Gamecocks Hoping 2nd Time Is The Charm

South Carolina defensive lineman Travian Robertson talks about dealing with Cam Newton and the Auburn offense.

Columbia, S.C.--For South Carolina's defense the numbers speak for themselves. In the first meeting between the Auburn Tigers and the Gamecocks quarterback Cameron Newton had 25 carries for 176 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw for 158 yards and a pair of scores and was the difference in the game that night in Jordan-Hare Stadium said defensive lineman Travian Robertson.

"The type of offense they run we had actually seen but we never had a guy that big and that fast that ran that offense until we got to that game," Robertson said. "The type of offense they run we had seen but we've never seen a kid like Cam Newton run that offense. It was just a matter of stopping him. It wasn't a surprise on what they run, it was just him. He's a great player."

It wasn't just Newton that dominated the South Carolina defense that night though as freshman Michael Dyer added 100 yards on the ground as the Tigers pounded out 330 rushing yards on the way to the 35-27 victory. Only two other teams this season gained more than 100 yards on the ground against the Gamecocks with Arkansas the high at 140. Robertson said while Newton was important, it all starts up front with the offensive line.

"They are very athletic," Robertson said. "They can run downfield and help block for Cam. It's a great offensive line. They are strong and powerful with the run blocking. They pull around a lot so they're very athletic. It takes that to block for Cam. They are a great offensive line and one of the best we went against this year."

That loss to Auburn proved to be a big point in the season for South Carolina as the next week they turned things around with a win over then number one Alabama. However a loss at Kentucky followed and three weeks later the Gamecocks were blown out at home by Arkansas, allowing 443 yards of total offense. Robertson said after that game they were determined to turn things around.

"It was an embarrassing feeling," Robertson said. "We all know we didn't play well against Arkansas. We knew we had to play well against Florida so we just talked about bouncing back. We came together and had good preparation that week. We knew we were going to play for a championship against Florida so we put the Arkansas game behind us. We just rallied together and got the win against Florida."

Holding Florida to just 226 yards of total offense in the win, South Carolina's defense turned it around and has been lights out since that time. In the final three games the Gamecocks allowed just 177 yards and one touchdown on the ground and held all three opponents to under 200 yards passing. Robertson said it's just a matter of confidence and right now success has made them grow week by week.

"It has been a roller coaster ride but we always tell each other than we can't stop," Robertson said. "We want to go out and get a championship so we've got to keep building and learn from our mistakes. We just try to go out and correct everything we've done wrong from game to game. I think we're climbing now. Everything is going good right now so we just have to keep it going on the path we're on right now and continue to play well."

Now the season comes full circle for Robertson and his teammates as Newton and the Tigers are back on the schedule once again. Shocked by his size and speed the first time around, he said it should be a better match up now that they've seen him in person and know what to expect.

"I think it will help," Robertson said. "We've got film and we've seen him play. We already know what to expect out of this offense. We just have to take care of our part as far as stopping him and doing the best we can to get him down every chance we get. We just have to make up for the mistakes we had in the first game. We already know what to expect out of this team and this offense."


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