December 3, 2014 • Volume 36 • Issue 24 • $1.50
Streak snapped Tigers take one in Death Valley
Women’s team tops nation in AP Poll 2014 End of the Year Edition • Spurs & Feathers returns in January
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Spurs & Feathers
December 3, 2014
What’s Inside? - Table of Contents
Published by Aiken Communications, Inc.
Contact Us: 301 Greystone Blvd. Columbia, SC 29210 (803) 335-1399 To subscribe: Please call 800-559-2311; annual subscription price is $50 Ellen Priest Publisher Aiken Communications, Inc. Tim O’Briant General Manager firstname.lastname@example.org (803) 335-1400 Ext. 500
The son of Kirk and Eva Mason of the Spartanburg Gamecock Club chapter, Evan Mason enjoyed everything about the Clemson game except the outcome.
Skylar (daughter of Lance and Robin Darrell) and Riley (son of Kevin and Amy Metts) enjoy the Gamecock victory over South Alabama at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Carter and Ayden Beeks of Branchville, S.C. modeling their Gamecock Turkey shirts their Mom made for them for Thanksgiving.
Brian Hand Executive Editor email@example.com (803) 335-1399 Ext. 506 Ed Girardeau Contributing Editor/ Advertising Account Executive firstname.lastname@example.org (803) 646-9807 Dee Taylor Advertising Director (803) 644-2371 Kathy Boyette Advertising Sales Manager (803) 295-3654 email@example.com Brooks Rogers Advertising Representative (803) 446-4022 firstname.lastname@example.org Reporters Kyle Heck and Collyn Taylor Photographers Allen Sharpe and Jenny Dilworth Mary Watson Graphic Designer Cover Design: Tim O’Briant (photos by Allen Sharpe and Travis Bell/Sideline Carolina) Postal Information: SPURS & FEATHERS (USPS 12779) (ISSN 7454368X) is published 26 times annually. The frequency is monthly from December to July and weekly from the third Wednesday in August to the fourth Wednesday in November. SPURS & FEATHERS also publishes three slick-paper magazine issues — one in January, one in July and one in August. The annual subscription price is $50 for non Gamecock Club members. Members of the Gamecock Club receive a discounted subscription as a member benefit. Spurs & Feathers is published by Aiken Communications, Inc., 326 Rutland Drive NW, Aiken, SC, 29801-4010. Periodicals postage paid at Columbia, SC Postmaster: Send changes to SPURS & FEATHERS, PO Box 456, Aiken, SC, 29802.
photo by allen sharpe
Thompson blessed to be a Gamecock.................................................... 4 Gamecocks fall to Clemson, turn focus to bowl game...................... 5 South Carolina/Clemson postgame notes/quotes............................. 6 No. 1! South Carolina women’s basketball makes history................ 8 Gamecock men’s basketball bests UNC Asheville............................... 9 The view from the Clemson locker room.............................................10 Gamecock equestrian closes fall strongly............................................11 Tigerburn kicked off rivalry week............................................................12 Gamecock football recognized for academic achievement..........13 Recruiting Roundup.....................................................................................14 Union County holds annual Tigerburn..................................................18 Gamecock swimming and diving has strong fall...............................19 Fairfield County a hardworking chapter...............................................25 Tremendous turnout for Colleton County pep rally.........................26 Legendary fan of the Game profile.........................................................27 Langston Moore column............................................................................28 Unique views from Ed Girardeau.............................................................30
December 3, 2014
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December 3, 2014
Thompson hated to lose, but says he is ‘blessed’ to be a Gamecock by collyn taylor Reporter
That’s fleeting, but my teammates that’s what will last.” Along with throwing for 249 yards, A statistically overwhelming regularThompson completed 21 passes on 39 atseason came to an end Saturday, Nov. 29 as tempts. He also threw for one touchdown. Dylan Thompson broke a school record for While he didn’t complete 18 passes, passing yards in a season against archrival Clemson’s coverage was blanketing his Clemson. wide receivers all day. Thompson threw for 249 yards in the “I thought Dylan played well,” head game, giving him 3,280 yards for the seacoach Steve Spurrier said. “We kept throwson, surpassing Todd Ellis’ previous record ing into the air on third down [though].” of 3,206 set in 1987. And while he shatThompson’s long pass on the day came on tered the record that wasn’t on his mind a rollout play were he hit freshman running at the end of the game. He was more conback David Williams on a short out route cerned about what he said that Williams turned into a mattered. 59-yard completion. “I enjoyed my teamWhile he did have a mates,” Thompson said. usual day for him this sea“We have a blast together son, Clemson was able to and I love every guy in put him under pressure for Dylan Thompson that locker room and most of the game. ThompKeenanSuggs that’s what really matters. son said that the Tiger Player of the Week Records will be broken. defense came out with a
really good gameplan against the offense. “They did a good job,” he said. “They had a good plan for us and they executed.” The loss to Clemson capped a staggering season statistically for Thompson. Not only did he pass for more yards in a single season than any Gamecock quarterback before him, but he tallied 24 passing touchdowns on the season, including one to Damiere Byrd against Clemson. On average, Thompson threw for 273.3 yards per game and had a season-long quarterback efficiency of 139.26. While the result was not what he expected in his final season in the garnet and black he did have one of the most statistically significant seasons that any Gamecock has ever had. And, as his regular-season is over at Carolina, he’s happy that he got to do it with the winningest teams in school history. “You have to battle,” Thompson said. “That’s one thing that I would say. I wouldn’t chose anybody else to play with:
photo by jenny dilworth
our teammates, our coaches and the guys we have. We love each other and we obviously don’t want to lose in this rivalry, but it’s a blessing to do what we’re able to do.”
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December 3, 2014
Gamecocks fall to Clemson, turn focus to bowl game
by brian hand Executive Editor
CLEMSON, S.C. - Clemson was finally able to break South Carolina’s long winning streak in the Palmetto Bowl in a 35-17 victory over the Gamecocks before a crowd of 82,270 at Memorial Stadium. In what has been an up and down 2014 season to say the least, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said after the loss to the Tigers that being bowl eligible and 6-6 might just be what the Gamecocks were capable of this year in the regular-season. “I told the guys, ‘6-6 might be what we are,’” Spurrier noted. “We’re bowl eligible, we’re 6-6. Obviously we could have won some and we could have lost some we won, so maybe we say this is where we are and go try to win us a bowl game. Simple as that.” South Carolina would receive the opening kickoff, but they would be unable to pick up any points with a Tyler Hull punt pinning the Tigers at their own three-yard line. The Tigers from there would make their way deep into Gamecock territory, but Clemson would be unable to get any points with Ammon Lakip missing a 47-yard field goal attempt to leave the game at 0-0 with exactly eight minutes left in the first quarter. The Gamecocks would take advantage of Clemson’s inability to score with South Caro-
lina methodically marching 70 yards after the miss to take a 7-0 lead. Pharoh Cooper captured the opening touchdown for the Gamecocks when out of the wildcat he scored from 20 yards out. The touchdown run by Cooper capped off an eight-play, 70-yard drive that lasted 4:19 for the Gamecocks. The Tigers would match the Gamecocks shortly thereafter as a short Deshaun Watson pass was turned into a 53-yard touchdown pass to Artavis Scott. The touchdown tied the score at 7-all with 2:26 to play in the inaugural quarter. Clemson would take its first lead of the contest with 11:14 remaining in the first half when Wayne Gallman scored from five yards out to give the Tigers a 14-7 advantage after Lakip’s extra point. The Gallman touchdown was made possible after Dylan Thompson fumbled the football to give the Tigers opportune field position at the Gamecock 36-yard line. Clemson would need just three plays to score its first points in the rivalry off a turnover since the 2008 season. The Tigers would extend their lead to 14 points at 21-14 after a one-yard quarterback keeper by Watson with 4:55 left in the opening half. The Watson touchdown concluded a 10-play, 61-yard touchdown drive that lasted 4:59 for the Tigers. The Gamecocks would be able to get some more points before intermission after a Clem-
son miscue that saw backup quarterback Cole Stoudt intercepted by Skai Moore at the Tiger 37-yard line. The Gamecocks would run seven plays from there with Elliott Fry eventually connecting on a 47-yard field goal to set the score at 21-10 in favor of the Tigers at the halftime break. Clemson finished with 307 total yards of offense in the first half, while the Gamecocks managed 118 yards during the first half. The Gamecocks would stop the Tigers on their first two offensive possessions of the second half with Fry missing a field goal during the stretch. Clemson would tack on seven more points shortly after the Fry miss as Scott raced 70 yards off a Watson shovel pass to give the Tigers an 18-point advantage at 28-10 with 4:30 left in the third quarter. The Gamecocks would cut the Clemson lead to 28-17 with 7:49 remaining in the game when Thompson found Damiere Byrd in the endzone for an 12-yard touchdown. The touchdown concluded a seven-play, 88-yard drive for the Gamecocks that lasted 2:35. The Tigers would make it 35-17 on their next offensive possession with Watson scoring from one yard out on a keeper again. Clemson would finish the game with 491 yards of total offense on 61 plays. The Gamecock offense would conclude their efforts with 339 yards of offense on 74 plays. South Carolina
owned a 31:20-28:40 edge in time of possession. “Give the Clemson defensive guys credit,” Spurrier relayed in his postgame press conference. “They’re the best in the country. They played like the best.” Spurrier knows that Clemson’s prowess defensively had a lot to do with the outcome, but the Gamecocks could have executed and taking advantage of their situations better in the contest. “We had some chances here and there to really get into the game, especially if we would have got that touchdown on the two-yard line and that would have been a four or five point game and who knows might could’ve happen, but we did not capitalize on that one,” Spurrier said. In becoming South Carolina’s all-time leader in single-season passing yards, Thompson finished his afternoon 21-for-39 with 249 yards passing. He had one touchdown pass. Thompson finished the 2014 regular-season with 3,280 yards passing. His passing total for the regular-season surpassed Todd Ellis’ previous single-season record of 3,206 set in 1987. Running back David Williams was the leading receiver for the Gamecocks in the game with four catches for 70 yards. Mike Davis was the leading rusher for South Carolina with 39 yards on 12 carries. He also had four catches for 28 yards. Skai Moore was the leading tackler for the Gamecocks with 10 total tackles, which include four solo stops. Moore also had the interception.
