October 1, 2014

USC practice report: Dylan Thompson returns (AUDIO)

QB Dylan Thompson returned to practice Tuesday and will start Saturday at Kentucky. (File Photo)

QB Dylan Thompson returned to practice Tuesday and will make the start against Kentucky this Saturday. (File Photo)

– The South Carolina Gamecocks (3-2, 2-2 SEC) travel to Lexington, Ky, for another SEC Eastern Division matchup this week when they face the Kentucky Wildcats (3-1, 1-1 SEC) at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 4. The 7:30 p.m. ET game will be televised nationally on the SEC Network with Tom Hart and Matt Stinchcomb in the booth and Heather Mitts on the sidelines.

The Gamecocks spent Tuesday afternoon at the Bluff Road “Proving Grounds” preparing for Saturday’s tilt.

Quarterback Dylan Thompson, wide receiver Pharoh Cooper and center Cody Waldrop all returned to practice on Tuesday after sitting out Monday’s workout with a variety of ailments. Defensive line coach Deke Adams indicated that defensive end Gerald Dixon was held out of Tuesday’s session in order to heal up a little bit after getting banged up in the game on Saturday and hopes he will be able to practice on Wednesday.

Following Tuesday’s workout, Kirk Botkin indicated that the revolving door at the Mike linebacker position between T.J. Holloman, Kaiwan Lewis and Marcquis Roberts was based on productivity. Roberts is expected to make his second straight start this week in Kentucky as he’s shown a little more consistency of late. “It’s the same thing week in and week out,” said Botkin. “Whoever makes the most plays, whoever practices best and shows improvement is going to play and we’re going to reward them for that. We’re trying to put the best ones out there and (Roberts) is one of the better ones right now. T.J. is still doing a good job. Kaiwan is a little banged up right now. We’ve got quality depth there. They’re still pushing for the starting job.”

For most of the game last Saturday, the Gamecocks kept good pressure on Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk. “I thought Coach Ward did a great job with the game plan,” said Botkin. “They executed what we asked them to do. (Missouri) is a good football team. They’ve got some high-powered guys. We knew they could score and score fast. We’ve got to start faster and finish stronger.”

Adams echoed Coach Botkin’s sentiments. They did what we asked them to do,” said the defensive line coach of his troops. “They played hard. They ran to the football. We just didn’t finish. We didn’t finish strong the way we needed to. At the very end, we didn’t make plays the way we needed to. If you look at the whole game, I thought we did a good job. Obviously, we didn’t get the result we wanted.”

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Wednesday.

AUDIO: Grady Brown [5:12]

AUDIO: Deke Adams [2:00]

AUDIO: Kirk Botkin [1:26]

 

Talking Tuesday: Spurrier has plenty of respect for rejuvinated Kentucky

Steve Spurrier & Gary Pinkel before the USC-Missouri game

Steve Spurrier & Gary Pinkel before the USC-Missouri game

If there’s one team in the SEC Steve Spurrier has owned, it’s Kentucky.  He’s 20-1 all-time against the Wildcats.  No current FBS coach has more wins over one school.  But at his news conference Tuesday, Spurrier said this is a different Kentucky team in year two under Mark Stoops.  It’s a better team with better athletes and thus should be a real test for his Gamecocks coming off a disappointing home loss to Missouri.

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Spurrier ready to move forward after tough loss to Missouri (AUDIO)

Pharoh Cooper's 4th quarter touchdown catch appeared to put the Missouri game out of reach

Pharoh Cooper’s 4th quarter touchdown catch appeared to put the Missouri game out of reach

USC coach Steve Spurrier has already turned his attention to this week’s game at Kentucky and has put Saturday night’s loss in the rear view mirror.  On his Sunday conference call, Spurrier updated the one serious injury suffered last night, the failure to go for two after their last touchdown, and the race in the SEC East.

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Gamecocks stung by fourth quarter meltdown in Missouri loss (AUDIO)

Missouri's Russell Hansbrough scores one of his three touchdowns against USC Saturday night

Missouri’s Russell Hansbrough scores one of his three touchdowns against USC Saturday night

USC appeared to have their fourth straight win and third straight SEC victory in hand after a 23 yard touchdown catch by Pharoh Cooper with just over seven minutes remaining in last night’s game against Missouri.  That put USC ahead 20-7 and with the way the Gamecock defense had played to that point, there was little reason to think otherwise.

But Missouri quarterback Matty Mauk had other ideas.  Held to 62 passing yards at that point, he fired off a 41 yard completion and then one of 26 yards.  A one yard touchdown run by Russell Hansbrough cut the deficit to six.

The Tigers got the ball back with 4:40 left and went 51 yards in 9 plays to punch in the tying touchdown.  The point after turned out to be the difference on the scoreboard.

The much maligned USC defense had their fourth straight game in which they allowed fewer yards than the previous game (280) and held their opponent to a season’s low 21 points.  The last time the Gamecocks lost a game holding an opponent under 300 yards was in 2012 at Florida.  And the 21 points were the fewest allowed in a defeat since falling to Auburn 16-13 in 2011.

Paharoh Cooper had 3 catches for 52 yards

Paharoh Cooper had 3 catches for 52 yards

Here’s more from the USC and Mizzou players following the game:

AUDIO: Dylan Thompson [2:36]

AUDIO: Mike Davis [0:53]

AUDIO: Gerald Dixon [0:52]

AUDIO: JT Surratt [1:32]

AUDIO: Matty Mauk [1:46]

AUDIO: Bud Sasser [2:14]

AUDIO: Russell Hansbrough [1:32]

AUDIO: Andrew Baggett [1:20]

SportsTalk at the Stadium: Mizzou turns the tables on Gamecocks 21-20 (VIDEO)

The USC defense held Mizzou in check until the final seven minutes when it got away from them

The USC defense held Mizzou in check until the final seven minutes when it got away from them

This was Missouri’s time to stage the comeback against USC.  Though last season’s hero of the Gamecocks’ rally at Missouri Connor Shaw was in attendance, his presence couldn’t help the USC defense stave off the charging Tigers over the final seven minutes.  So this time, Missouri flies home with the stunning victory leaving the Gamecocks, well, stunned.

Here’s the game review from Williams-Brice Stadium: