College Football Preview: S.C. State at South Carolina
Published 12:00 am Friday, October 2, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. ó Steve Spurrier sounds like he found a dusty game plane left behind by his South Carolina predecessor, Lou Holtz:
Banking on defense. Reining in the quarterback. Talking up a FCS team like it’s Notre Dame.
The Gamecocks (3-1) are coming off their best performance ó and one of the school’s biggest wins ever ó in a 16-10 win over then fourth-ranked Mississippi. Spurrier, though, sounded downright fearful about tonight’s matchup with South Carolina State (3-0), a Football Championship Subdivision squad.
Spurrier says he is trulyy concerned about the game “because South Carolina State’s got a pretty good team.”
He is accustomed to having a good offense he can brag about and count on bury the oppoent. However, it’s the Gamecocks inconsistent offense that’s given him fits this season, if not for most of his five years at South Carolina.
“We’re not a bad team, we’re just not an explosive team yet,” Spurrier said. “We still have hopes we can be someday. But we haven’t gotten there yet. Maybe it’ll happen soon, who knows.”
There aren’t many problems on the defensive side of the ball.
South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood led the barrage on Ole Miss and its quarterback Jevan Snead with two sacks. Norwood also partially blocked a punt and led the way with 10 tackles.
Defensive end Cliff Matthews had two sacks and forced a fumble to stall the Rebels second-half comeback.
South Carolina is fourth in the SEC and 13th in the country, allowing fewer than 250 yards a game.
South Carolina State coach Buddy Pough is well aware of Norwood, and not just because younger brother Erin Norwood plays on special teams for the Bulldogs.
“That Eric Norwood kid may be as good a defensive player as there is in the country,” said Pough, a former Holtz assistant with the Gamecocks who took on his alma mater’s coaching job in 2002.