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December 3, 2014
South Carolina-Clemson postgame notes/quotes South Carolina Athletics Media RElations
GENERAL NOTES • Captains for South Carolina for the game were: senior OG A.J. Cann, senior SPUR Sharrod Golightly, senior DT J.T. Surratt and senior QB Dylan Thompson • The Gamecocks have had six players start every game this season: senior OT Corey Robinson, senior OG A.J. Cann, junior OT Brandon Shell, senior QB Dylan Thompson, senior DT J.T. Surratt and senior DB Brison Williams • The loss snaps South Carolina’s five-game winning streak against Clemson. It also snaps a streak of 18 consecutive games with a win vs. a non-conference team. OFFENSIVE NOTES • Senior offensive guard A.J. Cann made his 50th career start. That is second highest in school history for the Gamecocks. • Sophomore Pharoh Cooper’s 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter marked his second touchdown run of the season. His previous touchdown run was vs. Tennessee, November 1, 2014. • Senior quarterback Dylan Thompson set a school-record for passing yards in a season. He has totaled 3,280 for the year and surpassed the previous record of 3,206 set by Todd Ellis in 1987. Thompson was 21-for-39 for 249 passing yards and a touchdown. • Junior tailback Mike Davis moved into ninth all-time in school history in rushing. Davis carried 12 times for 39 yards and now has 2,385 rushing yards for his career. • Freshman tailback David Williams caught a career-high 4 receptions for a career-high 70 yards. The three receptions for Williams moved his season total to seven for the year. • Senior wide receiver Damiere Byrd’s 12-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter was his third touchdown reception of the season. DEFENSIVE NOTES • Skai Moore tallied his third interception of the season with his second quarter pick. All three of his interceptions this year have come in the last two games. Moore’s career total now sits at seven. Moore also led the Gamecocks with 10 tackles. It marked his third game this season with doubledigit tackles as well. SPECIAL TEAM NOTES • Elliott Fry’s 47-yard field goal tied a career-high for longest field goal. Elliott Fry now has 99 points on the year, tying his mark from last year, which is 4th-highest in a single season in school history. He also moved into a tie for sixth all-time in school history with 198 career points. Team Totals SC FIRST DOWNS 18 Rushing 8 Passing 8 Penalty 2 NET YARDS RUSHING 63 Rushing Attempts 33 Average Per Rush 1.9 Rushing Touchdowns 1 Yards Gained Rushing 110 Yards Lost Rushing 47 NET YARDS PASSING 276 Completions-Attempts-Int 23-41-0
CU 20 10 9 1 225 40 5.6 3 231 6 266 15-21-1
Average Per Attempt 6.7 12.7 Average Per Completion 12.0 17.7 Passing Touchdowns 1 2 TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS 339 491 Total offense plays 74 61 Average Gain Per Play 4.6 8.0 Fumbles: Number-Lost 3-1 0-0 Penalties: Number-Yards 2-6 4-44 PUNTS-YARDS 5-195 5-202 Average Yards Per Punt 39.0 40.4 Net Yards Per Punt 39.2 37.6 Inside 20 3 1 50+ Yards 0 0 Touchbacks 0 0 Fair catch 1 2 KICKOFFS-YARDS 4-247 5-315 Average Yards Per Kickoff 61.8 63.0 Net Yards Per Kickoff 44.5 43.2 Touchbacks 2 2 Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD 2-14-0 1--1-0 Average Per Return 7.0 -1.0 Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD 2-49-0 1-19-0 Average Per Return 24.5 19.0 Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD 1-22-0 0-0-0 Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 0-0-0 Miscellaneous Yards 0 0 Possession Time 31:20 28:40 1st Quarter 9:27 5:33 2nd Quarter 4:33 10:27 3rd Quarter 10:37 4:23 4th Quarter 6:43 8:17 Third-Down Conversions 6 of 15 7 of 13 Fourth-Down Conversions 1 of 3 0 of 0 Red-Zone Scores-Chances 2-3 3-3 Touchdowns 2-3 3-3 Field goals 0-3 0-3 Sacks By: Number-Yards 0-0 4-24 PAT Kicks 2-2 5-5 Field Goals 1-2 0-1 Points off turnovers 6 14 PASSING LEADERS South Carolina COM ATT YDS TD INT Dylan Thompson 21 39 249 1 0 Pharoh Cooper 2 2 27 0 0 Clemson COM ATT YDS TD INT Deshaun Watson 14 19 269 2 0 Cole Stoudt 1 2 -3 0 1 RUSHING LEADERS South Carolina CAR YDS AVG TD LG Mike Davis 12 39 3.3 0 16 Pharoh Cooper 2 18 9.0 1 20 Clemson CAR YDS AVG TD LG Wayne Gallman 27 191 7.1 1 32 Deshaun Watson 5 13 2.6 2 9 RECEIVING LEADERS South Carolina REC YDS AVG TD LG David Williams 4 70 17.5 0 59 Mike Davis 4 28 7.0 0 17 Clemson REC YDS AVG TD LG Artavis Scott 7 185 26.4 2 70 Mike Williams 3 59 19.7 0 25
photo by allen sharpe
Head Coach Steve Spurrier Overall thoughts: “I told the guys, ‘6-6 might be what we are. We’re bowl eligible, we’re 6-6. Obviously we could have won some and we could have lost some we won, so maybe we say this is where we are and go try to win us a bowl game. Simple as that.” “Obviously, there are a lot of things we could have done differently on offense and defense. We gave up some big third down passes early in the game, but at times, we forced a bunch of punts. We gave up 35 points, but our defense really didn’t play all that poorly.”
