Game day Notes: USC vs. Alabama

The 22nd-ranked University of South Carolina Gamecocks (5-1, 2-1 SEC) hit the road for the first time in over a month as they head to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face the No. 2/3 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 SEC) on Saturday, Oct. 17, in a nationally-televised tilt on ESPN.

The Gamecocks have won four in a row, including last Saturday's SEC victory over Kentucky, 28-26. Alabama is undefeated in its last 18 regular-season games and is coming off a 22-3 victory at then-No. 20/16 Ole Miss last week. The Gamecocks won the last time they played at Bryant-Denny Stadium, taking a 20-3 victory on Oct. 2, 2004.

QUICK HITS

• Head coach Steve Spurrier is 6-4 all-time against Alabama. He is 2-0 against UA coach Nick Saban.

• A win today would give Coach Spurrier his 105th conference win as an SEC head coach, tying him with Vince Dooley for third all-time, trailing only Bear Bryant (159) and John Vaught (106).

South Carolina is ranked 22nd in both polls for the first time this season, appearing in the USA Today/ Coaches' poll this week after only being in the AP top 25 last week.

• Senior linebacker Eric Norwood set the school record for career sacks with his 27th and 28th against Ole Miss. He is now tied for eighth in SEC history in the category. Norwood also has 49.5 career tackles for loss; he is one away from entering the league's top 10 in that category as well.

• Senior wide receiver Moe Brown is only 51 yards away from 1,000 receiving yards in his career. He would become the 22nd player at South Carolina to achieve that milestone.

Stephen Garcia topped the 2,000-yard mark in career passing yardage last week against Kentucky. He needs 406 more yards to move into the all-time top 15 in South Carolina history.

‘COCKS AND CRIMSON TIDE

This is the 14th meeting all-time between South Caro- lina and Alabama. The last meeting came in Columbia in 2005 when the Crimson Tide left Williams-Brice Stadi- um with a 37-14 victory. Carolina's last win came in the Gamecocks' last trip to Tuscaloosa in 2004 when South Carolina won by a 20-3 margin. Since joining the SEC in 1992, South Carolina has played Alabama six times, posting a 2-4 record. The Gamecocks are 1-7 all-time in games played in Tuscaloosa.

SPURRIER VS. SABAN

South Carolina's Steve Spurrier and Alabama's Nick Sa- ban have faced each other twice, both while Spurrier was at Florida and Saban was at LSU. Spurrier's Gators won both meetings, downing the Tigers 41-9 in Gainesville in 2000 and 44-15 in Baton Rouge in 2001. They are two of the four active head coaches in the SEC that own na- tional championship rings (the others are Florida's Ur- ban Meyer and LSU's Les Miles). Spurrier won his title in 1996 at the University of Florida, and Saban earned his ring following the 2003 season while the head coach at LSU. The two coaches have combined to win eight SEC Championships.

BACK IN THE POLLS

South Carolina moved up in both major national polls following its victory over Kentucky on Saturday. The Gamecocks are at No. 22 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, joining the latter for the first time this season. Last week was Carolina's first win as a top-25 school since 2007 when it defeated North Carolina.

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Kenneth Darby rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown, and Alabama logged 338 yards of rushing offense in a 37-14 win over South Carolina on Sept. 17, 2005, in Co- lumbia. Brodie Croyle, whose absence because of injury played a big part in Alabama's 20-3 loss to the Gamecocks in 2004, was 12-of-21 for 115 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a score on a 15-yard draw play, carrying the ball four times for 28 yards. Glen Coffee ran for 75 yards on 15 carries for the Tide. The Gamecocks' offense looked sharp at first on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended on a 1-yard fourth-down scoring run by Mike Davis. But then the offense started to misfire. South Carolina gained just 21 yards and no first downs over the rest of the first half. South Carolina ran for just 71 yards, while starting quar- terback Blake Mitchell went 20-of-38 for 173 yards with an interception and a touchdown.

THE LAST TIME IN T-TOWN

For the first time ever, the Gamecocks won at Alabama, 20-3 on October 2, 2004. Relying on its stingy defense, Carolina mixed in a solid kicking gmae along with a ball control offense. Josh Brown kicked a pair of field goals in the opening half as the Gamecocks took a 6-3 lead into intermission. The Carolina defense picked off three of its four passes in the final 30 minutes of play and limited the Tide to 21 total yards and nine first downs in the contest. Alabama was also 0-for-11 on third down conversions. Syvelle Newton started the second half at quarterback and scored two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game away. Carolina had no penalties in the game.

