South Carolina didn’t have any trouble in its home conference opener torching Missouri 31-10 on Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium. Following the game, here is what the players and coaches had to say.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier was proud of senior Adam Yates and the rest of the special teams in the 31-10 victory over Missouri on Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium
We gave out a lot of game balls, a lot of guys really played super today. A.J. Cann, Connor Shaw, Ace Sanders, Chaz Sutton, and Devin Taylor, all of those guys were sensational. We also gave one to Joe Robinson special teams coach, we had two big returns, Bruce [Ellington] and Ace, and also Lorenzo Ward had an excellent plan for Missouri and our guys executed beautifully. It was an interesting game, we had an 80-yard run by Connor taken away for a penalty where he [the referee] said the offensive tackle took the guy inside the tackle box, we thought you could do that but the guy said you can't. We messed up on the one-yard line and did not score. Other than that we played really well, all the guys played well. I'm really proud of our team.
It was a really good win for our guys, a lot of guys played well. We lost two fumbles and we don't like that. Marcus [Lattimore] had a lot of good runs in there and Connor had some good runs also. I think it was evident we were a little stronger than Missouri. Our defensive guys were really fast out there today and it was just a really good win for us. Connor was 20-of-21, he got off to a slow start, he missed his first one I think., but he was sensational. All the guys played well, protection was good. They didn't really blitz a whole bunch it seemed like, but they were tough up front; we made a few yards here and there. It was a wonderful victory and we're happy to get it.
Note: Spurrier did not take questions from the media
On what they [the defense] did to affect Missouri … The thing we preached all week is we felt like we would be successful on defense if we could number one, get lined up, and number two, make the proper check, and I thought the guys did that well.
On Chaz Sutton … Chaz has played well this season. He didn't play a lot against Vanderbilt but we started playing him more against East Carolina and he played well against UAB. He's started to make plays and I think he's developing more confidence.
On TJ Gurley … For a true freshmen to start his first SEC game in this stadium I think that's huge. It will be a huge confidence boost for him, and I think we now know we have three solid safeties we can go out and play with.
South Carolina players
Quarterback Connor Shaw
On the play call at the end up of the half … On the touchdown pass we recognized it was cover one in the corner and he [Ace Sanders] made a great move off the line and got open. I threw it on time and he made a great catch.
On being tied for second-most consecutive completions in SEC … I wasn't aware until they told me after the game. Of course I had a lot of guys around that helped a lot with that. My offensive line played great and our receivers caught great passes and made yards after catches as well.
On getting stopped on fourth and one and then Ace Sanders making the play … Our special teams has really stepped up. I think Ace [Sanders] and Bruce [Ellington] back there are really dangerous threats and that's something we've been needing the past few years.
Wide receiver Ace Sanders
On the punt return … I was just reading my block, that's all it was. I got a couple good blocks from some teammates and I just made the best of the return.
On having a consistent threat in the return game … It felt real good [getting on track] and it made the coaches excited about the return game. Not only the punt return but Bruce [Ellington] had a big kick return and that was our first return of the season so it was just a big upside for our special teams.
Linebacker Shaq Wilson
On overall play of the defense … Just good preparation, they [the coaches] get us prepared. The key is using good technique and using our eyes. We practiced hard and came out here and put on a show.
Wide receiver Bruce Ellington
On how deep he can take the ball on kickoffs … The rule was three yards, but I was a little anxious back there and I wanted to take it out. I wanted to make a play before the half, so I took the ball out.
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney
On the things they did in practice that prepared them for today … We went against our offense a lot. We gave ourselves a fast call to practice being able to get [the call] in. We could call it ourselves if we felt like they were setting up fast enough.
On the difficulty of playing a team that sets up quickly … It is very hard, but you have to slow them down. You have to keep up with them and make them slow down. A fast tempo game wasn't working for us. It will really wear their players out and ours, but if we keep up with them we can slow them down. So that's what we ended up doing, and they played where we wanted them to play.
Running back Marcus Lattimore
On getting more involved in the offense … We had a great game plan coming in. We were going to run the ball, and we were going to throw the ball. We executed the game plan, look at the score.
On Connor Shaw … He has had a lot of great games so it's hard to say that this was his best game, but it might have been. He was 20-of-21. That's unheard of in the SEC. He just does the same thing every time he goes out there. He is our leader. He is consistent. He stays in the pocket when he has to, and he runs when he has to. He is a complete quarterback.
On being the number one option … It was part of the game plan coming in. We knew what kind of defense they were going to play. I love catching the ball. I caught the ball in high school and I have caught the ball a lot here so it's no problem to me.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel
Opening Statement … First of all, South Carolina is a really good football team and I think we have to give them a lot of credit. Personally I think they deserve it. They are very well coached, didn't make many mistakes and in turn took advantage of some of the mistakes we made. Especially with the field position they had in the first half because of their special teams. That was a pretty dominating performance so we will learn from it and get better.
On not being able to convert on third down … I think you give their front six a lot of credit, because they are very talented. Obviously, we are very young, and overall, they won that battle. You get in third and long situations and that's not the ideal situation to be in with that group up front for the Gamecocks. They put pressure on you and are very difficult to block. We will learn from that, but they are very talented and they played very well.
On the difference in special teams … I said something about that at halftime in the interview with CBS that field position was staggering. So much of it was tackling and a lot of it was hang time. When you only have two or three seconds hang time on a punt, you have serious problems. Especially with the quickness of the players they have back there waiting to return the ball. That was huge, and we gave them short fields to capitalize on.
Offensive lineman Jack Meiners
On the difficulty blocking South Carolina's front four … The difference in South Carolina's defensive front apart from the rest of the SEC is their depth. Their first-string guys are world class defenders, probably going to be high-round draft picks, especially their two starting defensive ends.
On pass protection … I felt like it was good. There were a couple of holes here and there. they got us a couple of times just talent wise. They are great players, great defensive ends, but I felt for most of the time James (Franklin) had some good time back there.
Halfback TJ Moe
On struggling on offense and going back to the drawing board … All I can do is run my routes and try to get open, and unless I'm watching film it is hard to evaluate anyone else.
On losing two games this year … The defense has been great this year and put us in a position to win this game. We just have to put [ourselves] in a position to make plays. We weren't necessarily dropping balls all over the place. We weren't so bad today offensively. We just have to put ourselves in a position offensively to make plays.
Cornerback E.J. Gaines
On what you can learn from today's game … Always can take something from this game, but today most of the things we will take away will be negative. We just have to go watch film and just get better.
On the two touchdowns passes allowed today… The first one we were in cover two so it was just a mix up between coverages, and the second one I just got beat off the line. It's just my fundamentals, so I just have to work on them and get better for next week.
Kip Edwards - Senior - Cornerback
On Shaw completing 20 in a row … We need to play better. It starts in practice, and we need to play better. On both sides of the ball, we gave up 31 points - that's too much. We are trying to win the East; we are trying to win the whole SEC. It's too much. So practice we need to take more seriously.
On stripping a guy on a punt return vs. tackling him … That's an underclassman mistake I made. I should have made the tackle, and I blame the whole momentum shift and the way the game went on me because if I make that tackle nobody knows we could have stopped him and the game would have still been 0-0.
Marcus Lucas - Junior - Wide Receiver
On pinpointing what problems the offense is experiencing right now… We played a great football game today, and I think it is just something we are going to have to do internally and just step up a little bit.
On where the confidence level of the team is coming out of today's game… We had some good drives where we drove in to their territory, and we just need to build off it and have confidence in our game. And we can play with these guys. We just have to remain confident.
All quotes compiled by USC Sports Information