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December 3, 2014
South Carolina Gamecocks
football Schedule 08/28/14 ..........vs. #21 Texas A&M # ........... Columbia, S.C. ..................... L, 52-28 09/06/14 ..........vs. East Carolina .................. Columbia, S.C. ....................W, 33-23 09/13/14 ..........vs. #6 Georgia # ................... Columbia, S.C. ....................W, 38-35 09/20/14 ..........at Vanderbilt # ...................... Nashville, Tenn. ..................W, 48-34 09/27/14 ..........vs. Missouri # ......................... Columbia, S.C. ..................... L, 21-20 10/04/14 ..........at Kentucky # ........................ Lexington, Ky. ...................... L, 45-38 10/18/14 ..........vs. Furman ............................. Columbia, S.C. ....................W, 41-10 10/25/14 ..........at #4 Auburn # ...................... Auburn, Ala. ......................... L, 42-35 11/01/14 ..........vs. Tennessee # ..................... Columbia, S.C. ............L, 45-42 (OT) 11/15/14 ..........at Florida # ............................. Gainesville, Fla. ........ W, 23-20 (OT) 11/22/14 ..........vs. South Alabama .............. Columbia, S.C. ....................W, 37-12 11/29/14 ..........at #21 Clemson .................... Clemson, S.C. ....................... L, 35-17
Standings SEC East
PA W-L PF PA
153 10-2 343 236 W6
6-2 310 195 9-3 500 255 L1
4-4 199 206 6-5 335 233 L1
3-5 272 294 6-6 400 374 L1
3-5 204 217 6-6 331 287 W1
2-6 183 300 5-7 350 375 L6
0-8 102 283 3-9 206 399 L3
PA W-L PF PA
154 11-1 440 203 W7
180 10-2 446 233 L1
5-3 202 135 9-3 365 166 W1
4-4 275 262 8-4 430 313 L1
4-4 153 166 8-4 331 197 W1
3-5 223 293 7-5 413 328 L2
2-6 165 177 6-6 384 243 L1
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No. 1: Gamecocks make history by reaching the top in the AP poll by collyn taylor Reporter The South Carolina women’s basketball team sits atop the AP as the number one team in the country for the first time in program history. The Associated Press’ Poll, who ranks the top-25 teams in the nation every week, ranks them as the top team. The Gamecocks have now passed former number one Connecticut after the Huskies lost to the Stanford Cardinal photo by allen sharpe earlier last week. Notre Dame is presently No. 2, while UConn slipped to third. Tennessee is 15.5 points per game last season and through fourth and Stanford rounds out the top-5. three games is already exceeding that. She is The number one ranking is something that averaging 17.7 points per game and has been a head coach Dawn Staley said really reflects the big driving force on the team’s road to the top lofty goals that her team has. Staley joins Bay- spot. lor’s Kim Mulkey as the only two people to She said that no matter what the number next ever play for and coach the nation’s top team. to the team says, she thinks that her team is the “I don’t think we work to be ranked number best team in the country. one in the country, but I do think that we work “I feel that way all the time,” Mitchell said. to be number one at the end of the year,” Stal- “Every time we’re on the court I feel like we’re ey said. “It helps build milestones. You can’t the best team out there. That’s the mindset we just become number one and not want to win need to have: we don’t take any prisoners.” a national championship. It’s something that After coming to South Carolina and going we’ll be proud of, but it’s not something that 10-18 in her first year, Staley has taken this we’ll hang our hats on. It’s part of our journey. program to new heights, bringing in top-level We’ll take it, but we’re not going to play to de- talent, winning conference titles and making fend number one. We’re playing for March and them a nationally recognized program. April. That’s all we’re really concerned about.” “We’re putting south Carolina on the map,” After facing questions about the top ranking Mitchell said. “If you’re not really in tune with since the Huskies fell in overtime on Nov. 17, women’s basketball, you wouldn’t put South Staley and the team have preached the process Carolina as a Final Four team so we’re just tryand not the number next to their name. They ing to open people’s eyes and show them that have said that it’s about playing the game and we are a national contender.” they’re going to focus on how they prepare for The team knows that the every team will be the game. gunning for them, especially now that their “It’s just a number at the end of the day,” ranked the best team in women’s basketball. junior guard Tiffany Mitchell said. “We still Staley has told the team to approach each have to go out and play the game. Just being game individually and take the upcoming road number one, we’re not too wrapped up in that.” trip as a business trip, bringing its first ever The talk of being the top-ranked team in the number one ranking along as carry on lugnation and the swirling talk of Final Fours and gage. national titles has been there “It’s a blessing to be in that since the team’s exit from the situation,” freshman forward tournament last year. After A’ja Wilson said. “If we were winning their first-ever SEC number one tomorrow. We’re regular-season title, they taking it one step at a time, advanced to their Sweet Sixone game at a time. Like coach teen for the third time in two said in the locker room, we years. have a business trip coming Mitchell was the anchorup. We just have to focus on All Gamecock basketball the two games we have in the ing force last year on the coverage sponsored by team’s run. The reigning SEC Bahamas. We’re taking it step Yesterdays Player of the Year averaged by step.”
December 3, 2014
December 3, 2014
Gamecocks get ‘back to doing things a little bit better’ in win over Asheville by brian hand Executive Editor
at 53-43. The Gamecock lead would be just seven with 8:58 to play, but a Henry jumper and a ChatkeviThe South Carolina men’s basketball team cius 3-pointer bumped South Carolina’s lead needed some confidence and they received just back up to double digits at 64-52 with 8:07 to that in an 89-75 victory over UNC Asheville at play in the contest. the Colonial Life Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 26. The Gamecocks would push their lead to 20 The Gamecocks (3-3) had closed out the Gilpoints at 72-52 with 5:58 remaining in the game. dan Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C. just a Thornwell procured the 20-point lead for South few days earlier with two straight losses and with Carolina with a steal and then a fast break dunk. a talented mid-major program in UNC Asheville South Carolina would control things down in town it was important for the Gamecocks to the stretch from there before emerging with the find a way to win the day before Thanksgiving. 14-point win. “Winning makes you feel better about things Chatkevicius had a stellar night in the win and we got back to doing things a little bit betover the Bulldogs with his first career doubleter,” Martin said after the Gamecock win over double with 17 points and 13 rebounds. He also UNC Asheville. “I thought our minds got back had three blocks and three assists in the game. to the right place. Coming off those losses (in the Chatkevicius came into the game with just three Charleston Classic), seeing guys the way they career made 3-pointers. He knocked two in the react to a difficult moment and get challenged win over the Bulldogs. internally it was good to see them come out as In total, five Gamecocks ended their efforts in positive as we did the last couple days and obvi- double figures with Henry (15), Johnson (12), ously go out and play pretty well and win.” Thornwell (12) and Duane Notice (12) also finUNC Asheville (2-3) over the course of the first ishing the evening with double-digit point totals. just over five minutes of the game and behind The 15 points were a career-best for Henry. eight early points from Andrew Rowsey owned The Gamecocks had tremendous ball movea 12-6 lead with 14:54 to play in the opening ment and distribution throughout the game with stanza. South Carolina picking up an assist on 21 of its The six-point lead would not last long for the 31 made field goals. Bulldogs with the Gamecocks going on a 7-1 run Rowsey finished his efforts in the loss to the that was punctuated by a Justin McKie 3-pointer Gamecocks with 30 points. He had six 3-pointto tie it up at 13-all with 13:57 remaining in the ers. first half. South Carolina as a team shot 51.7 percent (31Just a little while later after a Sindarius Thorn- for-60) in the game. The Gamecocks made 47.1 well layup the Gamecocks owned their first lead percent (8-of-17) of their 3-pointers and hit 73.1 of the game at 15-14. Shortly thereafter after a percent (19-of-26) of their attempts at the charity Laimonas Chatkevicius 3-pointer and a Demestripe. trius Henry dunk the South Carolina lead was UNC Asheville shot 51.7 percent (15-for-29) 20-14 with 10:02 left in the first half. from beyond the arc as a team in the game, but The Gamecocks would eventually extend their they hit just 36.5 percent (23-for-63) of their field run to 20-2 with South Carolina owning a 26-14 goal attempts in total. UNC Asheville connected advantage with 8:24 to go in the inaugural half on 70 percent (14-of-20) of its free throw atof action. tempts as a team. Martin said that there wasn’t anything out of South Carolina next hits the road for a tough the ordinary during the run for the Gamecocks road game against Marshall in Huntington, W. other than that they “just made some shots.” Va. on Monday, Dec. 1. South Carolina from there would enter interHenry knows just how big the victory over mission with a 37-29 lead. UNC Asheville was heading As a team, South Carolina into the road contest at Marshall. shot 48.4 percent (15-of-31) in “It was big, especially with the the first stanza. UNC Asheville fans coming out tonight … we shot 28.6 percent (10-for-35). had a pretty good crowd and it The second half commenced kind of motivated us a little bit with the two teams playing coming off two losses, so we back and forth for the opening needed that confidence to go nine minutes of the half with on the road and try to get a road All Gamecock basketball win,” Henry noted. “This was the Gamecocks outscoring coverage sponsored by UNC Asheville, 16-14, over the big for us. We’ve just got to conYesterdays stretch to own a 10-point lead tinue to build.”
