Gamecocks Prepare For Tennessee

Columbia, S.C. - The South Carolina Gamecocks (5-2/3-2) begin their stretch run of the 2004 football campaign by hosting the nationally ranked (11th/12th) Tennessee Volunteers (6-1/4-1) Saturday, Oct. 30 at Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250). Kickoff for the televised contest (Jefferson-Pilot Sports, SEC Game of the Week) is 12:30 p.m. Handling the broadcast for JP-Sports will be Dave Neal (play-by-play), Dave Rowe (analyst) and Dave Baker (sideline reporter)...

A QUICK LOOK South Carolina closes out its 2004 home schedule over the next two weeks. Arkansas is the final home game on Nov. 6 ... The Gamecocks are 3-0 on the road in the SEC this season and 0-2 at home ... Carolina was idle Oct. 23. The Gamecocks practiced Monday-Thursday but did not work out Friday-Sunday ... A sellout crowd in excess of 80,250 is expected on Saturday ... USC is 3-1 in TV games this season, having defeated Vanderbilt (JP-Sports), Troy (ESPN Regional), and Alabama (ESPN2) and losing to Georgia (ESPN) ... In its last outing (10/16), USC defeated Kentucky 12-7 in Lexington, Ky., as Michael Rathe, a seldom-used senior quarterback, came off the bench late in the fourth quarter to lead the Gamecocks on their game-winning drive, culminated by a 19-yard touchdown pass with 1:28 remaining ... Tennessee defeated Alabama 17-13 last Saturday in Knoxville ... USC's 3-2 SEC record currently puts the Gamecocks in 3rd place in the SEC Eastern Division. Tennessee and Georgia are presently tied for 1st in the SEC East at 4-1.

SERIES NOTES South Carolina and Tennessee meet for the 23rd time this Saturday. The Volunteers hold a commanding 18-2-2 lead in the series that began in 1903, with USC winning 24-0 in Columbia. USC's only other win in the series came in 1992 in Columbia, when the Gamecocks pulled off a 24-23 upset over the #16 Vols. Since that game, UT has won 11 straight over the Gamecocks. In Columbia, UT leads 6-2-2 ... Last Meeting, 9/27/03, #8 UT 23, USC 20 (OT), Knoxville ... An upset-minded Gamecock squad won the statistical battle in virtually category, but fell three points short on the scoreboard as 8th-ranked Tennessee escaped with a 23-20 victory in overtime before 107,881 at Neyland Stadium. UT drew first blood when quarterback Casey Clausen hit C.J. Fayton on a nine-yard touchdown pass on UT's opening drive in the first quarter. The Gamecocks countered with a 10-play, 72-yard drive, capped by Daccus Turman's one-yard TD run to knot the score at 7-7. In the final minutes of the opening quarter, UT's Cedric Houston scored on a three-yard run to give UT a 14-7 lead after the first 15 minutes. Carolina responded with another long scoring drive, this time covering 89 yards on 11 plays, as Dondrial Pinkins found tight end Hart Turner on a one-yard TD pass to even the score at 14. UT answered with a 33-yard field goal by James Wilhoit late in the second period to give the Vols a 17-14 halftime lead. Early in the third period, USC drove 79 yards and tied the score at 17 when Daniel Weaver booted a 37-yard field goal. The game remained deadlocked for the rest of regulation, forcing the first overtime game in Carolina history. In the extra period, USC had to settle for a field goal on its first possession when Weaver hit from 24 yards to give the Gamecocks a 20-17 lead. Tennessee took its turn and made the most of its opportunity, as Clausen threw his second TD pass of the night, this time a game-winning four-yarder to James Banks to give the Vols a 23-20 win. USC outgained UT 371-266 and had 21 first downs compared to 13 for the Vols. Carolina also controlled the football for nearly five more minutes of the game. Freshman tailback Demetris Summers displayed his highly regarded talents, by rushing for 158 yards on 27 carries for South Carolina. Pinkins completed 12 of 29 passes for 154 yards, one touchdown and one interception. George Gause (9 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack) and Marcus Lawrence (9 tackles, 1 PBU and 1 QB hurry) led the defensive charge for the Gamecocks ... Last Meeting in Columbia, #25 UT 18, USC 10, 11/2/02 ... Following an open date, USC looked to upset the Vols in Columbia and earn its first victory over the Big Orange since 1992. Tennessee relied on a ball control offense and stymied USC's passing game en route to an 18-10 victory. The Vols had the ball 17 more minutes than USC and racked up 416 total yards compared to USC's 229. The Gamecocks completed just five of 19 passes for 45 yards and threw three interceptions. The 45 yards passing was the fewest by a Gamecock team since the 1998 season (43 yards vs. Georgia) and the five completions equalled the fewest by a USC club since 1999 in Coach Holtz's first game as the Gamecocks' head coach in a driving rainstorm at NC State. USC did manage to rush for 184 yards on 35 carries against the Vol defense, but wasn't able to put together any consistent drives, as the team's longest drive of the game was 60 yards. UT on the other hand, strung together drives of 64, 58 and 90 yards and kept the USC defense on the field for most of the afternoon. USC jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a 26-yard field goal by Daniel Weaver at the 8:08 mark of the first quarter. The Vols came back on their next possession to take the lead for good, when Casey Clausen found C.J. Payton in the end zone for a two-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was unsuccessful and UT lead 6-3. Tennessee tacked on a field goal in the second quarter and led 9-3 at the half. Another Vol field goal in the third period extended the lead to 12-3. USC forced a fumble and Thez Robinson scored from two yards out. UT then methodically went on a 17-play, 90-yard drive, capped off by Clausen's five-yard scoring run on fourth down to make the final score 18-10 in favor of the Vols ... USC's last victory in the series came on Halloween Day (10/31), 1992. That afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium, the Gamecocks upset the 16th-ranked Volunteers 24-23, with linebacker Hank Campbell stopping James "Hit Man" Stewart's attempt for the go-ahead two-point conversion with time winding down. With Carolina leading 24-17 late in the fourth quarter, UT scored on a 39-yard pass play from Heath Shuler to Mose Phillips with 53 seconds remaining. The Vols' two-point try was snuffed out by Campbell and the USC defense. Gamecock quarterback Steve Taneyhill threw a pair of touchdown passes, while tailback Brandon Bennett rushed for 122 yards on 22 carries with one score. The victory was USC's third straight, after having begun the season 0-5. "We went for the win and South Carolina made the big play," UT coach Johnny Majors said afterwards. "Credit South Carolina; they whipped us all day." At halftime of that contest, game action scenes from the movie "The Program" were filmed at Williams-Brice Stadium ... The last four games between these two teams have been decided by a touchdown or less (17-14, 2000; 17-10, 2001; 18-10, 2002; 23-20, OT, 2003).

