Vintage Spurrier Shines in Gamecocks Beat-down of Kentucky

Connor Shaw threw for over 300 yards, and South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier displayed some of his old ‘Fun ‘n Gun’ offense from Florida, as the Gamecocks (5-1 overall, 3-1 in the SEC) defeated the Kentucky Wildcats (2-4, 0-3) 54-3 Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Gamecocks’ running back Marcus Lattimore added 102 yards rushing, and the defense held Kentucky to just 96 yards and six first downs.

“It was a good win for us.  The defense was outstanding.” said Spurrier.  “We had a balanced attack.  We got over 600 yards.  We haven’t done it much.”

The Gamecocks totaled 639 total yards of offense against the Wildcats in Shaw’s first start at quarterback, replacing the ineffective Stephen Garcia.

Shaw also believed his preparation for this game, as opposed to his start against East Carolina, made the difference.

“In Charlotte I don’t think I was as prepared as I was (today).  They let me know early in the week (this time), so I just had a good mindset coming into it,” said Shaw.  “My teammates were really helpful and the o-line came to me and said we have your back.”

While confidence may be on the back of South Carolina, the Wildcats lost any they might have had entering this game.

Kentucky only managed 96 yards of total offense, and turned the ball over six times.

“Ugly is how you can describe it.  Especially offensively, (we) had a chance to make a play early in the first half, wide open guy but threw it inside and [they] made an interception,” said Kentucky Head Coach Joker Phillips.  “[We have] an offense that can’t make plays, can’t stay on the field, an offense that turns the ball over six times, numerous times on first down.”

Wildcats’ quarterbacks Morgan Newton and Maxwell Smith combines to complete only 4 of 26 passes attempted, throwing four interceptions, for only 17 yards.

Phillips said that his team will use the off-week to figure what will work on offense.  They face Jacksonville State on October 22nd.

Meanwhile, the Gamecocks will take its new starting quarterback and much needed confidence to face Mississippi State in Starkville.

However, South Carolina’s Assistant Head Coach Ellis Johnson summarizes what this game, and last week’s loss against Auburn means for this Gamecocks team.

“One game doesn’t make a season, and one season doesn’t make a program,” said Johnson.  “We are going to continue to work and improve.”

Work and improve is definitely something this team will need, as three consecutive road games will define its 2011 season.

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