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December 3, 2014
The view from the Clemson locker room
by kyle heck Reporter
It has been a long time since Clemson has been able to get by South Carolina and Tigers coach Dabo Swinney knew it. So after Clemson was able to snap its fivegame losing streak to the Gamecocks with a 35-17 victory, Swinney said he and his team were going to enjoy the win. “First of all, South Carolina, give them credit,” Swinney said. “They’re a good team (and) they’ve had a heck of a run against us. Today was just our day. I’m proud of our team, I’m proud of our staff and our fans.” Swinney said that the Gamecocks had been a balanced offense in every game this season so the gameplan coming in was to focus on stopping the run and turning South Carolina into a one-dimensional offense. The Tigers accomplished that and limited the Gamecocks to 63 yards on the ground. “That was the critical factor for us,” Swinney said. “They’ve been at their best when they’ve been able to run the football and have some balance.” Unlike the last five years, Clemson was able to limit its turnovers against the Gamecocks. After having a combined 15
in the five-game losing streak, the Tigers committed just one turnover in the win on Saturday. Swinney said it was important that his team not focus on all of the mistakes that the Tigers have made against the Gamecocks over the past few years. “For the team, it’s got to be about these four quarters,” Swinney said. “If you go into a game and all you’re thinking about is what has happened in the past, you’re probably going to repeat the past.” Swinney revealed after the game that quarterback Deshaun Watson played against South Carolina with a torn ACL. The freshman tore the ligament in the Thursday practice before the Georgia State game. Swinney said the doctors did a good job of bracing the knee and made sure that there wasn’t a chance that Watson could injure the knee even more before he put him in the game. Despite defeating Ohio State, LSU and Auburn, among others, over the past few years, Swinney said there is something special about defeating South Carolina. “Certainly, this one kind of stands alone for sure,” Swinney said. Swinney said that this year was the first
photo by allen sharpe
year since the losing streak started that his team played well enough to have a chance against the Gamecocks. “I give a lot of credit to South Carolina,” Swinney said again. “They didn’t have a
great year this year, but they’ve been a heck of a team. Coach Spurrier has done an unbelievable job and they’ve been the better team (in past meetings), but today we were the better team.”
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December 3, 2014
photo by juan blas
Gamecock equestrian closes fall strongly by kyle heck Reporter
wishes her team had more home meets, the experience on the road will help the Gamecocks It’s safe to say that the South Carolina eques- in the SEC championship and national champitrian team feels better about their performance onships come late spring. at the end of the fall season than they did when “The biggest thing that I’ve said over and over it started. After dropping the first two meets of again is it is extremely good preparation for the the season, the Gamecocks flipped the switch SEC championship and for going to our nationand won the last four meets of the season, three al championships,” Major said. “So as much as in convincing fashion. I don’t like the fact that we have so many away Third-ranked South Carolina (4-2, 2-1 SEC) meets I’m thrilled that we have three road wins wrapped up the fall season with its first ever already. I think that speaks a lot for this team.” win at Oklahoma State. The 12-8 victory was Major said she is proud of the way that her impressive not only because of the margin, but freshmen have performed this season. The upbecause of the difficult week that the team had perclassmen have also continued to set good prior to the meet. examples. Samantha Kraus put in a lot of good USC sports psychologist Kendra Cusaac work in the offseason and it has paid off for her died five days before the Oklahoma State meet. this season so far. Cusaac was an integral part of the equestrian Senior equitation on the flat rider Adele Norteam and her death was tough to deal with. Be- ton has also come a long way since she arrived cause of that distraction, head coach Boo Major on campus as a freshman. was unsure of how her girls would respond. “Certainly Adele Norton is someone to on the However, the team united and put together its hunt seat side who has just been a thrill to work best performance of the season. with over the last four years,” Major said. “She “I won’t say we blew them out, but I think we has really developed and has turned into one of had a very decisive win,” Major said. “As far as our top flat riders. I’m really happy for her befeeling like the one competition where everycause she’s really developed a lot of confidence thing came together and we all felt like we all and has become a real leader on this team as far were on the same page was (Oklahoma State).” as our flat team is concerned.” With that win, the next two months will go a On the western side, Major praised the consislot smoother for the Gamecocks. tency of senior Sam Chiodo and also said that “It’s nice to go into the spring with that win Kelsey Urban has “come into her own” during just because now we’re sitting on a very nice her junior year. win over a two month period before we comMajor and her coaching staff won’t have a lot pete again,” Major said. “So it’s good to have a of contact with the team over the break, so it is good taste in your mouth rather than a bad taste up to the riders to stay in shape and continue over these next two months.” to ride. South Carolina enters the break with three “Some will and some won’t,” Major said. road wins already and has had to play four of “We really don’t have any control over whether six meets this fall on the road. Major said that’s they are riding or not but it becomes real evithe way it works sometimes and while she dent when they come back.”
12 • Spurs & Feathers
December 3, 2014
Tigerburn kicked off rivalry week by kyle heck Reporter As “Sandstorm” blared over the loudspeakers on Monday, Nov. 24 hundreds of fans eagerly waited for the moment when the nearly 30-foot tall tiger would burst into flames. When the flames started to consume the wooden structure those in attendance screamed and yelled and a “U-SC” chant broke out. It was just another edition of “Tigerburn,” a tradition that has been around since 1902 and is the unofficial start to the ClemsonSouth Carolina rivalry week. The 30-foot-long and 25-foot-tall tiger was built by South Carolina undergraduate students in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. According to mechanical engineering student Andrew Mohs, who led the design team, the tiger took two weeks to build. The team usually has more time to design it, but they ran into supply problems that cut into their preparation time. The finished product went up Monday and a few hours later to the delight of Gamecock fans everywhere it was reduced to a smoldering ruin. “Clemson can’t really talk much; they just have a little funeral,” Mohs said. “We actually burn a 30-foot tiger. I’m kind of a pyro (maniac) at heart, so it’s awesome and exhilarating.” The design team built the tiger about as big as they could get it, as they aren’t allowed to make it higher than 30 feet. However, there was a never-before-seen edition this year. Mohs and his peers included Howard’s Rock, the famous icon at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium. “It’s awesome that we’re getting more complicated and building that rivalry even more,” Mohs said. There was an hour long celebration leading up to the tiger being burned that included free food and giveaways, live music and dancing, trivia and Cocky and the USC cheerleaders pumping the crowd up. Tigerburn was something that has been in the works since August and it was nice to see it all come together and have the rain hold off long enough to not be a factor. “This is just another one of those traditions that have been around for a long time,” said Allison Toney, a leadership coach in the USC Leadership and Service Center who was in charge of putting Tigerburn together. “So it’s nice to be able to do something every year that celebrates the tradition and gets everyone excited.”
Photos by Allen Sharpe
Spurs & Feathers • 13
December 3, 2014
Gamecock football recognized for academic achievement south carolina athletics media relations
Sixty-one other institutions will be recognized for graduating 75 percent or more of their football student-athletes. Thirteen of Duke University, Northwestern Univerthose institutions -- Air Force, Arizona State, sity, University of Notre Dame and Stanford Army, Ball State, Central Florida, Miami University will share the American Foot(Fla.), Middle Tennessee State, Minnesota, ball Coaches Association’s 2014 Academic Northern Illinois, Rice, South Carolina, Achievement Award, which is presented by UCLA and Wake Forest -- achieved a rate of the Touchdown Club of Memphis. Duke, 90 percent or better. The remaining 48 instiNorthwestern, Notre Dame and Stanford tutions are: Alabama, Arkansas, Boise State, recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for Boston College, Central Michigan, Cincinmembers of its freshman football student-ath- nati, Colorado State, Connecticut, Florida, lete class of 2007. This is the 13th time Duke Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Hawaii, Ilhas won the award, which leads all schools. linois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, The Blue Devils are followed by Notre Dame Kent State, Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette, with its ninth award, Northwestern with its Memphis, Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Missiseighth and Stanford with its third honor. The sippi State, Navy, Nebraska, Nevada, North award will be presented at the President’s Texas, Oregon State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Kickoff Luncheon on Monday, January 12 at Purdue, Rutgers, San Diego State, San Jose the 2015 AFCA Convention in Louisville. State, Syracuse, TCU, Temple, Toledo, Troy, This year’s award marks the seventh USC, Utah State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, time the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate Washington, Washington State, Western (GSR) formula has been used to select the Kentucky and Wyoming. winner. From 1981 to 2007, the award was The Academic Achievement Award was presented based on a formula used by the established by the College Football AssociaCollege Football Association and AFCA. tion in 1981. The award recognized the CFASince 2008, the criteria for the AFCA’s Aca- member Football Bowl Subdivision institudemic Achievement Award is based on the tion with the highest graduation rate among highest NCAA GSR, at least 15 students in members of its football team. the GSR Cohort, and a Federal Graduation When the CFA disbanded in 1997, the Rate of 75 percent or better. AFCA stepped in to present the award and
conduct a graduation rate survey that encompassed all members of the FBS. The GSR is based on a six-year graduation window for student-athletes which is a change from the five-year window used by the CFA and AFCA. The GSR was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the
photo by allen sharpe
federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees. Under GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. These outgoing transfers are passed to the receiving institution’s GSR cohort. By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 percent.