BACK ABOVE .500

In its 116th year of intercollegiate football, South Caroli- na is now 532-531-44 all-time, getting back above .500 overall with a victory over Kentucky on Saturday.

GREATEST DECADE

With the win over Ole Miss, South Carolina made the 2000s the winningest decade in school history with their 64th win since 2000; that total now stands at 66. They surpassed the mark held by the 1980s Gamecocks that rolled up 63 victories, including 10 by the 1984 "Black Magic" team.

LAST TIME OUT: KENTUCKY

Stephen Garcia threw for three touchdowns and ran for another and No. 25 South Carolina stopped a potential tying two-point conversion in the fourth quarter to beat Kentucky 28-26 on Saturday, keeping coach Steve Spur- rier a perfect 17-0 against the Wildcats. The Gamecocks (5-1, 2-1 SEC) won their 10th straight over Kentucky (2-3, 0-3). Garcia had touchdown passes of 10, 28 and 22 yards to freshman Alshon Jeffery. Garcia added what proved to be the winning margin with his leap from the 1 with 8:22 remaining to give South Carolina a 28-20 lead. Kentucky had a chance to tie after Randall Cobb's 2-yard TD run with 4:34 left. But Will Fidler's pass was knocked down by defensive end Cliff Matthews. Facing third-and-4 moments later, Garcia gained 5 yards leap- ing over a Kentucky defender to keep South Carolina moving with 3:02 to go. Kentucky never got the ball back as South Carolina matched its best start in Spurrier's five seasons. South Carolina's Kenny Miles finished with 100 yards on 17 rushes. Jeffery had 138 yards on seven receptions.

HOLD THAT BALL

The Gamecocks rank seventh in the SEC and 54th in the country in turnover margin at plus-2 (nine take- aways - six fumbles and three interceptions - and seven turnovers - four fumbles and three interceptions). While that might not seem impressive, through six games last season, the Gamecocks were 10th in the league and 110th in the country with a turnover margin of minus-5. Saturday's win over Kentucky was the first time all year that the Gamecocks failed to force a turnover by their opponent and lost both the turnover battle.

HALFTIME INSPIRATION

Head coach Steve Spurrier and his staff must be coming up with some key halftime adjustments or inspirational speeches, as the Gamecocks have come out like gang- busters in the third quarter this season. Carolina has outscored its opponents by a 64-13 margin in the third stanza, easily their highest scoring quarter and their fewest points allowed quarter. The Gamecocks have out- scored their opponents by 54 points this season, 51 of those coming in the third quarter.

AS A RANKED TEAM

Under Steve Spurrier, South Carolina has been a Top 25 team coming into 12 contests. The Gamecocks are 5-7 in those opportunities as a ranked team. Here's a year- by-year breakdown...

• 2005: After defeating Florida, the Gamecocks were ranked 19th with Clemson coming to town for the annual Palmetto State showdown. But the Tigers upset Carolina by a 13-9 score.

• 2006: Carolina was never ranked.

• 2007: The Gamecocks were ranked in eight contests, going 4-4 in those games. At No. 17, they defeated South Carolina State, 38-3, and moved up to 12th be- fore losing at LSU, 28-16. As the No. 16 team, Carolina then defeated Miss. State, 38-21, to move up to No. 11. They then defeated No. 8 Kentucky, 38-23, to jump into the top 10 for the first time since 2001. As the No. 7 team, they beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 21-15, to jump to No. 6. But losses to Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Arkansas over the next three contests dropped Carolina from the polls.

• 2008: Carolina dropped both contests as a ranked team, both times as No. 24. Vanderbilt downed the Gamecocks in Nashville during the second week of the season, 24-17, and No. 3 Florida beat Carolina 56-6 in Gainesville in mid-November.

• 2009: South Carolina moved into the polls for the first time at No. 25 prior to their game with Kentucky. They defeated the Wildcats on Oct. 10 in Columbia, 28-26.

AGAINST RANKED FOES

South Carolina got its first win over a ranked opponent in its last seven tries with its 16-10 win over No. 4 Ole Miss on Sept. 24. The Gamecocks are 6-13 under Spur- rier against opponents in the top 25. Here's a year-by- year breakdown...

• 2005: Carolina was 2-1 against ranked opponents, knocking off No. 23 Tennessee and No. 12 Florida after losing to No. 9 Georgia.

• 2006: Carolina was 1-5 against ranked opponents with their lone win coming against No. 24 Clemson. They had losses against No. 12 Georgia, No. 2 Auburn, No. 8 Tennessee, No. 12 Arkansas and No. 6 Florida.

