October 20, 2007

Another top-10 shakeup

COLUMBIA, S.C.-- Is this a surprise? It shouldn't be-- not if you've followed college football this season. I don't think many in Columbia considered the Gamecocks a top 10 team. A close call against UNC and now a loss to Vanderbilt has confirmed it.

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Vandy still looking good

Start of third quarter: Vandy 17 South Carolina 6

COLUMBIA, S.C.-- After two quarters, the Commodores are still in command.

A look at the halftime stats, though, show that the two early Gamecocks turnovers were the only real differnce. But while the 80,000 fans wait for a comeback, Steve Spurrier's offense continues to sputter.

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Not just a feeling anymore

Start of second quarter: Vanderbilt 17 South Carolina 0

You couldn't ask for a better start if you're a Vandy fan. You couldn't ask for worse if you're a Gamecock.

South Carolina turned the ball over twice in its first five offensive plays, and the Commodores turned it into 10 quick points. The Williams-Brice crowd, which appears close to capacity despite the early start, was eerily quiet after the Commodores scored on a 22-yard pass from Mackenzi Adams to George Smith.

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There's that feeling

COLUMBIA, S.C.-- There's a distinct smell to Williams-Brice Stadium, and it's not the elephant ears from the state fair across the street.

It's the possibility of an upset.

South Carolina struggled in the second half of a 21-15 win against unranked UNC last week. Vanderbilt pushed Georgia to the brink before losing on a last-second field goal.

It would stand to reason, then, that the Gamecocks would be wary. South Carolina is ranked No. 6 in the initial BCS rankings, its highest BCS ranking ever. It will be interesting to see how well coach Steve Spurrier has prepared his team, especially with a marquee matchup at Tennessee looming.

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October 13, 2007

Gamecocks Hold On

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Another Missed Opportunity

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- UNC just dropped another touchdown. This time the culprit was Greg Little, on a crucial fourth down from the South Carolina 11. T.J. Yates lofted a lovely touch pass to the corner but Little was too late finding the ball over his shoulder and couldn't reel in the catch. UNC has now dropped two balls that could've been touchdowns. Inexcusable for a team looking for an upset.

Maybe Too Much

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Offensive coordinator John Shoop turned away from the Yates-to-Nicks tandem to once again reach into his bag of tricks, and this time he got burned. On the USC 25, Yates took the snap and flipped to Joe Dailey, the one time quarterback at Nebraska. Dailey promptly threw a pick to Emanuel Cook who returned it to midfield. Of course, Chris Smelley turned around and threw an interception of his own and UNC is now back in the red zone. Seemingly every play now warrants an update. Halfway through the fourth, and UNC is threatening to draw within a score.

Showing Some Guts

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- With fourth and two on their own 36, the Tar Heels showed little hesitation in going for it and keeping the pressure on the Gamecocks. Coach Butch Davis' gamble paid off, with T.J. Yates hooking up with Hakim Nicks for a 27-yard gain -- UNC's longest play from scrimmage all game. North Carolina now deep in USC territory. The Ole Ball Coach might be getting nervous.

Hold Off The Celebration

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Just when it appeared that South Carolina was going to cuirse along to a 21-3 victory, the Tar Heels showed they're going to make the Gamecocks earn it. In spite of a sprained ankle, Hakim Nicks returned to the game and made a catch on his first play back. But it was Greg Little who found the end zone in the first minute of the final quarter. On third and 10, Little caught a short pass over the middle, made one man miss and then dragged another Gamecock as he dove into the end zone. But the Tar Heels botched the snap on the PAT, so USC now leads 21-9. Three-and-out for South Carolina (including two sacks and a delay of game penalty). Student section going bonkers. Don't switch to the other USC game just yet...

Coming Out of the Half

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USC 21, UNC 3

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Just when it appeared the defenses were settling in, South Carolina drove for a touchdown to give the Gamecocks a 21-3 advantage as the game heads into halftime. Punt returner Captain Munnerlyn evaded a couple tackles and sped to the outside to break off a 38-yard return to put USC in Tar Heel territory. USC made the drive interesting, converting a fourth-and-inches by just the nose of the ball, but Chris Smelley threw his third touchdown of the half. With the Gamecock defense holding strong, it might be an insurmountable halftime lead for the seventh-ranked team.

Off the Finger Tips

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- No sooner do I say the Tar Heels let an opportunity slip through their fingers does wide receiver Brandon Tate drop a potential touchdown. Tate, whose blazing speed makes him a game-breaker mainly on special teams, split the USC secondary and was wide open, but couldn't reel in a deep bomb from T.J. Yates. The Tar Heels were forced to punt, but they kept the pressure on USC, falling on a fumble in their red zone. But the Tar Heels were unable to capitalize, first committing a holding penalty and then throwing a gift-wrapped interception to safety Darian Stewart on third down. UNC needed to come away with points to cut into the 11-point deficit, instead the Gamecocks now have the momentum.