14 • Spurs & Feathers
December 3, 2014
South Carolina Gamecocks
Recruiting Round-up By Phil Kornblut
LB Daniel Fennell of Loganville, GA made an unofficial visit to USC for the South Alabama game and will return January 23rd for an official visit. Fennell will also take official visits to Michigan State, Missouri, Duke and Georgia Tech. USC and Tech are the only schools he’s visited this season. “It was a real good visit,” Fennell said of his Saturday trip to Columbia. “I talked to a whole Phil Kornblut bunch of coaches. Contributing The facilities were Writer real nice. I talked to coach Spurrier, coach Ward, coach Botkin and coach Mangus. They said they really wanted me and wanted to get me back for an official.” Fennell focused, of course, on the Gamecocks’ linebacker play which has stepped up in recent weeks. “I thought I would fit in real good,” he said. “They said I would start out at Will (linebacker) and eventually become a Mike.” Fennell said he will take all of his official visits before making his decision and there isn’t a favorite at this point. “I haven’t been to enough places,” Fennell said. WR Darius Slayton of Norcross, GA wrapped up his official visits over the weekend with a stop at USC. He had earlier visited Georgia and Tennessee. He plans to choose one of those three SEC East programs but has no defined timetable. “I had a great time up there,” Slayton said of his stay in Columbia. “It’s a great school and I had fun hanging with the players and meeting them. Everybody was very hospitable, so it was a great time. I liked it a lot.” Slayton checked out the Gamecock offense closely. It was his second game of the season at USC so he had another chance to envision how he might fit in. ‘‘They like to throw the ball around a lot which is good for any receiver because obviously you want to be somewhere where you’ll get the ball,” Slayton said. “And they definitely do a great job getting in the hands of their playmakers.” Before departing, Slayton had a chance to talk with Steve Spurrier to get his take on how he views the future of the Gamecock program. “He’s a cool guy and knows what he’s talking about,” he said. “He’s very confident in the future of the football program.”‘ Slayton also plays cornerback but USC is recruiting him
strictly at receiver. Last season he had 33 catches for 940 yards and 8 touchdowns. RB Johnny Frasier had planned an official visit to USC over the South Alabama weekend but didn’t make it in. His coach said he will reschedule. Frasier, who is regarded as the top running back prospect in North Carolina and one of the best in the country, is committed to Florida State. He’s taken an official visit to Tennessee. USC commitment DE Marquavious Lewis of Hutchinson JC, KS made an official visit to Auburn last week. He does remain committed to USC at this point. DL DJ Jones of Wren and East Mississippi JC spent Saturday in the rain at Florida State. And loved it. Jones is a Seminole commitment and he made another trip to Tallahassee to soak in the atmosphere and talk more with Jimbo Fisher and the defensive coaches. “Finally got to see a game, so that’s a plus,” Jones said. “I talked to coach Fisher, my main recruiter Jay Graham, D-line coach Odell Haggins, talked to them a pretty good bit. Coach Fisher was telling before the game how bad he needed me, and after game he was telling me how bad he needed me.” Despite his long standing commitment to the Seminoles, Jones is still looking around with USC, Ole Miss, Auburn and Alabama remaining on his list as well. “I’ll probably let people know how I feel after this (official) visit to Ole Miss (this weekend),” Jones said. “As of right now it’s still the same.” He has also taken an official visit to USC and one to Auburn. Jones is on track to graduate in December and will sign during the mid-year signing period which begins December 17th and runs thru January 15th. This season Jones has 28 tackles with 4 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. His team will play for the junior college national championship on December 6th. All signs look positive for DL Dexter Wideman of Saluda and Camden Military to be eligible to enroll at USC in January his high school coach said Wednesday. Wideman signed with USC in 2014 but did not fully qualify. He enrolled at Camden Military to improve his overall grades and appears to have done just that with just a few weeks left in the semester. Saluda coach Stewart Young has been in touch with USC, and word back to him is positive. “Everybody is good to go,” he said. “Dexter is excited. Everybody is talking about how much he has improved. That’s the word I’m getting. He should be able to
enroll in January. He’s made the grades so far.” Young said Wideman suffered a dislocated elbow and missed the last half of the season.
lot.” McIlwain said it’s possible he could make another trip to USC but nothing is definite on that. He does not think he will be able to visit Duke or Virginia Tech before he makes his decision. He does not yet Juniors: have any favorites from his final six. McDL Nyles Pinckney of Whale Branch Ilwain finished his junior season with over plans to visit Clemson this weekend. Pinck- 2,100 yards passing and 1,100 rushing. He ney talked with USC recruiters Everette threw for 18 scores and added 20 more on Sands and Deke Adams recently. “They the ground. just told me how much they really liked me USC recruiter GA Mangus recently and how much they want me to go there, checked in on junior OL Terrance Davis and how much of a great opportunity it is of Hyattsville, MD. The Gamecocks have for me,” Pinckney said. Pinckney said he offered Davis who is interested but has not doesn’t have a lean between the Gameyet narrowed his list. Davis’ high school cocks and Tigers at this point. “I just like team plays its games on Saturdays so he’s to see the competitive nature of the players been unable to take many visits this season. and coaches and the atmosphere,” he said. He has been to Maryland and Penn State. He’s been to each three times over the Davis said he would like to attend a game years. Pinckney, who is considering gradu- in Columbia next year. Davis plans to narating early, said he’s hearing the most from row his list early in the summer and could USC, Clemson, Florida State and North commit prior to his senior season. He has Carolina. offers from USC, Maryland, Penn State, DL Rashan Gary (6-5 290) of Paramus, Michigan, Alabama, Florida State, GeorNJ is a national recruit with over 40 ofgia, Kentucky and Ole Miss among others. fers to date. Those offers include USC, He does not have any favorites. Clemson, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Basketball News: Penn State and Virginia Tech. He will trim USC women’s coach Dawn Staley signed his list some after his season and right now guard Shay Colley (5-8) of Brampton, none really stand out. “I’ll take some visits ONT last week. She played with the Canaand then identify some schools,” Gary said. dian National team last summer and Staley He’s never been to Clemson or USC but saw her when here USA team played the wants to visit both. He also wants to see Canadians. other schools in the SEC area. He has been to Maryland and Penn State. Gary has Baseball News: some family in South Carolina and has inJunior RHP Colby Lee of Latta committerest in the Gamecocks. “South Carolina, ted to USC last week. I like what they do with their defensive linemen and how they make them better.” He likes the idea of playing the ACC, SEC or Big 10. USC could find out as early as January or February whether junior QB Brandon McIlwain of Newtown, PA will be its quarterback for the 2016 class. McIlwain is planning to announce his decision this winter with the first two months of the new year the target period. McIlwain has been working with a final six of USC, Auburn, Florida, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Duke. He visited USC for the Georgia game and was at Auburn for the LSU game. He has also visited Penn State. And he was at Florida Saturday. USC recruiter GA Mangus visited McIlwain recently and the two remain in touch. “He was at my last playoff game,” he said. “I talk to him pretty often and I like South Carolina a
December 3, 2014
Spurs & Feathers â€˘ 15
18 • Spurs & Feathers
December 3, 2014
Union County Gamecock Club holds its annual Tigerburn by kyle heck Reporter
Shugart said it was special to have three people that are so connected with the University and the rivalry game. Columbia wasn’t the only place where South “Andy is great,” Shugart said. “He’s always Carolina fans could come together and witgreat, we love having him. Langston, he’s a ness the over century long part of the rivalry, played in tradition of Tigerburn. The the game. It’s always good to Union County Gamecock have that perspective and of Club continued its yearly course, Steve Taneyhill, that tradition of burning an arname just speaks for itself. tificial tiger on the Monday He is one of the big names in prior to the Palmetto Bowl. this rivalry. I mean it’s (been) The fans who attended the 20 years since he played in event got the chance to hear it and he still gets the calls from a few recognizable every year at this time to be faces within South Carolina on all these radio shows. He athletics. Former Gameis the epitome of what this cocks Langston Moore and rivalry is.” Steve Taneyhill spoke along Around 275 people showed with the Voice of the Gameup for the Union County Ticocks, Andy Demetra. gerburn. Gamecock Club Executive As the tiger, made by one Director Patrick McFarland of the Union County board was also in attendance. members, was engulfed in Those four pumped up the flames, fireworks went off in fans in attendance and got them ready for the the sky overhead. photos by cameron coone rivalry game while sharing their own experiYou can learn more about the chapter by Above: Patrick McFarland speaking with (left-to-right) Cocky, Shugart, Demetra, ences in the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry. liking them on Facebook at Union County Moore and Taneyhill behind him. Left: Cocky helps with the annual Union Tigerburn. Union County Gamecock Club president Tyler Gamecock Club.
