South Carolina put a thorough beat-down on SEC East rival Georgia on Saturday night winning 35-7 in front of a national television audience. Following the game, here’s what the players and coaches from each side had to say.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier
Opening Statement … Obviously this was a special one, there's no question about (it after), beating Georgia for our 10th in a row and beating three years in a row a school that used to own you. They can't say they own us anymore, that's for sure. Our offense played beautiful. Offense, defense and special teams wise. We did miss one field goal, but we got touchdowns. It was really neat. We weren't all that great on third-down conversions, but we didn't have a whole bunch. It was a special day for us. I was thinking prior that this might be the best one since I've been here. I was thinking it might be closer, but with so much on the line and being here at home, it was a game that our guys were really ready. Our goal is to see if we can match that emotional level and getting ready as we get through the rest of the season. We'll see where this leads us. One thing we'll have to guard against is everyone telling us how great we are, which when you win convincingly, that's what happens. Hopefully as coach and players we understand that we can play like we played that first half at Kentucky.
On the defense slowing down Georgia's offense … We didn't know (the defense) would be as effective as we were. We thought we could play with them. Coach [Lorenzo] Ward had a good feeling going into the game. He and Coach [Brad] Lawing and all the coaches felt like we could slow them down. We haven't given up a bunch of touchdowns this year. Our defensive guys feel pretty good. Fortunately, we were able to kill a bunch of clock in the fourth quarter. I think they only had one possession in the fourth quarter. Obviously with 51 runs and 10 passes, that was a clock moving type of game.
On big plays like Ace Sanders' punt return … They were all big. D.L. Moore's catch, we sort of caught them without a free safety back there, checked to it fast, and he got it down to the one-yard line. That got us to 28-0. Obviously we didn't have a lot of passes, but we didn't have too. Our defense was sensational. Sixty-seven plays they had, (and) 61 for us. That's not a bad way to win sometimes.
On beating Georgia … I knew it was going to be a special one if we won. If we didn't win, it wouldn't be very special of course. When you get to the door of the school trying to win 10 in a row, if you don't do it when is it going to be done if you don't do it now? We had to try and do it tonight. I was telling Jamie Speronis, this was actually my 250th overall win as a coach, and having it against the Georgia Bulldogs is special, too. That's a team that used to beat my alma mater very well. I've been fortunate as a coach against them, not so much as a player, but as a coach so that was special.
On winning for the fans … Our fans had paid their dues, and they need something in return. Hopefully they are getting something in return now that we're able to win at home and win some big games against good teams.
On not getting over confident as a team as the season progresses … All we have to do is remind ourselves of that Kentucky first half and the Vandy game. We were very fortunate to beat Vandy. Sometimes that's how you hope your season goes. We still have a tough road ahead of us. It was a good one tonight and good to get all of those historical wins. Those are fun.
On the game atmosphere … I was thinking our stadium was probably the loudest in the country today with everything that was going on. I know the Swamp is loud, but this is sort of a first time for us with two top 10 teams. That's happened a bunch in the Swamp, but our fans had so much extra energy coming into this game that I knew it would be a loud one. Fortunately it worked out for all of us Gamecocks.
South Carolina linebacker Shaq Wilson
On the goal line stand on fourth and goal … It was a good goal line stand. We've done that several times this year. Our guys can cover, and I guess they threw it about a yard short.
On winning with the running game … Connor (Shaw) is sensational running the ball. That's his game. He can throw, too, but running Marcus (Lattimore) and running him we try to hit some big plays. Fortunately we did hit some big ones. That was key for us. When you play a team like Georgia, you like to limit their number of plays if you can by staying on the field. We did it decent the fourth quarter.
Defensive Coordinator Lorenzo Ward
On what they did to try to contain Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall … I think it was the same pressure we used all season, but we made a conscious effort to not let them get on the outside. If you go back and watch them in every ball game they played, they make their plays by getting on the perimeter. We had a conscious effort to keep them on the inside.
On defensive effort thus far … We've got good players, and I've got good coaches. Not only the front four, but our linebackers have played really well and the perimeter. We were in the position to make some plays. It's a blessing to be able to rush four guys and drop seven when it's time to play football.
South Carolina players
Quarterback Connor Shaw on the team mentality … We had a lot of emotion coming into this game. We had a great week of preparation. The intensity was up in our practices. We came out of the gate rolling. We were all hyped up for this game.