• 2007: The Gamecocks were 2-3 against ranked op- ponents, winning over No. 11 Georgia and No. 8 Ken- tucky, but falling to No. 2 LSU, No. 17 Florida and No. 15 Clemson.

• 2008: Carolina dropped all three contests against ranked foes, falling to No. 2 Georgia, No. 13 LSU and No. 3 Florida.

• 2009: The Gamecocks are 1-1 against ranked oppo- nents, falling to No. 21 Georgia 41-37 before scoring a huge victory over No. 4 Ole Miss, 16-10.

PLAYING THE BEST

South Carolina has played 33 games in its history against teams ranked in the top-5 in the country, post- ing a 2-31 record in those contests. They are 1-19 at home against top-5 teams, 1-11 on the road and 0-1 at neutral sites. Carolina got its second all-time win over a top-5 team on Sept. 24, 2009, when it downed No. 4 Ole Miss, 16-10, snapping a 23-game losing streak. The lone other win was a 31-13 win at No. 3 North Carolina on October 24, 1981. This is the fourth straight year in which Carolina has played at least one top-5 team; two more top-5 opponents loom on the Gamecock slate in No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Alabama.

AND DEFEATING THE BEST

South Carolina's best win over a ranked opponent came in the 1981 season when they knocked off No. 3 North Carolina by a 31-13 score. It's one of only two wins over a top-5 opponent in school history; the other came on Sept. 24, 2009, in a 16-10 victory over No. 4 Ole Miss. Here are the other top wins:

BEST SOUTH CAROLINA WINS BY RANKINGS:

Date Opponent Rank Score

10/24/81 at North Carolina 3 31-13
09/24/09 vs Ole Miss 4 16-10
09/24/88 vs Georgia 6 23-10
10/04/07 vs Kentucky 8 38-23
11/21/87 vs Clemson 8 20-7
11/14/53 at West Virginia 8 20-14
09/09/00 vs Georgia 9 21-10
10/23/58 vs Clemson 10 26-6
09/08/07 at Georgia 11 16-12
11/10/84 vs Florida State 11 38-26
11/12/05 vs Florida 12 30-22
09/29/84 vs Georgia 12 17-10

• One "upset" that often escapes notice was a 20-20 tie with Auburn in 1932 before rankings began. The Tigers were 9-0 and a likely contender for the Rose Bowl before the Gamecocks ruined their perfect season on Dec. 3 in Birmingham. It was Auburn's final game as a member of the Southern Conference; the SEC was chartered the next year.

THE HBC AND BIG NUMBERS

• In 20 years as a collegiate coach, Steve Spurrier is 85-3-1 when scoring at least 37 points. The 41-37 loss to Georgia on Sept. 12 was the first time in the Spur- rier era at South Carolina that the Gamecocks lost when scoring 37 points or more; they had won the previous eight such occurrences. The last time South Carolina lost when scoring 37 points or more was Nov. 1, 2003, when Carolina lost at Ole Miss by a 43-40 score.

• With the 41-37 loss at UGA and the 38-16 win over FAU, it marked only the second time in the Spurrier era that Carolina scored 37 or more points in consecu- tive outings. The previous time was in 2007, when the Gamecocks downed Mississippi State 38-21 and Ken- tucky 38-23 in back-to-back weeks.

NOTES FROM KENTUCKY

• Coach Steve Spurrier remains undefeated against Kentucky, never losing in 17 meetings with the ‘Cats. The win, however, was the closest call yet at two points.

• The Gamecocks have won 10 straight against Ken- tucky, their longest active streak against an FBS school.

• Freshman Alshon Jeffery caught 7 passes for 136 yards and 3 TDs (all career highs), becoming the first Gamecock to catch three touchdown passes in a game since Sidney Rice caught five against FAU in 2006.

• Kenny Miles ran for 100 yards to give the Gamecocks a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver (Jeffery) in the same game for the second time this season (Jarvis Giles and Tori Gurley vs. FAU).

• Chris Culliver became the school's all-time leader in kick return yardage, passing Dick Harris' total of 1,946 on his second return of the day in the first quarter.

NOTES FROM SC STATE

Spencer Lanning connected on his only field goal at- tempt of the night, running his streak to 10 consecutive field goals made.

• Eric Norwood blocked a field goal - the first of his career - and had an interception in the game. It was Carolina's first blocked field goal since Jordin Lindsey blocked one against Kentucky last year (it was returned 81 yards for a touchdown by Captain Munnerlyn).

• Moe Brown turned in the first multi-touchdown game of his career, catching scoring passes of 9 and 40 yards. He amassed 100 receiving yards, his second career 100+ yard game.