December 3, 2014
Spurs & Feathers • 19
Moody believes his group ‘has developed really quickly’ by collyn taylor Reporter
ally impressed with his leadership skills so far. “Alex Vance is doing an outstanding job of making sure our guys understand what we’re After seeing school records shattered and a trying to accomplish,” Moody said. “He’s good top-three finish at the Virginia Tech Invitaat helping them understand that we can be tional, the Gamecock swimming and diving better than we think we can. We set our goals team is heading into their month-long break on for the team and he’s helping them get to that a high note. point.” The Gamecocks finished third in the inviIt’s the same on the women’s side, where they tational against seven other schools. This was are led by another senior, Victoria Mitchell. their last meet of the year before they resume “She’s one of those lead-by-example kind meets in January and it has left head coach types,” Moody said. “There’s not a day where McGee Moody in high spirits heading into the she hits the water that she doesn’t work as hard break. as she can possibly work. She’s one of the hard“We’re in a pretty good position,” Moody est working athletes I’ve seen in my life and it’s said. “Our freshmen have really have grown in fun for a coach.” the first 12 weeks in the season. That’s usually Moody said that those veteran leaders are gosomething that’s pretty unpredictable. When ing to be big during those workouts. Workouts every class comes in you don’t know how start two days after Christmas and will conthey’re going to adapt, you don’t know if they’re tinue until the Gamecocks restart action Jan. 3 going to adapt to college life well and you don’t against Georgia. know if they’re going to handle the workload Moody also said that the leadership dynamic well. This group has and we’ve developed really around the team and the coaching staff has quickly.” produced a good culture and good environment At the Invitational, the Gamecocks saw fresh- that can really foster success. man Nils Wich-Glasen break a school record “They’ll be days where freshmen will have for the 200-meter breaststroke, swimming that tears and they don’t want to be doing the things distance in 1:55.98 seconds. He has already that we’re doing and they just want to relax,” he become a stalwart on the team, racing in every said. “You have to rely on your seniors to get meet this year. them through that part of it. When your team“He’s maybe one of the most talented athletes mate tells you to step up and lock it in and get to come through here in the past 20 years,” back to work it means a little bit more. You have Moody said. “Halfway through his freshman to have seniors that are vocal; you have to have season he’s broken the school record in the 200 seniors that are not afraid to put themselves out [meter] breaststroke by a significant amount. He there. If you have that, it makes it easier.” will break it again multiple times between now This has been a successful season so far for and February. He’s just starting to figure out the team and Moody is excited to see what is in how good he can be. He’s an Olympic-caliber store in the later half of competition. The South athlete and it’s our job as coaches to develop Carolina men’s swimming and diving team is that.” currently ranked No. 18 in the country by the The team made changes in the coaching staff College Swimming Coaches Association of at the beginning of the season and it’s paying America. dividends now. They brought in Mark BerMoody cited the last day of the Virginia Tech nardino in as the Associate Head Coach and Invitational as a pivotal moment of the season. Moody said that the swimmers are buying into After a long weekend of racing at the Virginia his system and responding well to it. Tech Invitational he said that he gave a fiery They’re going to need that going into the speech, preaching the importance of togethermonth-long break where they will do nothing ness and camaraderie. After that, he said the but train for January, a time that Moody called a team raced the best they had raced that weekserious grind. end. “The challenge for us is not the physical size He said that gives him hope leading into their — we can beat them up pretty good — but it’s workouts. the mental side of things: keeping them en“Just seeing what this group is capable of; gaged and keeping them locked on is difficult they’re already at places where we didn’t think this year,” Moody said. “You they’d be,” Moody said. “Just have to keep them locked on seeing them continue to not while they’re here and that’s a only get better and stronger hard thing.” physically, but to see them But, he said that he is relygrow in the mental aspects ing on senior and veteran and to see them grown as All Gamecock leadership to do that. On the men and women is cool too. swimming & diving men’s side, senior Alex Vance To see what they’re capable coverage sponsored by is one of the captains and of over the next few months Moody said that he’s been re- Aquarian pools of Columbia is going to be a lot of fun.”
Photo by allen sharpe
20 • Spurs & Feathers
December 3, 2014
We just need to keep the faith
photo by jenny dilworth
This disappointing season of South Carolina stood up and said “follow me.” I do not fault football ended as it began - with an unexpected the attitude or effort of the players, but there loss. A year that held so much promise quickly just wasn’t that two or three players who returned into a struggle to just break even. fused to let this team lose. There are a lot of reasons or excuses to exI do not think this is the beginning of the end plain why Carolina didn’t live up to expectaof Coach Steve Spurrier’s program, but a bump tions. You can blame coaching or unlucky in the road that is a part of every college footbounces of the ball, but in the end, it was about ball program at some point. You can cite many players. The talent to replace what was lost last teams around the country that were expected season simply wasn’t on this year’s roster. to have outstanding seasons, but for various For that you can blame poor recruiting or reasons didn’t. the evaluation of the players What is important now is for signed, but all of them were the Gamecocks to use the prachighly recruited by other top tices for a bowl game to work on programs, so that’s not the getting better and begin preparanswer. ing for next season. There are There are a lot of things that a lot of teams that would have go into a successful season and loved to have won six games, so maybe the most important is it is by no means a “lost” season, leadership, and in my humble and that’s something we have to opinion, that’s what the 2014 hang our hats on as fans. Glenn Snyder lacked the most. There was no Let’s face it, we are all spoiled Inside one on either side of the ball, by the success of the previous Look offensively or defensively, who four years. Our expectations
reached a level we had never experienced before, but as I’ve said before, football is like life, filled with ups and downs. I have complete faith that the HBC will take whatever steps he needs to get his program back on track. I would not dare to suggest what those steps might be, but he has been in the game long enough to know what needs to be done. I have already heard some fans say they are going to express their disappointment by not attending the bowl game. Let me implore you not to do that. Carolina fans have earned the reputation of being among the best, most supportive in the country, and we shouldn’t do anything to hurt that image. Let’s swallow our disappointment, put on our Garnet and Black, and demonstrate there is no fan base that can match the Gamecock Nation. This the last printed edition of Spurs & Feathers of the year, and I want to thank the staff for inviting me to return and write this column, and for all of you who welcomed me back. I am absolutely confident that the good
times for Gamecock football are ahead, we just need to keep the faith. It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!
December 3, 2014
Spurs & Feathers â€˘ 21
Make sure to visit the all-new http://thegamecockclub.com/. Make sure to also visit www.SpursandFeathers.com and www.GamecocksOnline.com daily for all your Gamecock information.
22 • Spurs & Feathers
December 3, 2014
Men’s Tennis helps change the face of men’s health with ‘Movember’
by brad muller South Carolina Director of Content
member showed up for a holiday dinner sporting a “massive handlebar mustache,” which quickly became a conversation piece. Movember traces The South Carolina men’s tennis team is doing its origins back to 2003 in Australia and has its part to change the face of men’s health. The since become a global movement where individGamecocks, led by Head Coach Josh Goffi, are uals grow mustaches throughout the month to taking part in the national campaign known as attract attention to themselves as a conversation “Movember” held throughout the month of No- starter about these issues. Goffi had no problem vember to raise awareness and funds for men’s in convincing the Gamecock student-athletes to health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular participate. cancer, and mental health issues. “The older guys aren’t as self-conscious be“There is kind of a stigma with guys about cause they’re seniors,” Goffi said. “They were getting checked,” Goffi said. “I grew up in a saying things like `that sounds awesome, let’s household where my dad is Brazilian/Latin and do it.’ The other guys were wondering what a rough and tough guy, and that’s how I was. We they got themselves into. We do have some baby all believe we can’t get sick. There’s no time to faces. Some of our freshmen and sophomores get sick when you’re the man of the family. The can’t really grow facial hair, so they’ve got some problem with that mentality is you don’t go to peach fuzz on their upper lips and that’s about the doctor, and that’s the worst thing we can do. it.” Cancer is becoming more and more of an epiBecause the Gamecocks are quite visible on demic, but a lot of times it can be stopped. We campus with a few out-going personalities, it have to start taking time to go to the doctor.” didn’t take long after the razors were put away Goffi came up with idea after a visiting family for the initiative to gain some momentum.
