One week later, he was describing
his team's performance against
The Gamecocks made ugly beautiful, winning in a manner that hardly supposed Spurrier's reputation as an offensive genius but spoke volumes for his overall ability to coach to his team's strengths.
"First one like that we've won
since I've been here, where the defense pretty much won the game for us,"
Spurrier said. "We came here thinking we matched up with
"But this was not a shock to us to win this game. All you people that watch point spreads, you know it wasn't any big spread. If you listen to (ESPN analyst Lee) Corso and them guys, you might think it was supposed to be a lopsided game. But this was two even teams."
The difference between the two even
teams came in the factors that used to win games before Spurrier took over as
Tailback Cory Boyd ran for 5.4
yards per carry, and backup Mike Davis added 6.2 yards per carry. More
important, when the game was on the line and the Gamecocks needed to get
physical, they were able to run over
The defense also did its job, harassing quarterback Matthew Stafford throughout the game, sacking him three times and holding him to just 19 completions on 44 attempts.
The Gamecocks only forced one
turnover, but it was a big one with linebacker Jasper Brinkley intercepting
Stafford's pass at the
Kicker Ryan Succop kicked three
field goals from 41, 35 and 34 yards. Add it all together with the fact that the
game was played between the hedges at
"This win is a step forward for this program," Spurrier said. "I'm proud of our guys. We hung in there. We didn't play very well offensively at times. The defense stepped up and won the game. I think it was a good, solid, ugly win. I haven't had too many of those in my career."
Considering what the win
represents, this could be the biggest win in Spurrier's three seasons at
His wins over
Last year's win over Clemson helped the Gamecocks finish the season with three consecutive wins, but it didn't get the program any closer to winning an SEC East Division title.
On the other hand, the win over
We'll all know a lot more about
The same is true of the Gamecocks,
who have to do a better job in the passing game and cut back on penalties and
mistakes, but their opportunity to win the East has never been better following
the win at
As Mitchell said, "it showed us we can win the big ones."
There will be bigger ones to come, starting with a game at LSU on Sept. 22. But in the meantime, as Spurrier said, "we are 1-0 in the SEC."
Richard Scott is a Birmingham-based sports writer, author and featured columnist in Tiger Rag. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.