• Stephen Garcia threw for two TDs and rushed for an- other, going 13-for-19 for 132 yards through the air.

Reid McCollum hit Alshon Jeffrey for a 20-yard touch- down in the fourth quarter, the first career scoring plays for both freshmen. Adam Yates kicked the extra point after the score, also the first of his career.

NOTES FROM OLE MISS

• It was the second time in school history for South Carolina to knock off a top-5 team. It was the first-ever victory over a top-5 opponent at Williams-Brice Sta- dium.

• The win over No. 4 Ole Miss came 21 years to the day after Carolina's previous best win by ranking at Wil- liams-Brice Stadium. On Sept. 24, 1988, the Gamecocks knocked off No. 6 Georgia, 23-10.

• Linebacker Eric Norwood became the all-time leader in sacks at South Carolina with his 27th in the first quar- ter. He finished the game with 28 for his career, moving into a tie for 8th place all-time in SEC history.

• The Gamecocks' first offensive play of the third quarter was a 69-yard pass from Stephen Garcia to Moe Brown, the longest pass completion for South Carolina since Sept. 18, 2004, when Syvelle Newton hit Troy William- son for a 74-yard gain against South Florida.

Patrick DiMarco scored his third career touchdown in the third quarter; it's his second score on a Thursday night against a top-10 team (the other came in 2007 against No. 8 Kentucky).

NOTES FROM FAU

• The FAU game marked the first time since 2007 that the Gamecocks boasted a 100-yard rusher and a 100- yard receiver in freshman Jarvis Giles (113 yards rush- ing) and freshman Tori Gurley (100 yards receiving). The last time, it was Cory Boyd and Kenny McKinley turning the trick at Tennessee on Oct. 27, 2007. It's the first time for a pair of freshmen to pull off the feat since Sidney Rice and Mike Davis did it twice during the 2005 season (vs. Clemson and in the Independence Bowl vs. Missouri).

• Sophomore running back Brian Maddox eclipsed his career high in scores in a big way with three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).

• Moe Brown's 50-yard end-around on the opening play of the game was his career-long rush and was the lon- gest Carolina rushing play since Mike Davis also scam- pered for 50 against NC State on 8/28/08.

• Brian Maddox's opening-drive touchdown at the 13:39 mark of the first quarter was the quickest score for a Gamecock team since Nov. 6, 2003, at Arkansas, when Carolina kicked a field goal at the 13:53 mark of the opening period. It was the fastest touchdown by a Gamecock team since joining the SEC in 1992.



NOTES FROM GEORGIA

• Georgia returned a kickoff for 100 yards and a touch- down in the first quarter. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown against the Gamecocks since Leodis McKelvin of Troy accomplished the feat on Sept. 24, 2005.

• Carolina's 17 points in the first quarter marked the most in an opening period since scoring 17 against South Carolina State on Sept. 15, 2007.

• South Carolina got two points for a Georgia safety in the third quarter when a bad snap on a punt when out of the back of the end zone. It was the first safety for South Carolina since the 2007 Arkansas game.

• Eric Norwood's interception return for a touchdown was his first career pick and third career defensive score; he returned two fumbles for TDs vs. Kentucky in 2007.

Darian Stewart equaled a career-high with 11 tackles on the night.

NOTES FROM NC STATE

• With the win at NC State, South Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak dating back to the 11th game of the 2008 season. The Gamecocks dropped games to Florida, Clemson and Iowa to end the ‘08 campaign.

• The Gamecocks held NC State to 133 yards in the game, the lowest total in the Spurrier Era and the lowest since the 1999 season - also NC State (99).

• Brian Maddox's first-quarter touchdown gave the Gamecocks their first lead since the end of last year's Arkansas game, a span of 12-plus quarters.

FOR STARTERS

The Gamecocks officially return 12 starters from the 2008 squad (five on offense, six on defense and one specialist). The returning offensive starters are OC Gar- rett Anderson, WR Jason Barnes, OG Terrence Camp- bell, FB Patrick DiMarco and OT Jarriel King. The re- turning defensive starters include DT Ladi Ajiboye, FS Chris Culliver, DE Cliff Matthews, LB Eric Norwood, DT Nathan Pepper and S Darian Stewart. Junior Spencer Lanning is the returning punter and will handle place- kicking duties this fall as well.

NEW STARTERS

The Gamecocks have had 15 players make their initial collegiate start this season. •Seven Gamecocks made their first career starts in the season opener against NC State: CB Akeem Auguste, CB Stephon Gilmore, SPUR Alonzo Winfield, OG T.J. Johnson, OT Quintin Richardson, WR Tori Gurley and DE Devin Taylor.

