I-A College Football News
Intrastate foes meet for first time
Sep 12, 2007, 14:55 GMT
Columbia, SC - Coming off a thrilling victory on the road against Georgia, the South Carolina Gamecocks will try remain undefeated when they host the South Carolina State Bulldogs this Saturday night from William-Brice Stadium.
The Bulldogs' season began with a rough 34-3 setback to Air Force on the road. However, the team regrouped last week to post its first win of the season, a 24-13 victory over Bethune-Cookman. Next up for the Bulldogs will be the home opener against Winston-Salem State.
As for the Gamecocks, they come into this matchup riding a wave of momentum after defeating Georgia on the road by a score of 16-12. It was the second victory of the season for Coach Steve Spurrier's squad, which opened the 2007 campaign with a solid 28-14 win over UL-Lafayette. If the Gamecocks are victorious this weekend it would be the first time since 2001 that the team has won its first three contests to open a season.
This contest marks the first-ever meeting between the Bulldogs and Gamecocks on the gridiron.
After scoring just three points in a season-opening setback to Air Force, the Bulldogs put together a much more efficient attack against Bethune-Cookman last weekend. The Bulldogs did the majority of the damage with their ground attack, as the team churned out 271 rushing yards on 40 carries. Overall, the team only finished with 359 total yards en route to the 11-point win. SCSU used a committee of tailbacks in the win, as Travil Jamison rushed for 66 yards and one touchdown, while quarterback Cleveland McCoy also tallied 66 yards on just seven carries. Troy McFadden added 53 yards on 11 totes, while William Ford posted 52 yards on 14 attempts. As for McCoy, he also had a solid performance throwing the ball, completing 10-of-18 passes. He only finished with 88 yards, but threw two touchdowns in the win.
Much like the offensive unit, the Bulldogs struggled defensively in week one, but the squad regrouped against Bethune-Cookman. In the victory, the defense held the Wildcats to just 247 total yards, including 117 rushing yards on just 2.7 ypc. It was a tremendous improvement for a defense which was embarrassed for 303 rushing yards in the season-opening loss to Air Force. The Bulldogs also forced two turnovers in the victory and collected an impressive six sacks. South Carolina State did surrender 16 first downs, but held the Wildcats to just 4-of-13 on third down chances. Markee Hamlin led the Bulldogs with 11 tackles in the win and now has 16 stops on the year.
It might not have been the type of performance an offensive-minded coach like Spurrier would enjoy, but the Gamecocks did enough to pull out a tough road victory over Georgia last week. South Carolina recorded 314 total yards, including a solid 140 rushing yards on 34 carries (4.1 ypc). Cory Boyd led the ground attack with 76 yards and one touchdown and Mike Davis added a much- needed 56 yards on nine totes. Blake Mitchell had a strong game, completing 20-of-31 passes for 174 yards. Mitchell was sacked twice, but did not make any mistakes and finished with zero turnovers. Thus far, the Gamecocks have been efficient on offense, averaging 373.5 ypg, while posting 22 ppg. Davis and Boyd have created quite a tandem in the backfield, as the two RBs have combined for 273 yards and three scores on 52 carries. Mitchell, who was suspended the first game of the season, proved he can manage a game and should once again put forth a solid effort this weekend.
Usually when talking about a Steve Spurrier-led team the conversation is all about the play of the offense, but this year is different, as South Carolina possesses a very tough defense. The Gamecocks are currently holding opponents to just 13 ppg, and just 328 total ypg. The unit has had some trouble against the run, however, surrendering 190 ypg. Fortunately in the victory over the Bulldogs, the Gamecocks held Georgia to just 128 yards on 31 carries. Overall the unit surrendered 341 yards, but held its SEC rival to just 12 points. The defense forced one turnover and recorded three sacks, but the best effort from the squad came on third down, as the Gamecocks held Georgia to 3-of-18 on third down chances. Darian Stewart led the USC defense with nine tackles and he also recorded one TFL. Jasper Brinkley, who leads the team with 14 stops on the year, recorded six in the win over Georgia.
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