."

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July 30, 2008: Stephen Garcia to be back with team Friday
 
The State Paper reported late Wednesday afternoon that troubled USC quarterback Stephen Garcia will be reinstated with the football team starting Friday.  Garcia was suspended last Spring after getting into trouble with the university for underage drinking.  Garcia's suspension was supposed to last until August 15th, the date when students are allowed to move into on-campus housing. 
 
USC officials have determined that Garcia has met all of the requirements (including participating in community service, attending drug and alcohol classes, etc.).  Garcia will be on a zero-tolerance policy when he returns to campus.  He may be the most talked about player to never play a down of football in Columbia.
 
SOURCE: The State Paper

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July 29, 2008: Steve Spurrier Quotes
 
Recently, Steve Spurrier attended the SEC Media Days.  He spoke at the SEC Media days on July 25th.  Below we have a transcript from this event.  Click on the link to view.
 

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July 22, 2008: Eight Spots on Pre-Season All-SEC Team are Gamecocks
 
As the SEC Media Days began this week, coaches selected and voted on the pre-season ALL SEC teams.  South Carolina received eight spots on the All-SEC teams.
 
First team selections:
-WR Kenny McKinley
-DB Captain Munnerlyn
 
Second team selections:
-LB Jasper Brinkley
-LB Eric Norwood
-DB Emanuel Cook
-PK Ryan Succop
-P Ryan Succop
 
Third team selections:
-TE Jared Cook
 
By the school:
LSU-14
Florida-10
Georgia-9
South Carolina-8
Auburn-8
Alabama-8
Tennessee-7
Kentucky-5
Ole Miss-4
Mississippi State-4
Arkansas-3
Vanderbilt-2
 
To see the full lists click here.

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June 3, 2008: Pre-season Rankings debut (Spurred) 

It's the time of year when numerous pre-season publications start showing up at the news stands.  Lindy's and Athlon Sports magazines have already been released.  Phil Steele's publication, which will be released later this month, will have the Gamecocks ranked at #18 in their preseason 119 poll.  To see the other rankings click here.

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May 28, 2008: Game Times for First Three Games Set (Spurred)

As the college football season draws closer, the excitement for the upcoming season begins to build to a fevering pitch.  South Carolina and NC State will open ESPN's coverage of the 2008 college football season on Thursday, August 28th at 8:00 PM.  ESPN and CBS have also released times for two other early-season contests:

Aug. 28- NC State (8:00pm) [ESPN]

Sept. 4- at Vanderbilt (8:30pm) [ESPN]

Sept. 13- Georgia (3:30pm) [CBS]

The rest of the games' times and television converage are unannounced.  To see the rest of Carolina's 2008 schedule click HERE.

A Fresh Start...
 
Well, that's Steve Spurrier's new motto for the 2008 football season.  I think it's appropriate for Spurred as well.  Following last season's extremely disappointing collapse, we stopped regularly updating this site.  My goal is to keep it up to date from here on out.  Thanks for visiting the site and GO COCKS!
 
-Webmaster

GO GAMECOCKS!