• LB Shaq Wilson got his first career start at Georgia on Sept. 12.

• LB Tony Straughter and DB Antonio Allen earned their initial career starts against Florida Atlantic on Sept. 19.

• CB C.C. Whitlock, OL Kyle Nunn and RB Kenny Miles got their first career starts vs. South Carolina State on Oct. 3.

• TE Justice Cunningham and LB Josh Dickerson made their first career starts against Kentucky on Oct. 10.

BY LAND OR BY AIR

The Gamecocks threw the ball 53 times against Geor- gia, the most passes attempted in the Steve Spurrier Era at South Carolina, completing 31 for 313 yards. They came back the next week against Florida Atlantic and rushed for 287 yards, the most in the Spurrier Era, sur- passing the previous high mark by 64 yards.

UNDER COACH SPURRIER

Head coach Steve Spurrier is 33-23 in his five seasons in Columbia. His 33 wins ties him with Lou Holtz for sixth on the school's all-time list. He tied the school record for wins (7) in his first season at the helm; tied for the most wins (15) in his first two seasons of any Carolina head coach; recorded the most wins (21) by a Carolina head coach in his first three seasons; and surpassed Warren Giese (25 wins from 1956-59) for the most wins by a coach in his first four seasons on the Carolina sidelines. He has logged a .500 or better record in four straight seasons, the first coach to do that at Carolina since the final four years of the Jim Carlen Era (1978-81). Coach Spurrier is the first coach in Car- olina history to take his team to three bowl games in his first four seasons on the sidelines. He also has matched Jim Carlen and Joe Morrison for the most bowl appear- ances (3) as a Carolina head coach.

WINNING MORE OFTEN

The Gamecocks have posted five consecutive seasons of at least a .500 record, going 6-5 in 2004, 7-5 in 2005, 8-5 in 2006, 6-6 in 2007 and 7-6 in 2008. It's the first time they have accomplished that since 1928-34. One more win in 2009 would give the Gamecocks their sixth straight regular season at .500 or better.

THURSDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

In the Spurrier Era, South Carolina is 6-2 in Thursday night contests, with four of those six victories coming in season openers. The Gamecocks played two on Thurs- day nights this season. Carolina opened the 2009 cam- paign with a 7-3 victory at North Carolina State, then downed No. 4 Ole Miss in Columbia, 16-10, on Sept. 24. South Carolina is the only SEC team scheduled to play in multiple weeknight contests this year; Alabama and Auburn will play each other on Friday, Nov. 27, in the only remaining weekday contest involving an SEC school.

STREAKING AT HOME

The Gamecocks have posted six straight wins at Wil- liams-Brice Stadium, defeating Tennessee and Arkan- sas last season and topping Florida Atlantic, Ole Miss and South Carolina State to start the 2009 campaign. The last time the Gamecocks won at least six straight games at home was from the 1986-88 seasons when they posted 13 straight home wins. That streak, oddly enough, started following a loss to Florida State, then was snapped with another loss to the Seminoles.

COACHING CHANGES

Steve Spurrier made numerous changes to his coach- ing staff in the off-season, promoting Ellis Johnson to assistant head coach-defense and bringing in Jay Gra- ham (running backs/asst. special teams), Jeep Hunter (tight ends/asst. special teams), G.A. Mangus (quar- terbacks), Lorenzo Ward (defensive coordinator), Eric Wolford (offensive line/running game coordinator) and Craig Fitzgerald (strength and conditioning).

WORKING OVERTIME

The Gamecocks have played just two overtime games in their history, both at Tennessee. They dropped a 23-20 decision in Knoxville on Sept. 27, 2003, then fell by a 27-24 score on Oct. 27, 2007, also at Neyland Stadium. Every other SEC team has played at least three overtime games since the rule was established in 1996.

PIPELINE TO THE NFL

South Carolina tied for having the second-most play- ers selected in the 2009 NFL Draft of any school in the nation, matching Oregon State and Ohio State for that honor behind Southern California. Selected were:

Jared Cook (3rd round, Tennessee)
• Kenny McKinley (5th round, Denver)
Jasper Brinkley (5th round, Minnesota)
• Jamon Meredith (5th round, Green Bay)
• Captain Munnerlyn (7th round, Carolina)
• Stoney Woodson (7th round, N.Y. Giants)
Ryan Succop (7th round, Kansas City)

SERVING OUR COUNTRY

Deep snapper Matthew Grooms joined the Gamecocks after serving as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years as a mechanic, included a six-month stint in Iraq. Grooms, 26, is the oldest player on the squad Walk-on freshman linebacker Matthew Ansley, a member of the Army Reserves, spent 18 months in Iraq, working as a gunner for convoy security and route clearance.

