FOOTBALL GAME NOTES & QUOTES -- SOUTH CAROLINA VS. VIRGINIA -- SEPT. 6, 2003
The first quarter 42 yard field goal by Daniel Weaver was his first attempt of the 2003 season. It was one yard shy of his career long of 43 yards. Weaver missed a 41 yard attempt in the third quarter. He has made five of nine from more than 40 yards in his career. Overall Weaver has made 25 field goals in 37 attempts.
The first quarter interception by Lance Laury was the first of his career. Laury is a redshirt sophomore. The third quarter interception by Jeremiah Garrison was the second of his career. Garrison had an interception against Georgia in 2001.
The attendance of 80,150 was the second consecutive crowd in excess of 80,000 this season. Two South Carolina home dates have drawn 162,377 fans, an average of 81,885 per game.
The 99 yard second quarter scoring pass from Dondrail Pinkins to Troy Williamson is a South Carolina school record. The longest previous was 97 yards from Todd Ellis to Robert Brooks against East Carolina in 1988. The 99 yard reception tied the Southeastern Conference record set in 1977 by Chris Collingsworth to Derrick Gaffney of Florida against Rice. It also tied the NCAA record, the 14th time a 99 yard pass play has been completed in NCAA history. Virginia head coach Al Groh was a member of the South Carolina staff in 1988 when the Gamecocks set the previous long completion record of 97 yards.
The Troy Williamson 99 yard reception and run was his second touchdown of the 2003 season. He caught an eight yard pass for South Carolina's first touchdown in the 14-7 win over Louisiana Lafayette. Williamson caught four touchdown passes last year and has six career TD receptions.
The third quarter fumble recovery at the Virginia 11 yard line by Moe Thompson was the third of Thompson's career and first this season. The recovery set up a six yard touchdown run by Daccus Turman, the third rushing touchdown of his career and fourth TD overall. Thompson was credited with seven tackles, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in the game.
Daccus Turman rushed for more than 100 yards for the first time in his career. He finished with 18 carries for 123 yards. Turman's best previous game was 49 yards last year against Louisiana State. It was the first South Carolina triple digit individual rushing game since Corey Jenkins netted 101 yards last year against Georgia.
The six yard run that gave South Carolina a 24-7 fourth quarter lead was the first touchdown of the season by Dondrail Pinkins and his fifth career TD. He scored twice for the Gamecocks in both 2001 and 2002. The Pinkins score completed an 80 yard drive in 13 plays.
The last South Carolina defeat of a nationally ranked team was a 31-28 win over Ohio State in the 2002 Outback Bowl. The last time South Carolina defeated a ranked team at home was a 21-10 win over 12th ranked Georgia in 2000.
Mike Rathe and Bennett Swygert saw their first action at quarterback for the Gamecocks. Swygert scored on a six yard roll out keeper play on the first play after he entered the game to increase the Gamecock lead to 31-7. The TD capped a 12 play 48 yard drive. Rathe is a junior transfer from junior college and Swygert is a redshirt freshman who was injured last year. Rathe rushed twice for five yards. Neither Rathe nor Swygert attempted a pass. The touchdown by Swygert was on his first and only play as a Gamecock. In other words Bennett Swygert has played one down as a Gamecock QB ... and it went for a touchdown. One snap, one TD.
South Carolina's two true freshman tailbacks combined to rush for 67 yards against Virginia. Demetris Summers gained 42 yards on 11 carries and Cory Boyd had 25 yards on six attempts, mostly in the final touchdown drive.
Coach Lou Holtz post-game press conference comments:
I said something good would come out of last week. The way we bounced back against a good Virginia football team. Offensively and defensively, we played an excellent football game. We gave up seven first downs. That's the fewest I can ever remember giving up. The defense played excellent. Virginia has good backs. We forced three turnovers, but were not tested down field. ... It was my fault on the 34-yard run. We were in the wrong defense. ... The coaches called a great game. It was an excellent call on the 99-yard slant. ... The backs ran well. Truman, Summers, Boyd, all three ran well. And Pinkins had some good plays. We've got to do better on the passing game. We dropped some passes. One thing, we won't get letters asking why we didn't throw to the tight end. ... It was a total team effort, unselfish. ... We had some foolish penalties, and I was disappointed in the kickoff coverage and punt coverage. Protection was good, but we allowed ball to bounce too much on punt. ... We go to Georgia, it will be difficult. We handled disappointment well last week, not sure how we will handle the road this week. ... At half, Skip challenged the offensive. We were not catching the ball well. They accepted the challenge. 256 yards is impressive. ... on 99-yard pass: We called the play, figuring on hesitation on the run possibly and may be in man coverage, and they were. Troy broke the one tackle, and that was it. A real big play. ... Matthew Thomas had two catches, but boy did he block. Brian Brownlee blocked well also. ... Truman is an interesting story. He's a beautiful person. He broke all of Herschel Walker's records, but he was not highly recruited. He's not going 70 yards, but there's something about him l liked. I just like the way he ran in high school. You don't break Herschel Walker's records if you're not doing something right. He moves the chains. ... We had a chance to run some screens and dropped them. We go against our defense every day in team pass. We've got to be a balanced team. ... Today we were pretty good. Other than the kicking game. We are not great, we're young, but we proved that we can play against a top-15 team when we play well. ... If we're going to be a great defense, we've got to play well inside. Gause, Thompson, Capers, all made good plays. All them, along with James Scott, are getting better. We are getting a better understanding. I would like to think we are getting better. ... Georgia presents more problems than these people. ... I don't want to undersell this football team, I don't want anybody to belittle this team, but I"ve got to be honest. On Monday, I was a basket case. ... Defensively, we are gaining faith in what we are trying to do. It's completely different. ... We scored 31 points with not much field position. The defense gave us good field position in the first half. Our third down defense was excellent this week. ... We like a four man line. We made a commitment to it. Just getting a feeling of what we are doing. It's not the scheme, it's the players. Marcus Lawrence, Laurie, Garrision, and hope we get Hurley back. I have a lot of respect for him. Freddy Saint-Preux stepped in. We are playing well as a team. ... It was fun to be part of this team today. ... The last two weeks, we had more second-and-one and second-and-two that they don't make. ... Running the quarterback worked well against the linebackers. ... I believe in this football team. Nothing is as good as it seems, and nothing is as bad as it seems. We are not as bad as we appeared last week. And we are not as good as look this week.
