In the 2009 recruiting class, the South Carolina football team signed one of the best secondary classes in the country. The class was highlighted by Stephon Gilmore, a 6'1 cornerback/quarterback from South Pointe High School in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Gilmore immediately made his presence known, starting in all 12 games at cornerback in 2010. In Saturday night's game against Furman, Gilmore made perhaps his biggest play in his young collegiate career. Glimore intercepted a Cody Worley pass and took it 80 yards to the end zone to put a stamp on the Gamecocks' 38-19 win against the Paladins.
"Stephon Gilmore's interception was the play that took took their heart out to end the game," South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said following the game.
The Paladins had cut what was once a 28-6 Gamecock lead down to 31-19 mid-way through the 4th quarter on big plays. The Paladins had just struck for another big play as Worley hit receiver Adam Mims for a 47-yard completion into South Carolina territory. Two plays later, Worley overshot David Hendrix and the ball landed into Gilmore's arms.
"I made a good play on the ball," Gilmore said. "They didn't throw to my side too many times, but when they did I tried to make a play on the ball. They had a log of momentum until that play, but our defense calmed down and ended up making the play on the ball."
As Gilmore caught the ball by the Paladin sideline, he turned and saw nothing but green grass in front of him. Gilmore raced down the sideline followed closely behind by Furman's Jerry Williams. Williams unsuccessfully made a dive for Gilmore's feet at the 5 and Gilmore had given the Gamecocks a 38-19 lead on his first touchdown as a Gamecock.
Spurrier Does 180 -
With the win, South Carolina head coach moved to 180-68-2 (.724) as head coach. He is 38-28 at South Carolina, is 2-0 against Furman, and a perfect 40-0 against non-BCS conferences.
3 In a Row -
South Carolina has now won three in a row against in-state teams. The Gamecocks beat SC State and Clemson last season. All 3 were in Williams-Brice Stadium.
Tough Place to Play -
South Carolina has won 11 out of the last 12 at Williams-Brice Stadium, dating back to a 27-6 victory over Tennessee on Nov. 1, 2008. The only loss came to Florida in 2009.
Return of the Fire Ants? -
South Carolina has won six straight games when wearing all Garnet, 3-0 this season
Alshon Hits Milestone -
Alshon Jeffery had 97 yards on five receptions tonight. He became the 23rd player in South Carolina history to reach 1,000 career yards receiving and stands at 1,069 in only his second season. He narrowly missed his 3rd consecutive 100-yard game.
"Alshon caught about everything," Spurrier said.
"It's a great accomplishment," Jeffery said. "But I got to keep working hard. The team has to keep working hard."
3 for Gurley -
Tori Gurley hauled in his third touchdown pass of his career on a 15-yard pass from Garcia in the first quarter. Gurley finished with 52 yards on three catches, receiving one of the game balls from the coaching staff.
"Tori Gurley had a good game," Spurrier said. "We gave Tori a game ball. He caught some passes and blocked well also."
Decent Garcia -
Quarterback Stephen Garcia was 13-of-20 for 150 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first two-touchdown performance of the season, giving him 25 on his career. But he was intercepted twice, one for a touchdown. It was the second time in two seasons Garcia has thrown a "pick six." Mark Barron of Alabama had a 77-yard interception return last season.
"We won, so that is really the main concern," Garcia said. "We kind of sputtered in the second half, and there were some plays you wish you could take back, but the main thing is we won. We just need to move forward."
Shaw Nearly Identical -
In the second game of Connor Shaw's career, he put up very similar numbers to those he put up in the season opener against Southern Miss. Shaw was 4-of-5 for 42 yards. He also had four carries for 22 yards.
Running It Well -
The Gamecocks rushed for 182 yards in the game; South Carolina is now 29-9 under Spurrier when rushing for at least 100 yards. The Gamecocks have rushed for at least 100 yards in all three games this season. Lattimore fell three yards short of 100. He had 97 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. He now has 333 yards rushing and five touchdowns on the season.
Red Hot Red Zone -
South Carolina is now 12-12 this season inside the red zone. The Gamecocks have scored 10 red zone touchdowns and two field goals.
"It was very good," Spurrier said. "And we made a bunch of third downs. I thought we had a chance to make a good offensive night."
No Running Allowed -
The Gamecock defense gave up 51 yards rushing against Furman, the fourth-fewest allowed under Spurrier. The Gamecocks are 16-2 under Spurrier when holding opponents to fewer than 100 yards, and have not given up 100 yards yet this season.
"We had pretty good pressure I think most of the night," Spurrier said. "I think the D-line and linebackers really all played well. They didn't run the ball very well."
Vonte Leading the Way -
DeVonte Holloman had six tackles against Furman, bringing his team-leading total to 20 on the season.
Sack Masters -
The Gamecocks recorded seven sacks against Furman after combining for four in the first two games. Cliff Matthews had a sack, bringing his career total to 11.5. He is just 0.5 away from moving into the top 10 in school history.
Travian Robertson had 2 sacks and 3 tackles, both career highs. Robertson had never recorded a sack before.
"We were focused tonight," Travian Robertson said. "Coach asked us to get them down and get in their face and affect the quarterback."
The Return of Allen -
SPUR Antonio Allen made his first appearance of the season after missing the first two games with a hamstring injury. Allen recorded two tackles in his return.
C.C. Gets #2 -
C.C. Whitlock intercepted a pass in the 1st quarter, leading to South Carolina's first touchdown of the game. Whitlock now has two picks for his career, as he picked off a pass at Alabama last season.
Culliver Moving Up -
Chris Culliver moved into third place all-time in the SEC in kickoff return yards with 56 yards against Furman. He know has 2,340 yards on 100 returns, moving past Kentucky's Derek Abney's 2,315. He is now 158 yards shy of second place's Derek Pegues who has 2,498 yards.
Career Night For Lanning -
South Carolina kicker Spencer Lanning achieved two career-highs against the Paladins. He kicked a career-long 51-yard field goal in the 3rd quarter, eclipsing his previous high of 47 against Tennessee and Clemson in 2009. He also had a career-long punt of 58 yards in the 4th quarter, passing his previous high of 56 yards against Kentucky in 2009. Lanning averaged 42 yards on five punts against Furman.
"He's a good kicker," Spurrier said. "He is reaching in practice all the time from 51. He punted beautifully. We need to shorten him up a little bit when we punt from midfield. He's having a super year, and he's an outstanding kicker and punter."
Injury Report - Rokevious Watkins suffered a shoulder sprain in the first half and did not return.
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