A CLOSER LOOK South Carolina returns 16 starters (nine offense/six defense/one specialist) ... For the first time since 1995, USC opened its season with two straight SEC games. The Gamecocks defeated Vanderbilt 31-6 in the season opener before dropping a 20-16 decision to #3 Georgia on 9/11 ... USC bounced back to defeat South Florida 34-3 on 9/18 and was a 17-7 winner over Troy on 9/25. Carolina notched his third straight victory and second straight SEC road win with a 20-3 triumph over Alabama in Tuscaloosa on 10/2. The Gamecocks fell to Ole Miss 31-28 on 10/9 in Columbia, as the Rebels scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:05 remaining. Carolina came back to defeat Kentucky 12-7 in Lexington on 10/16, as reserve quarterback Michael Rathe tossed a 19-yard scoring pass to Troy Williamson with 1:28 remaining ... Now in his 33rd season as a collegiate head coach, USC's Lou Holtz ranks third among active head coaches and eighth all-time with 248 career victories. His 248 career wins trail only Penn State's Joe Paterno and Florida State's Bobby Bowden among active coaches. Coach Holtz is the only coach in the history of college football to lead six different programs (William & Mary, North Carolina State, Arkansas, Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina) to post-season bowl games (all by the second season) and is likewise the only coach in history to have four different programs (NC State, Arkansas, Notre Dame and South Carolina) finish the season ranked in the top 20 ... Over the years, Coach Holtz is 1-6 vs. Tennessee. Besides facing the Vols five times since he's been at Carolina, Coach Holtz faced UT twice while he was head coach at Notre Dame, winning 34-29 in Knoxville in 1990 and losing 35-34 the following season in South Bend ... UT head coach Phillip Fulmer is in his 13th season as head coach at Tennessee, where he has compiled a record of 119-29. Coach Fulmer is a perfect 11-0 vs. the Gamecocks ... Carolina's roster shows three players from the Volunteer State -- DT Kevin Mainord (Coalmont); QB Antonio Heffner (Memphis) and DB Chris Hampton (Memphis) ... Tennessee lists six players from the Palmetto State -- DT Tony McDaniel (Columbia); LB Robert Ayers (Clio); OT Eric Young (Unioin); DB Jonathan Hefney (Rock Hill); OL Richie Gandy (Darlington); and WR Sinclair Cannon (Greer) ... USC standout freshman free safety Ko Simpson and UT cornerback Jonathan Hefney were high school teammates at Rock Hill High School. Both are true freshmen and both signed with their respective schools in Feb., 2003. Simpson, however, did not enroll at USC until Jan., 2004, while Hefney spent last year at Hargrave Military Academy before re-signing with the Vols. Simpson and Hefney helped lead Rock Hill to the 2002 Class AAAA State Championship and undefeated 15-0 season ... John Chavis, UT's assistant head coach and veteran defensive coordinator, is from Dillon, S.C.

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