COMING IN EARLY

The Gamecocks welcomed in three scholarship players who graduated from high school in December and went through spring drills for the first time in 2009 in Jarvis Giles, Stephon Gilmore and DeVonte Holloman. Over the past four seasons, the Gamecocks have seen nine players arrive on campus earlier than the norm. Clark Gaston did so in 2006, while Stephen Garcia and Tra- vian Robertson arrived in January 2007. Jay Spearman, C.C. Whitlock and Shaq Wilson all went through spring drills in 2008 after graduating from high school in the previous December.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

South Carolina celebrates three major anniversaries during the 2009 season. This year marks the 75th year of competition in what is now Williams-Brice Stadium. The 80,250-seat structure on George Rogers Drive held its first game on Oct. 6, 1934, as South Carolina de- feated VMI, 22-6. It's also the 40th anniversary of South Carolina's only conference championship as the 1969 Gamecocks won the Atlantic Coast Conference title under head coach Paul Dietzel by going 5-0 in league play. This year is also the 25th anniversary of the 1984 "Black Magic" team that posted the winningest season in school history, going 10-2 under head coach Joe Morrison and rising as high as No. 2 in the polls.

FEW SENIORS

South Carolina has just nine players on its roster who are seniors. Of those, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Nathan Pep- per and Gerrod Sinclair are fifth-year seniors, while Garrett Anderson, Moe Brown, Eric Norwood and Dar- ian Stewart are in their fourth year. Former walk-ons John Guerry and Scott Spurrier earned scholarships during fall practice. With only nine seniors, the Game- cocks are tied with Duke for the second-fewest seniors in the country. Boise State has the fewest with four.

O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN...

Although defensive back Captain Munnerlyn has taken his talents to the NFL, the Gamecocks have no shortage of leadership. Four captains were elected for the first time in the Spurrier era, two of them on the defensive side of the ball. Senior LB Eric Norwood and junior DE Cliff Matthews were the two defensive selections, with senior WR Moe Brown and junior FB Patrick DiMarco picked from the offensive side of the ball.

FRESH FACES

The Gamecocks have received solid performances from several freshmen this season. Defensive end Devin Taylor, a redshirt freshman from Beaufort, started the first five games and was the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his efforts in the opener at NC State. True freshman tailback Jarvis Giles from Tampa became the first Gamecock frosh to rush for over 100 yards since 2006 when he went for 113 against FAU, earning SEC Freshman of the Week accolades. Three weeks later, redshirt freshman Kenny Miles hit the century mark with exactly 100 yards against Kentucky. He leads the team in rushing with 268 yards on the year. True fresh- man and Rock Hill, S.C., native Stephon Gilmore has started all six games at cornerback and has intercepted a pass, forced a fumble and recovered another fumble. He also has a sack among his 23 tackles, and he had a 35- yard punt return against South Carolina State. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Tori Gurley is the Gamecocks' second-leading receiver. He has caught 18 passes for 256 yards in six games, including a four-catch, 100- yard performance against FAU. Redshirt freshman T.J. Johnson from Aynor, S.C. has started all six games at right offensive guard. And true freshman Alshon Jef- fery had a big coming-out party against Kentucky with a seven-catch, 138-yard performance that saw him score three touchdowns, earn SEC Freshman of the Week hon- ors and give him the team lead in touchdowns scored. Overall, the Gamecocks list 15 freshmen on their two- deep this week.

EARNING THEIR KEEP

On August 18, coach Steve Spurrier announced that several walk-ons had been awarded scholarships for the 2009-10 school year. The list includes seniors John Guerry and Scott Spurrier, junior Blake Baxley, and sophomores Stephen Flint, Cedrick Snead, Brandan Da- vis and Zac Brindise.

SIZE MATTERS

The Gamecocks come in all shapes and sizes. The tall- est player on the roster is Clifton Geathers, who checks in at 6-8 this fall. He is followed closely by his backup, Devin Taylor. The shortest players are Cedrick Snead, Bryce Sherman and Scott Spurrier, all listed at 5-6. The Gamecocks have eight players that tip the scale at 300 pounds or better, including seven offensive linemen. Rokevious Watkins is the heaviest player on the squad at 340 pounds, followed by Jarriel King at 312. Kevin Young (310), Heath Batchelor (308), Garrett Anderson (307), Seaver Brown (303), Nathan Pepper (300) and Steven Singleton (300) round out those at three bills. Scott Spurrier (160) and C.C. Whitlock (173) are the only returning players listed under 175 pounds. Newcomers Jimmy Legree (170), DeAngelo Smith (170), Bryce Sher- man (155), Brandan Davis (175) and Marty Markett (170) all tip the scales at 175 or less.

