South Carolina narrowly escaped Wofford’s upset bid with a 24-7 victory on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium. Following the game, read what the players and coaches from both sides had to say.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier
Head coach Steve Spurrier
Opening comments … This game was about like every time we've played Wofford. It was very close and then something good happened for us in the fourth quarter. They were driving in that third quarter drive and fumbled. We managed to put together some descent drives. Our passing game was not very good. We hit a few comebacks late in the game. We noticed we had a one-on-one with Bruce Ellington and Ace Sanders. That was about the only two balls we hit down field. Wofford is a good team, we knew that coming in and we knew it was going to be a close dog fight all the way through. We got some turnovers that gave us a little room to breathe at the end of the game.
I'm really proud of these seniors. These guys have 36 wins now, so we've averaged nine wins a year for the last four years. I think in the history of the school, prior to these last four years, there were two nine-win seasons and one 10. So we've had three nine-win or better seasons in school history and these guys are averaging nine for their four years. That's pretty neat. Hopefully we can get above it as we play these last two games.
We made a bunch of third downs, 7-of-13, same as last week. They were tough. We knew it and we watched it on tape. We feel fortunate to come out winning. I'm proud of the defense. They gave up a couple drives, but other than that, we forced some turnovers and forced some fumbles. They certainly played well. It was a good win for us. We're glad to get number nine. The yardage was pretty similar, they had more yards than we did.
We got some turnovers and got the defensive score by Akeem Auguste. D.J. Swearinger had a heck of a game again. I think Byron Jerideau had 10 or 11 tackles inside there. We knew it was a game of tackling and blocking. I think our offensive line blocked the inside zone pretty well as Kenny Miles ran for 136 yards. This was Kenny's day. He got a game ball along with some of those other defensive guys. D.J. and Devin Taylor and Jerideau. We gave one to T.J. Johnson, our center. He's started every game since he's been here. He's got a school record going. I don't think we've had a bad snap in a long time. He's been very solid and consistent for us, so we gave him a game ball too.
On Connor Shaw … He took off running when he had to a few times there at the end. It was like LSU almost. I'm saying you've got to throw it somewhere, Connor, you can't take off running every play. I know they had pretty good coverage. I couldn't get him to turn it loose. He did turn a few loose though. He was 16-of-21. Most of them were pretty short ones. We did have a couple of comebacks there. One play, we actually had Damiere (Byrd) running deep, and he dropped a snap and picked it up. I think he could have still thrown it, but he took off running. Give Wofford credit. Those guys can play defense. They're pretty good. They held us under 300 yards. They're a good defensive team. I think they're number one in the Southern Conference. We couldn't block them several times. They were just too good for us. It's okay (his foot). It hurts him a little bit, but he sucks it up and can go play.
On Kenny Miles … Before the game when the seniors came through I told him we did this last year, but this is the last time we can do it for you. He would probably love to come back and play again. He's a good back. He's always been a good back here. His average per carry is very good. It's probably the best of all the backs that played here. I don't know what exactly it is. He can catch it and run with it and block. He's a very good back. He'll get a chance in the NFL, somebody is going to give him a chance, and maybe he'll even be drafted in the middle rounds.
On the fourth down stop that led to the field goal in the fourth quarter … That was big. We were hoping to score a touchdown and had to kick a field goal. None of us like those, but that's what we got forced to do on the five-yard line. We got the turnover when they went for the fourth and a yard and a half or so and made a big stop there. They`re a team that goes for a bunch of them and they make a lot of them. That was a big stop and then we got the touchdown right away and then Akeem Auguste got his. What happened within about four plays there, I think we got 14 points out of it.
Quarterback Connor Shaw and running back Kenny Miles
On tying Rex Enright with 64 career wins at South Carolina … I haven't thought about this one too much, the next one will be a little bigger. I'm just tied right now. Ties are whatever, but the next one will be a little bit more special. Again, it's about what this team has the chance to do this year. I don't know if we can get to 11. We'll try to get 10 first. Ten will be the next goal and to try to beat our in-state competitors. They're a very good team. We'll start talking about them next week.
On getting the seventh home victory of the season … I felt this was going to be a difficult game. In the first half we had four possessions. We went down the field and scored a touchdown. Mike (Davis) fumbled. We had to punt once and we threw an interception late. That was it. That could have happened in the second half. They could have not fumbled. Who knows what could have happened. You just keep playing and getting your guys to try as hard as they can.
It worked out for us with those two plays in the fourth quarter that put them away. I was relieved. They beat us in 1917. You don't think it went through my mind that they could beat us and then I'd have to come in here and say that was the first time they beat us in 95 years. I'd like to trade with Alabama to play the team they played this week in Western Carolina. They're struggling a little bit and Wofford is the conference champion. It's behind us and I congratulated Coach Ayers for winning their conference championship. It's certainly an outstanding year for them.