Signs of Life from Tar Heel Defense

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Just when it looked like the Tar Heels had no answers for the Gamecock attack, the defense came though with a big stop. With USC marching into Tar Heel territory, freshman tackle Marvin Austin burst through the line, forcing Chris Smelley into an intentional grounding penalty. On the next play, defensive end E.J. Wilson jumped the screen but dropped a gimme INT that wwould've left him with nothing but open field ahead. A golden opportunity literally slips through the Tar Heels' fingers.

The Stats Lie

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Take a quick glance at the stat sheet and they wouldn't neccessarily bear out a 14-0 South Carolina advantage after one quarter. UNC holds a 7-6 advantage on first downs and also held the ball more than twice as long as the Gamecocks, possessing the ball for 10:18. The Gamecocks are by reputation a quick-starting team, but their defense might start wearing down if these early trends continue.

Record Snapped

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Senior placekicker Connor Barth just missed wide left on a 49-yard field goal attempt, ending a school-record streak of 19 straight made field goals. Barth hadn't missed since the 2005 season.

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A Sign of Things To Come?

It was an inauspicious start for North Carolina as its first two plays went for negative yards and was greeted each time with an uproar of applause. The Tar Heel defense did manage to match with a 3-and-out of its own. The home crowd responded with its own defeaning cheers, maybe galvanized to match the Gamecock supporters. There seems little doubt both crowds will make their presence felt throughout. The real question is now, when will the Tar Heels manage an offensive play for positive yards? So far they're 0 for 6.

Border Rivalry Revived

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- As North Carolina and South Carolina renew a border rivalry that had laid dormant for 16 years one of the large questions that looms is just how significant a home-field advantage the Tar Heels will hold. UNC (2-4) will need every edge possible if it hopes to spring an upset on the seventh-ranked Gamecocks (5-1) but it remains to be seen how friendly the Kenan Stadium crowd will be today.

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October 04, 2007

Kentucky cuts into lead

Columbia, S.C. -- Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson just tossed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson to pull UK to 31-23.
SC just moved the ball into UK territory with less than six minutes to play on a 22-yard pass play. They are just a few plays away from being in field goal range, which would bump the margin back up to two possessions.

Make it 15-0 for Spurrier vs. UK

Columbia, S.C. -- For the 15th time in 15 tries, Steve Spurrier defeated the Kentucky Wildcats.

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South Carolina extends lead

Columbia, S.C. -- South Carolina quarterback Chris Smelley tossed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Patrick DiMarco with 11:01 left in the game to give the Gamecocks a 31-16 lead.
UK is currently driving in South Carolina territory with less than nine minutes remaining.

No one wants to win

Columbia, S.C. -- After three quarters at Williams-Brice Stadium, it appears that neither teams wants to win.

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Bad start for UK

Columbia, S.C. -- South Carolina's Eric Norwood just recovered his second Andre Woodson fumble of the game for a touchdown, this one on a lateral pass.

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Gamecocks take lead before half

Columbia, S.C. - - South Carolina's Mike Davis just scored from three yards out to give the Gamecocks a 17-10 lead at the half over Kentucky.

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Kentucky evens it up

Columbia, S.C. -- Eighteen is the hot number for Kentucky right now.

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South Carolina leads after one

Columbia, S.C. -- Despite shoddy play from quarterback Chris Smelley, South Carolina leads Kentucky 10-3 after one quarter.

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South Carolina scores first

Columbia, S.C. -- Eric Norwood scooped up an Andre Woodson fumble at the two-yard line and took it into the end zone to give the Gamecocks a 7-0 lead with 10:53 left to play.

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Kentucky defers

Columbia, S.C. -- Kentucky won the toss, and like clockwork, head coach Rich Brooks deferred to the second half.

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Pregame in Columbia

Columbia, S.C. -- Kentucky and South Carolina can no longer fly under the radar in the Southeastern Conference. Neither can the weather.

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September 22, 2007

Tigers win SEC home opener, 28-16

BATON ROUGE, La. - Saturday afternoon was not what Steve Spurrier has become used to when he travels to LSU.

Spurrier had an 11-1 record against the Tigers (4-0, 2-0 SEC) while he was head coach at Florida. That record was the last thing on his mind after his No. 12 Gamecocks (3-1, 1-1 SEC) fell to No. 2 LSU, 28-16.

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Too little too late?

BATON ROUGE, La. - South Carolina finally answered LSU's 28-0 run, but it will probably end up being too little too late.

Ryan Succop connected on a 23-yard field goal to cut the Tigers' lead to 28-10.

With 7:44 remaining in the game, the Gamecocks are in desperate need of points that don't come from their kicker's right foot.

South Carolina's scoring drive lasted 11 plays and covered 56 yards.

Flynn gives Gamecocks glimmer of hope

BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU quarterback Matt Flynn just threw his first interception of the season, giving South Carolina the ball on its 38-yard line.

After two incomplete passes by Chris Smelley, Cory Boyd caught a pass for 21 yards and advanced the ball to LSU's 41.

The Gamecocks are driving with just over 9:00 remaining in the game.

Different QB, Same Story

BATON ROUGE, La. - South Carolina's 18-yard drive ended abruptly after Chevis Jackson intercepted quarterback Chris Smelley on the 1-yard line.