“By the second week, the guys were getting comments like `you look like Borat’ and `you look like Luigi’ and things like that,” Goffi said. “It was great for them to be able to make fun of themselves a little bit, which is important for tennis players anyway to try to relax them, but they started striking up conversations and people are making donations.” The team set a goal of raising $1,000, but the greater importance was to get more people talking about the issue. “We’ve had parents and friends and then friends of friends contribute,” Goffi said. “In the years to come, we hope this will catch on so we can increase that goal.” Earlier this month, University of Tennessee sophomore tennis player Sean Karl died after battling Ewing’s Sarcoma. While that is a rare type of tissue and bone cancer, the message still hits home for Goffi and the Gamecocks that cancer can affect anybody, even young and seemingly strong athletes, so it’s worth it to get yourself checked regularly by a doctor.
In addition to growing facial hair, fake mustaches are worn by women and children at times or even “photoshopped” onto existing photos to spark a conversation. When it comes down to it, Movember has become a fun way to bring attention to a serious issue. “Obviously it can do some team-building,” Goffi said. “But our team is really into community service, and they want to be a force within in the community so this plays into that.” To make a donation through the South Carolina men’s tennis Movember website, visit moteam.co/gamecock-men-s-tennis.
Spurs & Feathers • 23
December 3, 2014
Former Carolina Band director passes away STAFF REPORTS
simply as the Carolina Band, continued to grow and develop into one of the premier colJames “Jim” Kelly Copenhaver, 71, of Colege marching bands in the country. lumbia, SC, laid down his baton for the final Excelling not only in marching, but in musitime on Wednesday, November 26, 2014. cal performances as well, the band became Emeritus Director of Bands, Mr. Copenassociated with its signature introduction, haver assumed the position of director of “Now we present the Musical Magic of the bands at the University of South Carolina in Carolina Band.” When the university joined 1976 and was a Professor of Music on the USC the Southeastern Conference, the Carolina School of Music faculty. Mr. Copenhaver Band became known as the “Mighty Sound of earned BA and MMEd degrees at Morehead the Southeast,” continuing to entertain crowds State University and completed two additional at halftime and support Gamecock Football years of graduate study at Florida State Uniat home and away. The Carolina Band is also versity. Prior to his appointment at USC, he a training ground for future music educators. taught at Holmes High School in Covington, Scores of young musicians and educators have KY, Morehead State University, and Clemson benefited from the experience and training University. provided under Mr. Copenhaver’s tutelage; At USC, Mr. Copenhaver was responsible and so through them his legacy has passed for administering the total band program. He down to many young students in high schools conducted the University Wind Ensemble and colleges across the country. Mr. Copenand Symphonic Band and taught undergradu- haver was highly active as a band clinician ate and graduate courses in wind instrument having served as a guest conductor, lecturer, techniques. Under his guidance, the USC band and adjudicator throughout the United States. program established a national reputation for Leading educational institutions have recexcellence. The Symphonic Band performed ognized him for his accomplishments in the at conferences for the South Carolina Music areas of instrumental performance and music Educators Association, Music Educators Naeducation. In recognition for his talents and tional Conference, College Band Directors service, he received the Citation of ExcelNational Association, and American Bandlence from the National Band Association, masters Association. Under Mr. Copenhaver’s the Distinguished Service to Music Medal for leadership the USC Marching Band known Instrumental Music Education from Kappa
Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, and both the Outstanding Bandmaster Award and Outstanding Contributor to Bands Award from the South Carolina Chapter of Phi Beta Mu National Bandmaster Fraternity. In 2003, Mr. Copenhaver was inducted into the South Carolina Band Director’s “Hall of Fame” and in March 2008 into the Theta Chapter Hall of Fame of Phi Meta Mu. Mr. Copenhaver was an active member in several professional organizations within the band field, including the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. He was a PastPresident of both the National Band Association and the Southern Division of the College Band Director National Association. Mr. Copenhaver was the founder and co-conductor of the Palmetto Concert Band, an adult semiprofessional concert band that presented the Grand Finale Concert at the 1999 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic. Mr. Copenhaver retired in the summer of 2010 and continued to be a presence at the university until his passing, where he had an office in the new “Copenhaver Band Hall. A Memorial Service to celebrate Mr. Copenhaver’s life will be held Sunday, December 7, 2014 at the Copenhaver Band Hall on the campus of the University of South Carolina. The service will commence at 2 p.m. After the service the family will receive friends.
Elmwood Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Columbia is assisting the family with arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the “James K. Copenhaver Alumni Band Scholarship Fund,” Gift Processing, 1027 Barnwell Street Columbia SC 29208 or to the “Palmetto Concert Band,” USC School of Music, 813 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC 29208. Visit “James K. Copenhaver - A Celebration of Life” on Facebook where students, alumni, colleagues and friends can share their favorite “Cope stories.”
24 • Spurs & Feathers
December 3, 2014
Gamecocks pick up Lucaya Division championship at Junkanoo Jam South Carolina athletics media relations
a tough shot at the halftime buzzer to take a 35-31 lead into the break. Khadijah Sessions hit a 3 out of the break FREEPORT, BAHAMAS - No. 1/2 South to bring the Gamecocks within one, which Carolina twice fought back from double-digit they did twice in the opening minutes of the deficits to top No. 22/22 Syracuse 67-63 in half, but Syracuse had the answer each time. the championship game of the Lucaya DiviA pair of 3s stretched the lead out to 43-36, sion of the Junkanoo Jam Friday, Nov. 28. but Roy answered with one of her own. Offense was flowing easily for both teams Mitchell picked up a steal and hit a layup on early for a 12-10 Gamecock lead at the first the other end to make it a one-possession media timeout. Out of the break, South Caro- game yet again. Another 3-pointer put the lina’s shooting cooled considerably, though, Gamecocks back on their heels, but Wilson hitting just 1-of-13 over the next seven minkept things within reach. The freshman hit utes to fall behind 27-15 with 7:37 to play in a jumper from the right elbow, and two posthe first half. The Orange were forcing the sessions later snatched a defensive board and Gamecocks into outside shots and controlconverted a traditional three-point play on ling the defensive boards to keep South Caro- the other end to tie the game at 46-46 with lina off balance. 11:08 to play. Tina Roy entered the game and quickly hit The Orange surged ahead again with a 13-3 a 3 from the right wing to end the 6:23 scor- run that saw cold Gamecock shooting deliver ing drought. The Gamecocks a 59-49 Syracuse lead with went to an aggressive zone 6:43 to play. Again, it was on the defensive end and Roy who shot the Gamecocks forced consecutive turnovers, out of their slump, hitting a but could not convert on the 3 from the left wing to end a other end. Tiffany Mitchell scoring drought of over two hit a pair of free throws after minutes. The defense forced being fouled on an offena turnover on the other end, sive rebound, and the move and Mitchell hit both ends All Gamecock basketball of a one-and-one opportuseemed to get the Gamecoverage sponsored by cocks back on track. nity. The Gamecock defense Yesterdays Syracuse would go on to hit stepped up again to force a
tough 3-point attempt from Henderson, but a missed defensive rebound gave the Orange another shot. Another missed shot, sent South Carolina back on offense. Mitchell found Roy on the left wing again, and the redshirt junior drained her fourth 3 of the game to bring the Gamecocks within a bucket with 5:05 on the clock. The defense was fully energized at that point, forcing the Orange to call a timeout. The break did not slow South Carolina, which locked in to force a shot-clock violation. On the other end, Wilson drew a foul and hit one of two free throws to narrow the deficit to one with 4:10 to play. She atoned for missing the chance to tie the game by leaping through the crowd to reel in a defensive rebound and finding Sessions, who drove all the way to the basket in transition to put the Gamecocks up 60-59 at the 3:35 mark - their first lead of the second half. Both teams came up empty on their next possessions until Briana Day hit two free throws to put Syracuse back up 61-60 with 2:06 remaining. The Orange continued to pack it in on defense, challenging a Gamecock other than Mitchell or Roy to hit from outside. Junior Asia Dozier stepped in to bury a clutch 3 from the top of the arc for a 63-61 lead with 1:51 to play. Day put up another shot inside, but Wilson swatted it away. Day snared the loose ball, but the Game-
cocks again forced a shot-clock violation to get the ball back with 75 seconds to go. Wilson continued to impose her will on the game, pulling in Mitchell’s missed jumper and going right back up with it for a 65-61 Gamecock lead with 51 seconds to go. Back on defense, the freshman read an entry pass from Alexis Peterson perfectly and stepped in for the steal, racing up the court before holding the ball to let the clock run down. The Orange were forced to foul town the stretch, and Mitchell hit enough to seal the victory. Mitchell led all scorers with 21 points, while Wilson finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, of which 11 points and six boards came in the second half. Roy finished with 12 points, all on 3s, and Welch added 11 points. “Our kids were really resilient,” South Carolina head women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley said after the win over Syracuse. “We didn’t hang our heads when we got down. We kept defending and trying to shoot them out of the zone. We got some key buckets and some key stops and that’s what it’s all about. I just thought we came up with big play after big play. A’ja Wilson got an offensive rebound and a putback. She got a nice steal at the end of the game and you need players like that to make big players. I’m happy that the players on our team made the big plays when we needed them.”