On Jadeveon Clowney … He didn't practice all week. We thought he'd be okay by Thursday and he couldn't push off or get in his stance. He had a little knee problem and his foot. It was a game that Coach Lawing said we have Chaz (Sutton) and Devin (Taylor) and Aldrick (Fordham) and they're ready to play. He couldn't play; he couldn't practice all week. He was hurting. Hopefully he'll be ready Wednesday or Thursday.
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward
Seniors making play … We have a great group of young men. We have been very blessed that they have been a part of this South Carolina team. The senior leadership we have had all season has just been tremendous. We feel like we have guys that are capable of making big plays, and making big plays when we need them.
D.J. [Swearinger] stepped up and made a big tackle to cause a fumble, and I think that triggered something in our players. I am very proud of this group and proud that they won seven games. I think they are going to go down as one of the best groups that ever played at South Carolina, and I believe that title is well deserved.
South Carolina players
Cornerback Akeem Auguste
Wide receiver Ace Sanders on Clemson … As soon as we got in the locker room we said what we say after every game `We'll celebrate this win tonight and when we come back to the stadium we'll look at the next game.' I know some guys have been waiting on this game so I know the atmosphere at practice is going to be game tempo and everyone is just going to go 100 percent all week.
Senior Akeem Auguste … It's a blessing, I haven't played a lot this year but I'm making the best of my time now. … It didn't hit me until I started going over to the student section and realized this is going to be the last student section I see cheering for me. It's a blessing to be out there for these few years I've been in South Carolina and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Quarterback Connor Shaw
On how his foot is affecting him … I'm a little banged up, I re-twisted it in the first series, but I was able to finish strong.
On his performance today … Wofford dropped eight and rushed three just about every other play and the play calls they did have they dropped a big zone so I was forced to run on a couple of those. I don't know how much longer I could have stayed in the pocket. I tried to stay in the pocket as long as I could but there's always stuff to improve on.
Senior D.J. Swearinger … I think I had a decent last home game, 12 tackles is a good game for me. I wanted to get a forced fumble today, I haven't had one all year so I think I had a productive day and went out with a bang for my last home game.
Senior Kenny Miles … I feel humbled and blessed for the opportunity I've had to be at South Carolina for the last couple years. During the game, I didn't treat it like a senior day. I just treated it like any other game. The main thing I focused on was just to run hard and keep running.
Senior Shaq Wilson … We will prepare a lot differently. We will definitely work on more pass defense. Tomorrow, we will come in and watch the film and start to prepare the game plan. We kind of know what they do, because we play them every year, but we will get ready for them and be ready. … It was a lot of fun and an enjoyable game. One of the best parts was being there with my coaches and teammates, being there in the moment and celebrating the win. All that really made the game a lot of fun. It was an exciting day for me.
Wofford head coach Mike Ayers
On turnovers and the overall team effort … Turnovers got us today. If we don't turn it over and take care of the ball then the other side may be a little sad. Loved the effort of the kids and the way that they conducted themselves and know that we really worked hard for this. We didn't come to collect a check, we came to get a win. It's tough when you know you are so close and to know that we almost beat goliath. Also, really proud of our coaches they worked really hard to get our guys dialed in and our boys played and showed up.
On where they go from here and game decisions … Can only go back and hope that we can make the playoffs. We made some decisions in the game whether to go for it on fourth down or not and it really came down to balancing the amount of time that our offense and defense were on the field.
What was the conversation like at half time? … All we did was talk business. There was no rah rah about it, we just talked about what we needed to do to win the game. If we would take care of the ball and not turn it over and play defense we thought we would have an opportunity to be with them there at the end. We did lose two quarterbacks but there were some plays that we cold have run but tried to limit the plays that could get our other quarterbacks injured.
Two stops early in the red zone … Huge. Huge. It really gave us confidence and kept us in the game. We talked a lot of different scenarios and we tried to delve into everything and we could do to beat theses guys. They showed us pretty much everything we expected from them on offense. They thought they could push us around with their bigger athletes, which is why I presume they stayed with the run game because you know those guys are giants.
Fullback Eric Breitenstein … I thought we played really well. Our defense, like coach was saying, played lights out. We had a lot of guys step up and make plays. Offensively, we moved the ball on them. We proved that. Shooting yourselves in the foot, you can't turn the ball over, and that's on me, too.
Linebacker Alvin Scioneaux … We were confident all week. We knew we always had a chance. They put on their pants just like us. Eric [Breitenstein] was just speaking, we were shooting ourselves in the foot, turning the ball over, stuff like that. If we played sound football in all three phases of the game, we definitely would have come out with a win. Play sound football, and we will get a win. If you turn the ball over, don't contain the ball, put the ball on the ground, then you lose. We have a few things we need to correct and I'm sure we will correct those this upcoming week if we get into the playoffs. We will get back to work, if we get into the playoffs.
Scioneaux on getting pressure on Connor Shaw … The defensive line as a whole, it was obvious we weren't 6-10, 330 pounds, so we definitely had the speed advantage. We definitely wanted to take advantage of that throughout the game. The entire defensive line got good pressure throughout the game. I credit the defensive line, the linebackers, and coaches.
From USC Sports Information
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