It appeared that his words had worked as the Gamecocks played like a Top 10 team in the first half Saturday, racing to a 28-10 lead over SEC foe Kentucky, with quarterback Stephen Garcia and freshman running back Marcus Lattimore leading the way.
Lattimore exited the game following South Carolina's second play of the third quarter with a sprained left ankle. Unfortunately, the Gamecocks offense left with him. The team rushed for minus-6 yards on six carries the rest of the game as Kentucky shut out the Gamecocks in the second half.
The defense went down the tubes as well. The Wildcats scored three second-half touchdowns and a two-point conversion to take a 31-28 victory.
The bad news for the Gamecocks is they gave up three turnovers -- two interceptions and a fumble -- while their defense had none. While Lattimore believes he will be ready to play against Vanderbilt on Saturday, Spurrier says that decision will be made later in the week as the running back will be held out of practice until at least Thursday.
The loss dropped South Carolina to 20th in the USA Today coaches poll and 19th in the Associated Press poll. There was little good news, as the defense allowed 401 yards of total offense, with 349 coming through the air.
"We've got to play four quarters of football," Garcia said. "We can't play a half and expect to win in the SEC on the road against anybody, or even at home. We have to put together a four-quarter game."
Garcia continued to play well, despite the loss, completing 20 of 32 passes for 382 yards and three touchdowns. Before leaving the contest, Lattimore was having a monster performance, rushing 15 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns, while catching four passes for 133 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown grab.
--WR Alshon Jeffery had a solid game, catching six passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. It was only the second time this season he has not had at least 100 receiving yards, however. He has at least one touchdown grab in each of the Gamecocks' last four games.
--RB Marcus Lattimore continues to be the star of the offense. In addition to rushing for 538 yards, he has 10 touchdowns. He also has 12 receptions for 214 yards and two scores. If he is unable to play this week due to his sprained ankle, TBs Brian Maddox and Kenny Miles would get the call.
--The Gamecocks recorded 13 tackles for loss, including three sacks as Kentucky was limited to 52 rushing yards on 33 attempts. The team did not record an interception for the third straight game, however. "We just weren't playing assignment football," defensive end Melvin Ingram said. "We didn't trust the next person to us and we were all trying to make big plays instead of playing together as a team."
GAME BALL GOES TO: RB Marcus Lattimore -- Although he played just a half of football before leaving with an ankle injury, the freshman made the most of his time. He rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, while catching four passes for 133 yards and a score. He had his longest run on the season, a 30-yard touchdown jaunt, and his longest reception, a 48-yarder. He also had a 47-yard catch that went for a touchdown.
KEEP AN EYE ON: RB Kenny Miles -- After leading the team in rushing a year ago, Miles had barely touched the field this season. But if Marcus Lattimore is forced to miss any playing time with a sprained left ankle, he could get the call.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I feel all right. I think I will be OK after two or three days when I can start running on the ankle. ... I ran in there and fell the wrong way and then the linebacker from Kentucky, he fell on it, too. I just heard it crack and thought something really bad had happened, but it's just a sprain." -- RB Marcus Lattimore, on his ankle injury suffered against Kentucky.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: Despite the upset loss to Kentucky, South Carolina is 2-2 in the SEC and sitting on top of the East Division. The Gamecocks still control their destiny in the run to a berth in the league championship game in Atlanta.
QB Stephen Garcia continues to play the best football of his career after completing 20 of 32 passes for 382 yards and two touchdowns Saturday. He has five touchdown passes in the Gamecocks' past two games. Problem was, he threw two interceptions, including one in the end zone from the Kentucky 38 with less than 10 seconds left.
RB Marcus Lattimore had 212 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in just a half of play. He continues to play as well as any freshman in the country.
P Spencer Lanning continues to be outstanding, as he averaged 44.2 yards on four attempts, with one landing inside the 20.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The pass defense, which has been atrocious, allowed 349 yards and four touchdowns against Kentucky. CB Stephon Gilmore had an uncharacteristic bad game, fumbling a punt and returning another backward before he was tackled at his 5-yard line.
--RB Marcus Lattimore sprained his left ankle on the second play of the third quarter and did not return to the game. Although he says he will be ready to play when the Gamecocks travel to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt, he could easily miss the game this week.
--WR Alshon Jeffery injured his thigh on the third play of the second half, but he quickly returned to action and appears to be fine.