INJURY REPORT

• Junior DT Travian Robertson tore his ACL in the win over Ole Miss and will miss the rest of the season.

• Junior linebacker Rodney Paulk suffered a season- ending ACL tear in his right knee in the season-opening win at NC State. It's the second straight year that a knee injury has sidelined him early in the season.

ACCOLADES

Here is a rundown of the various awards and honors earned by the Gamecocks during the 2009 season:

• Devin Taylor - SEC Defensive Player of the Week (Week 1 vs. NC State)
• Jarvis Giles - SEC Freshman of the Week (Week 3 vs. Florida Atlantic)
• Eric Norwood - SEC Defensive Player of the Week (Week 4 vs. Ole Miss)
• Alshon Jeffery - SEC Freshman of the Week (Week 6 vs. Kentucky)

GAMECOCKS IN THE NFL

A total of 21 former Carolina Gamecocks are on National Football League rosters - either on the active roster or the practice squad. Below is a list of former Gamecocks on NFL rosters:

Bengals: Jonathan Joseph
Bills: Jamon Meredith
Broncos: Andre Goodman, Kenny McKinley
Buccaneers: Rod Wilson
Chiefs: Ryan Succop
Eagles: Sheldon Brown, Stoney Woodson (practice squad)
Falcons: John Abraham
Jaguars: Troy Williamson
Jets: Emanuel Cook (practice squad)
Lions: Ko Simpson
Panthers: Captain Munnerlyn, Travelle Wharton
Saints: Jamar Nesbit
Seahawks: Lance Laury
Texans: Fred Bennett, Dunta Robinson
Titans: Jared Cook
Vikings: Jasper Brinkley, Sidney Rice

BAMA TIES

The Gamecocks feature tho players from the state of Alabama: Jarrett Burns (Huntsville) and Darian Stewart (Huntsville). In addition, assistant head coach-defense Ellis Johnson had two stints on the Alabama coaching staff (1990-93 and 1997- 2000), while defensive coordinator Lorenzo "Whammy" Ward played his collegiate ball for the Crimson Tide and served as a graduate assistant at his alma mater.

UP NEXT

It will be homecoming week and State Fair week in Co- lumbia as the Gamecocks welcome SEC Eastern Division rival Vanderbilt to Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 24. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. with a national TV broad- cast on ESPNU.

GARCIA'S THE GUY

Redshirt sophomore Stephen Garcia is without question the Gamecocks' top quarter- back and has taken every significant snap this season. The 6-2, 219-pounder from Lutz, Fla. has completed 61.2 percent of his passes this season (109-for-178) for 1,268 yards with nine touchdowns and just three interceptions. After a solid but un- spectacular start in the season opener at NC State in which he completed 13-of-22 passes for 148 yards, he turned heads in Sanford Stadium and all around the SEC on Sept. 12 with his 31-for-53, 313-yard, two-touchdown performance in a heartbreak- ing loss to Georgia. All of those statistics were career highs. His 53 attempts equaled the second-most ever by a Carolina quarterback, and his 31 completions tied for the fourth-best day by a Gamecock signal-caller.

MORE ON NO. 5

Garcia has played 14 games for the Gamecocks, starting nine over the past two sea- sons. He is 6-3 as a starter. He has completed 58.0 percent of his passes (174-for- 300) for 2,080 yards with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He ranks third in the SEC in total offense in 2009, accounting for an average of 222.2 yards per game. He is also fourth in the league in passing average yards per game at 211.3.

GAME-BY-GAME WITH GARCIA

In his first significant action at Carolina, Garcia played the bulk of three quarters against UAB on Sept. 27, 2008, and completed 13-of-20 passes for 131 yards and rushed for a game-high 86 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. He came off the bench two weeks later at Kentucky to lead the Gamecocks to a come-from-behind vic- tory while playing only one-and-a-half quarters. Garcia completed 10-of-14 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown, earning SEC Freshman of the Week honors and a start the next week against LSU. In that game, he was 14-of-26 for 215 yards and a touchdown. He got his first win as a starter two weeks after that in a 27-6 victory over Tennessee, where he completed 9-of-19 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns. But all of those performances pale in comparison to his night at Georgia on Sept. 12 when he completed 31-of-53 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns, all career highs. He was also the Gamecocks' leading rusher in the game with 10 carries for 42 yards. Garcia kept up his strong play against Florida Atlantic with a 20-for-27 night, the best passing percentage (.741) of his young career. He was 16-for-34 for 220 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions while play- ing with bruised ribs against Ole Miss. He was 13-for-19 for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the win over South Carolina State. He followed that up with a career-best three touchdowns and 233 yards on 16-of-23 passing in the win over Kentucky.