The Gamecocks had good field position after Chris Culliver returned the Tigers' kickoff 44 yards. South Carolina's possession began on LSU's 45-yard line and lasted six plays before Jackson picked off Smelley.

With 1:39 left in the third quarter, LSU leads 28-7.

If it ain't broke...

BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU continues to stick with the running game in the third quarter against South Carolina.

The Tigers just completed a 5-play, 30-yard touchdown drive. All but six of the yards on the drive came on the ground.

Running back Jacob Hester rushed nine yards up the middle for the score. South Carolina trails LSU, 28-7.

The Tigers have now outrushed the Gamecocks, 270-19.

Spurrier yanks Mitchell

BATON ROUGE, La. - South Carolina quarterback Blake Mitchell has been replaced by Chris Smelley, a freshman from Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Mitchell completed 7-of-16 passes before being pulled in favor of Smelley.

With 8:20 left in the third quarter, LSU leads South Carolina 21-7.

Run Tigers Run

BATON ROUGE, La. - It's about time kickers got some respect.

LSU's Colt David just earned some 20 minutes ago with a 13-yard touchdown run that gave his Tigers a 21-7 halftime lead over No. 12 South Carolina.

David took a pitch from Matt Flynn and dashed toward the right corner of the endzone. The run was David's first rushing score of his career.

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Field goal? I think not...

BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU looked like it had settled on attempting a field goal.

Not so fast.

That field goal attempt turned into a run by kicker Colt David. After the ball was snapped, holder Matt Flynn pitched the ball over his right shoulder to David, who ran 13 yards into the endzone for the first rushing touchdown of his career.

The trick play brought a smile to LSU coach Les Miles' face and caught South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier completely off guard.

With 18 seconds left in the first half, LSU leads 21-7.

Wide Right

BATON ROUGE, La. - The Tigers couldn't capitalize on their fumble recovery, missing a 42-yard field goal that would have given them a 17-7 advantage over South Carolina.

Both starting quarterbacks have looked rusty in the first half. LSU's Matt Flynn has completed only five of his 12 pass attempts, while South Carolina's Blake Mitchell is 6-for-14 for 69 yards.

Flynn's backup, Ryan Perrilloux, has ran the ball twice for 42 yards.

The Gamecocks went three and out on their following possession. It's LSU's ball with 7:29 left in the half.

QB Shuffle

BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU just went up 14-7 on South Carolina thanks to a little quarterback shuffling.

Backup Ryan Perrilloux saw his first action of the game today on the Tigers' 9-play, 56-yard drive. Perrilloux's 19-yard run help set up Matt Flynn's 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Richard Dickson.

On the second play of the following possession, the Gamecocks fumbled, giving the Tigers the ball on their 46-yard line with 11:34 remaining in the first half.

Happy Holliday

BATON ROUGE, La. - It took LSU only 4 plays to respond to South Carolina's opening score.

The Tigers drove 69 yards down the field in 1:23 to tie the score at 7.

Sophomore wide receiver Trindon Holliday picked up 44 rushing yards on the drive, including his 33-yard scamper into the endzone.

Gamecocks up, 7-0

BATON ROUGE, La. - After blocking a punt, it took South Carolina 12 plays and 67 yards to strike first against the Tigers.

Mike Davis' 1-yard run has given the Gamecocks a 7-0 lead.

The score is only the second touchdown LSU's defense has allowed this season.

As LSU takes the field to return the kickoff, a light rainfall has begun once again.

Another injury...

BATON ROUGE, La. - South Carolina linebacker Jasper Brinkley was shaken up after breaking up a pass on LSU's opening possession.

Brinkley was helped off the field by trainers and had a slight limp as he walked away.

12:15 remaining in the first quarter. Both teams are scoreless.

LSU/South Carolina injury update

BATON ROUGE, La. - South Carolina's Casper Brinkley will start at defensive end in place of the injured Nathan Pepper.

Cliff Matthews will replace Brinkley at weak side linebacker.

For the Tigers, sophomore Jared Mitchell will replace the injured Early Doucet at wide receiver.

Quarterback Matt Flynn will start for LSU after missing last week's game against Middle Tennessee.

LSU won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. South Carolina will receive the ball first.

Mother Nature deceives yet again

BATON ROUGE, La. - Maybe the weather will be a factor in Baton Rouge.

Tiger Stadium just received about five minutes of heavy rainfall 30 minutes before the scheduled kickoff between LSU and South Carolina.

A number of fans have taken shelter on the concourse level of Tiger Stadium.

The rain has slowed down a bit. As of now, kickoff is still slated for 2:30 p.m.

Weather not a factor for Tigers, Gamecocks

BATON ROUGE, La. - Despite overcast skies, weather shouldn't affect the start time of today's LSU/South Carolina SEC matchup.

There were fears earlier this week that Tropical Depression 10 would influence today's 2:30 p.m. kickoff but those fears are long gone as the tropical disturbance has stayed east of Baton Rouge.

Conditions are windy here at Tiger Stadium. A drizzle or two fell from the skies about an hour ago, but that has not stopped fans from filling their seats for today's battle of undefeated SEC teams.

Spurrier returns to Tiger Stadium

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