Gamecocks Work Through Final Fall Scrimmage

The sound of football was in the air Tuesday night at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks went through 105 plays during their third and final scrimmage of the fall, and will now turn their focus to the season opener against Mississippi State, a mere eight days away.

Coach Spurrier met with the media following the scrimmage, but answered many of the more probing questions with a sly grin. "You don't want to [give] the game plan to Mississippi State right now, do you?" he scolded a reporter after one question.

The hot topic was once again the quarterback race. Blake Mitchell continues to maintain his stranglehold on the starting position. Mitchell went 10-20 for 142 yards and a touchdown and interception. Spurrier analyzed Mitchell's performance, saying, "Blake struggled early and got a little bit better later in the scrimmage. He had some good plays here and there, and had some plays that hopefully he can get a little bit better."

Most eyes, however, were on the race for backup quarterback between Cade Thompson and Chris Smelley. When asked who would be second string, Spurrier dodged the question. "We don't have to announce who's who right now," he said. "Cade did some good things tonight as did Chris." Reading the tealeaves, it seems that Spurrier would still rather that Thompson win the backup role so that Smelley can redshirt. "They're both right in there as the backups," Spurrier said. "We'll wait and see what the situation looks like." It still appears that Thompson would have to make some strides if he wants to keep Smelley off the field.

The X factor at quarterback remains Syvelle Newton. He took several snaps at quarterback, and went 2-5 with an interception. He also rushed 3 times for 24 yards. Spurrier remained mum about Newton's role in the offense. "We'll let him play a little here and a little there. If Blake can't hit anything we'll put Syvelle in there and let him see what happens," Spurrier joked. "We'll try anything if it's not working."

There were some notable absences from the scrimmage. Sidney Rice sat out with a mild shoulder injury, while freshmen Captain Munnerlyn and Kenrick Ellis had to sit out due to not yet being cleared by NCAA Clearinghouse. Spurrier said they are in no danger of being denied, and he expects them to return soon. "It was our fault," Spurrier said. "I don't think we got the papers into the clearinghouse early enough. There absolutely should be no problem." Players are allowed to practice for the first 15 days while waiting to be cleared. The only injury during the scrimmage was Thomas Coleman, who sprained his ankle.

Overall, Spurrier was not satisfied with the play during the scrimmage. "We weren't extremely sharp," he said, "but the weather was wet and the ball was a little slippery." He saw things to be pleased with, but stressed the team needs to get better. "We had a good night. It rained a little early, but then cleared up. The weather was fine and we got a lot of snaps. There were some good things by the defense and some good things by the offense. We need to play faster and with more effort and all that kind of stuff. Hopefully we can learn how to do it in about nine days."

SCORING:

Cory Boyd 1-yard run (Ryan Succop kick)

Chris Hail 38-yard pass from Chris Smelley (Jordan Dodds kick)

Mike Davis 3-yard run (Thomas Hooper kick)

Cory Boyd 21-yard run (Charlie Carpenter kick)

Ryan Succop 47-yard field goal

Jordan Dodds 27-yard field goal

Jared Cook 15-yard pass from Blake Mitchell

Cory Boyd 14-yard run

Ryan Succop 37-yard field goal

Paul Haile 17-yard pass from Chris Smelley



PASSING STATS:

Chris Smelley 14-20 for 155 yards, 2 TDs

Blake Mitchell 10-20 for 142 yards, 1 TD/1 INT

Cade Thompson 4-15 for 31 yards

Syvelle Newton 2-5 for 16 yards and 1 INT.

TEAM: 30-60 for 344 yards, 3 TDs and 2 INTs



RUSHING STATS:

Cory Boyd 9-78 3 TD

Mike Davis 8-39 1 TD

Taylor Rank 7-37

Syvelle Newton 3-24

Bobby Wallace 6-23

Marquise Brown 1-22

Noah Whiteside 1-15

Kenny McKinley 1-7

Bryan Kingrey 2-4

Blake Mitchell 1-3

Chris Hail 1-(-2)

Chris Smelley 3-(-9)

Cade Thompson 2-(-12)

TEAM: 45-229 4 TDs.



RECEIVING STATS:

Bobby Wallace 4-28

Taylor Rank 4-2

Chris Hail 3-68 1 TD

Paul Haile 3-18 1 TD

Freddie Brown 2-52

Noah Whiteside 2-34

Lanard Stafford 2-18

Marquise Brown 2-5

Cory Boyd 1-32

O.J. Murdock 1-28

Mike Davis 1-18

Jared Cook 1-15 1TD

Kenny McKinley 1-7

Jamal Hayes 1-7

Alex McGrath 1-7

Mike West 1-5

TEAM: 30-344 3 TDs.

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