On the atmosphere … This was the greatest atmosphere I've ever played in. I saw a Tweet where Kirk Herbstreit said GameDay at the Horseshoe was one of the greatest he's ever been a part of, so I'm very grateful to the fans.
Quarterback Connor Shaw
On getting the early lead … We found a groove. I think it's important in a game like this to come out early and find your comfort level. We just rolled with it. I'm glad I'm not playing against our defensive line. They played an excellent game.
On playing quarterback for Steve Spurrier … The main thing is just leading the team and limiting the turnovers, playing smart, handling the game and managing the game. That's what I work on during the course of the week and course of the season.
DeVonte Holloman … It was difficult for [Georgia] to hear, and it was really difficult for us to hear. But as far as in the fans eyes, it was probably as crazy as the Alabama game. Everybody just fed off it. Even Coach Ward was jumping around.
Ace Sanders … We just looked at it as if we have them down, we just have to keep pounding because games can turn quick.
Marcus Lattimore … I feel like we come to the ballpark every game expecting to win. We did in the past, but it's just a little more fire and people just motivating us before the game, during the game, after the game. It's just a great team.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt
Opening Statement … Like I told the guys, we took a whipping, but the good news was that we all took it together. I don't think anyone could look in the mirror and say `I had a great day but the other boys didn't.' I don't think either side of the ball could say `We did our job and the other boys didn't.' It was a team loss. We got beat by a very good team that was primed and ready to go. I thought their fans were outstanding. I guess they broke a new record in attendance. They grabbed the momentum early and held on to it. The second quarter, I thought we slowed them down a little bit and stopped the bleeding to a certain degree. I thought the momentum was up for grabs in the second half. Their defense the entire night just took care of business. We have to give them credit. The other thing I told the guys is whether you lose by 28 or you lose in overtime, it is still a loss. That doesn't mean the season is over for Georgia. We still have an opportunity to keep fighting and keep playing and getting better and winning. If we are able to do that, then we will have a chance to get back to Atlanta and that's where we want to be.
On the speed of the South Carolina defense … They've got great speed. They are very long human beings. They are 6-8, 6-6 and have long arms. I think a couple times we were blocking them halfway decent trying to run them by the quarterback, but they are just so long and they are so athletic that [Aaron] Murray was getting grabbed right at the last moment as he was trying to move up into the pocket. We did a good job at times.
On the first few South Carolina drives … Three touchdowns in a row unanswered ,and we might have had a couple first downs here and there so it resembled a drive. It was nothing that really threatened them. We started to get some stops on defense and once you start getting stops it stabilizes to where, if you are able to put seven on the board before the half and you get the ball, you're not in that bad of shape.
Cornerback Sanders Commings on what USC was doing in the first half … Nothing special at all. It was just lack of focus. When that happens, it is easy for a team to make a big play and that's what they did.
Quarterback Aaron Murray
On what the loss does to Georgia's morale … It stinks. We felt like we had a great rhythm offensively going on in the first five games. We've got to go back, watch the film and make corrections and get better. It's still a long season to go and there's still six games left. Plenty of chances to get better, more games to win. We just have to watch the film and get better.
On how big South Carolina's punt return touchdown was … It was huge. They built up a whole lot of momentum and it's hard when a team like that gets rolling.
On how much of a roadblock it is when the running game can't get going … They did a great job defensively putting us in the situation of having third and longs. That's not where you want to be. I know we had our shots, I know we weren't executing whenever we had them. We just have to go watch the film and having a bye week is huge for us to work on some fundamentals and get ready for the next opponent.
Linebacker Jarvis Jones … I think they just came out and made a couple big plays in the first quarter and scored on them. They really didn't do anything else until the big play in the third quarter and had the last play in the fourth quarter. I think we held them in check but being down 21-0 in the first quarter, that's hard to come by, especially by a team in the SEC.
Quotes compiled by USC Sports Information
More Georgia game coverage
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In Photos: Gamecocks stifle Georgia - Photojournalist Juan Blas was on hand to capture all the action in still shots from the 35-7 victory over Georgia. From Bruce Ellington’s opening touchdown catch to Chaz Sutton embracing Brad Lawing and Shawn Elliott as they walked off the field, Blas delivers beautiful shots from start to finish.
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