Virginia Head Coach - Al Groh:
"The defense wore themselves down by not getting the other guys off the field enough. We weren't playing strong enough across the defensive front."
(on Troy Williamson's 99 yard TD reception)
"It wasn't a shift in momentum, but more like a shift in the score. It was a play we anticipated by the way we were practicing this week. It was a very embarrassing play."
"I was confident coming down here that it would be a real tough fight. This was a very challenging environment. Unfortunately from top to bottom, from head coach to someone who didn't play much, we didn't do well."
(on using another QB)
"We didn't anticipate putting anyone else in the game."
(on Virginia RB - Wali Lundy)
"He didn't seem to have much juice tonight. He was trying, but just couldn't do much. I don't think anyone really played well today."
Virginia LB - Dennis Haley
"They just beat us today. We knew it was going to be a hostile environment and they take in the fans. South Carolina was not a walk over and we knew it was going to be a fight until the end."
Virginia LB - Darryl Blackstock
(on South Carolina's 3rd quarter momentum) "They came off the ball really well and we couldn't stop them."
(on Williamson's 99-yard touchdown)
"We were in the right defense. We just had one missed assignment and that hurts. He caught an alley and any one can do that when they get an alley."
(on the loss)
"We've taken a loss before and rebounded back. Today we got hit in the face and this was a reality check for us."
Virginia RB-Alvin Pearman
"Once the crowd got into it and the offensive line got rolling an pushed us back. We didn't play our type of football."
(On QB Martinez 1st start)
"He did a good job, he hung in there and keep getting up. He made his first start in front of what 83,000 fans- This was a big step for him."
South Carolina Player Quotes
"We just tried to prepare for it be a physical game. They really dominate teams up front. They had some very good men up front. We challenged ourselves all week to be dominate on the O Line. The quarterback, the running backs - everyone did a nice job. The team ran harder and blocked harder today. WE had to focus."
"Last week to this week - we just believed in ourselves. We know that we are a good team, this week we just had to believe it and play hard. The defense played great. They put so much pressure on the passer that they had to go to the ground. Our defensive line and linebackers took care of the whole game. They really played well.
The crowd really helped us today. We want to play well for them and they helped us today."
"We just focused a lot more this week. We worked hard to get ready for their offense - we know they are good. We were tired of being known as the underdogs. Next week we have a tough task in front of us, so we can't get big-headed about it. I really love playing the 4-3 defense. I played it in high school so it was easy for me to adjust."
"We had some good things today and some bad things - the interception was certainly one of the bad things. When we came to the sidelines after that play, my teammates just said don't get down. Don't be negative. Then the offense started moving the ball well. They made a great play. I just tried to go out and read the defensive schemes. They did a great job and gave us a lot of momentum. (on running the last 26 of 27 plays) I don't think we'll stop passing. We just tried to pound the ball in there and get it in the end zone. The receivers played very well today."
"The sidelines were a great place to be today. It felt great, especially beating a team like Virginia. They are very good team. But next week we have an even bigger game. We want to go out each week and win."
"The offensive and I are a unit together. I think all 11 of us came out and we played good dominating football. We have a lot of good backs and we work hard. The coaches say who ever gets the groove going will get the touches."
"Everybody played excellent. The offensive line did a great job. It was fun. At half time we knew that we had missed some opportunities - we didn't get a few first downs we should have. But we came out in the second half and dominated. We ran the ball and the offensive line just played great. So many times they did what they needed to do."
"It feels good to get a win. Anytime you get a win it feels great. How long do you dwell on this win - just for a few more hours of today. Tomorrow we will have to get ready to play Georgia. We know they are a good team. That was a good Virginia team we played. It was a very physical game. We had to win the war up front."