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?

Senior Moe Brown put together the second 100-yard game of his career against South Carolina State, amassing exactly 100 yards on six catches while scoring twice in the win over the Bulldogs. It was the second-best day of his career, as he caught seven passes for 130 yards and a touchdown in the 2008 loss to Georgia. With 949 yards on 73 catches for his career, Brown is on the doorstep of the Carolina record books. He is tied with Jared Cook for 22nd all-time at South Carolina with 73 receptions and is just three away from moving into the top 20. Also, if and when he reaches the 1,000-yard plateau, he'll be the 22nd player in Gamecock history to reach that mark.

DELIVERING BY GROUND AND BY AIR

The Gamecocks can be effective moving the ball through the air (313 yards passing at Georgia) as well as on the ground (287 yards rushing versus FAU and 213 yards rushing against SC State).The Sept. 19 game with Florida Atlantic marked the first time since 2007 that the Gamecocks boasted a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in freshman Jarvis Giles (113 yards rushing) and freshman Tori Gurley (100 yards receiving). The last time, it was Cory Boyd and Kenny McKinley turning the trick at Tennessee on Oct. 27, 2007. It's the first time for a pair of freshmen to pull off the feat since Sidney Rice and Mike Davis did it twice during the 2005 season (vs. Clemson, vs. Missouri). The Gamecocks turned the trick again - also with two freshmen - on Oct. 10 against Kentucky when Alshon Jeffery racked up 138 receiving yards and Kenny Miles rushed for 100.

RUNNING BACK BY COMMITTEE

• Redshirt freshman Kenny Miles is penciled in as this week's starter as the team's leading rusher. He is averaging 6.0 yards per carry, rushing 45 times for 268 yards and a touchdown. He carried five times for 56 yards in the first half of the FAU game before leaving with shoulder discomfort. Miles got another chance to shine against Ole Miss and led the team with 13 rushes for 52 yards. After making his initial start against SC State, he made a big splash with his first career 100-yard game as he ran for exactly 100 yards on 17 carries in the win over Kentucky.

• True freshman Jarvis Giles put on a show for the home crowd against FAU, picking up 113 yards and his first career touchdown on 11 carries. It was the first 100- yard game for a Carolina tailback since Mike Davis ran for 101 against NC State last season. For his efforts, Giles was named the SEC's Freshman of the Week. He is sec- ond on the squad with 245 yards and a 5.8 yard average.

• Junior Brian Maddox was the starter in the season- opener at NC State, carrying the ball 23 times for 66 yards (both career highs) and the Gamecocks' only touchdown. Maddox's previous career highs had been 12 carries and 52 yards, both coming in last season's game against Wof- ford. Maddox had another big night against FAU, logging a pair of rushing scores and another through the air. He leads the team and is tied for eighth in the SEC with five touchdowns.

ALSHON'S ALL RIGHT

After only catching five passes through his first five games at Carolina, true freshman Alshon Jeffery had a huge coming-out party against Kentucky. He hauled in 7 passes for 138 yards and 3 touchdowns, earned SEC Freshman of the Week accolades and becoming the first Gamecock to score 3 receiving TDs in a game since Sid- ney Rice hauled in 5 TD passes against FAU in 2006. It was the best game for a Carolina receiver since Kenny McKinley had 151 yards vs. Tennessee in 2007.

SHERM THE WORM

The most pleasant surprise in fall practice was walk-on sophomore Bryce Sherman. The diminutive former track athlete quickly became a Gamecock internet sensation. Nicknamed "Sherm the Worm" or "The Shermanator," he has rushed five times for 54 yards, an average of 10.8 yards per carry. He has also returned six kickoffs this year.

JUGGLING THE O-LINE

The Gamecocks, under new offensive line coach Eric Wol- ford, have used the same starting five along the offensive line just twice this season, going with King-Campbell- Anderson-Johnson-Richardson from left to right in each of the first two games. In all, nine different offensive line- men have earned at least one start. Only right guard T.J. Johnson has made every start through six games.

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