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December 3, 2014
Fairfield County Gamecock Club is a ‘hard-working county Gamecock Club’ by kyle heck Reporter
The Fairfield County Gamecock Club may be small, but that doesn’t mean their impact on Gamecock athletics is small. The sponsor of the South Carolina track and field team, the Fairfield Gamecock club has done its fair share to help fund the athletic program, including help fund the new signage that has gone onto Williams-Brice Stadium this year. That continued on Tuesday, November 18, when the club hosted an event at Fairfield Cove restaurant in Winnsboro, S.C. where the winner of a limited edition Capital One Bowl Steve Spurrier autographed football was announced. Gene Schofield, who is president of the Fairfield County Gamecock Club, and his wife, Jan, organized a raffle where people could buy tickets to be placed in a drawing to win prizes, including the Spurrier signed football. All of the prizes were awarded during the event and while the cold weather on the day
kept some people home the event was still a success. Gene Schofield said the club sold around 175 raffle tickets and handed out 20 prizes. The Schofield’s said they received a lot of donations from local businesses to help them with the prizes. Some of those included the Jewelry Warehouse, Shannon Hair Design, Texas Roadhouse and several other restaurants.
Events like these are very important for the Fairfield County Gamecock Club because they are the only source of fundraising. That’s why it was so important to have several sponsors donate prizes to be handed out. “The number of door prizes helped increase our ticket sales this time,” Jan Schofield said. Along with the prizes, the event consisted of a dinner and an open discussion about Gamecock athletics.
The Schofield’s are hoping to have another event around the bowl game. That will be another opportunity for the club to raise money and to continue making a significant impact despite being a small group. “Really, we’re just a small, hard-working county Gamecock Club,” Jan Schofield said. To learn more about the chapter you can like them on Facebook at Fairfield County Gamecock Club.
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December 3, 2014
Tremendous turnout for annual Colleton County Gamecocks pep rally by brian hand Executive Editor
The Colleton County Gamecock Club held their annual pep rally for the Clemson game on Monday, Nov. 25 at the Walterboro Elks Lodge in Walterboro, S.C. This year’s event featured an appearance from Cocky. Assistant Gamecock Club Director Jay Brown was also in attendance and he took the time while he was there to speak about the Gamecock Club and South Carolina athletics in general. There was a tremendous turnout with approximately 125 people coming out for the yearly event. According to Colleton County
Gamecock Club chapter president Lori Bell Beard the pep rally also included a DJ with the children in attendance having a blast as they had the opportunity to dance with Cocky. Chicken perlo was the entrée for the evening. The event was completely free, as those in attendance even had the chance to win a Gamecock Yeti cooler as part of a raffle. The Colleton County Gamecock Club even received special donations over the course of the evening in a Gamecock wreath and four tickets to the South Carolina-Clemson game. To learn more about the Colleton County Gamecock Club you can like them on Facebook at Colleton County Gamecocks.
December 3, 2014
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Roberts: ‘It’s great to be a Gamecock’ by kyle heck Reporter
going to the games and enjoying the games and fellowship,” Roberts said. One of Robert’s favorite memories in his For more than 60 years, Emerson Roberts nearly seven decades as a Gamecock is the has been a loyal member of the Gamecock recent unprecedented stretch of success over Club. Remarkably, he has attended every rival Clemson. However, there are many football home game since 1946, a span that things that stand out to Roberts, including stretches nearly 70 years. Roberts has a sim- defeating No. 1 Alabama at Williams-Brice ple reason as to why he’s dedicated his life to stadium in 2010. South Carolina athletics. Before Roberts became a part of the Game“It’s great to be a Gamecock,” Roberts said. cock Club he helped protect our nation durRoberts was honored at the South Alabama ing World War II. game as the Legendary Fan of the Game, an Roberts served during the war as a memaward given to loyal Gamecock Club member of the Army Air Corps Mighty 8th Air bers. Roberts received a game plaque and a Force. He was the radio operator of a bombblazer to commemorate the occasion. ing crew aboard a B-17 in Europe. His plane Roberts said the event was special and was shot down by enemy fire and he was he was glad that he got to talk to Athletics captured by German troops. He then spent Director Ray Tanner and Gamecock Club more than a year as a prisoner of war until Executive Director Patrick McFarland. the war ended. Roberts, along with many other Gamecock The experience in the Army Air Corps fans, has immensely enjoyed the recent suc- helped prepare Roberts for the rest of his life. cess that the football program has enjoyed, “You go through things that you’ll never go including three-straight 11-win seasons. He through again in your whole life,” Roberts credits Steve Spurrier for taking South Caro- said. “So I guess it does prepare for the hardlina to heights it’s never been before. ships of life as you go along. I believe it did “It’s been good just being a Gamecock and for me.”
photo by allen sharpe
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December 3, 2014
We must trust this is another step in the process As the afternoon sun set on Memorial Stadium in Clemson last Saturday the end of a glorious five-year wining streak over our instate rival came to a close. To get to this point over our much disliked adversary we had to follow a plan that was constructed years ago on how to win football games. This scroll simply Langston Moore entitled “The Contributing Plan” has been Writer passed down from coaches to coaches over the years dating back to Methuselah (not that far back, but you get it). Lou Holtz pounded this in to our subconscious when I was in the program and I’m sure the same happened to many other players/coaches on how to win a game. It reads as a simple no brainer to even the most football boneheaded coaches (Dabo included) as a blueprint to beat any quality opponent. On Saturday the “purple Pickens” crew followed this like a child following a “just add water” recipe to halt our streak at five games. Below is a recap of how the Tigers beat us. Toughness: Speaks for itself. Football is a game of not only physical toughness, but mental toughness. The Gamecocks wavered at times not with the physical part, but the mental part. For a Clemson team that looked to be lacking in this department, especially in this rivalry, they displayed great mental fortitude by keeping their gameplan simple, having the discipline to stick with it and allowed the strength of their team (number one ranked defense in the country) to win the game in a fashion we’ve been accustomed to in this series. Fundamentals: Something I and the rest of Gamecock Nation have been harping on all season long, especially on the defensive side of the football. On Saturday Clemson’s defensive line led by former SEC coach Dan Brooks (Tennessee DL coach for 20-plus years under Phillip Fullmer) executed textbook defensive play and pass rushing ability. Taking advantage of our offensive line with simple fundamental moves helping to negate our high powered offense and in turn keeping us from our sixth straight victory. The Clemson OL has been compared to orange traffic cones for there lack of impact on previous games. They showed marginal improvement, but enough improvement to control the running game and line of scrimmage. Seven deadly areas:
tinely scored when we get close to the red zone we couldn’t manufacture points against that stingy D especially in the second half. 7. Kicking game- this facet of the game was in the Gamecocks’ favor with field position in the first quarter, but the inability to take advantage of it on offense and failure to keep an okay Clempson offense from driving the length of the field to score was nullified. Togetherness: With all of the outside noise of the offense carrying the defense this year, the 2014 squad did an okay job of not pointing fingers for the most part, but when you are on the road and trying to beat a team at their place for six straight you have to rely on the togetherness more than anything to continue the winning streak. Don’t flinch: We did at times, looking despondent and down even early on in the game. At times the feeling on our sideline felt like we were on the opposite side of this five-game winning streak. We didn’t use this mental edge to empower our confidence. “The Plan” is infallible when followed, but in the heat of the battle we forget sometimes the best thing to do is to keep it simple. The other side did and we didn’t last Saturday. Looking back at this season we again can’t allow these teachable moments to pass by. We can’t suffer the losses from this season and not extract the nuggets of wisdom to help this young team in the future. With their own trio of freshman performing well, Clemson will try use this to begin a new streak of their own in this rivalry for the next few years. Just as the plan states we must not “flinch” and trust that this is another step in the process to a championship. Follow Langston Moore on Twitter at: @reMovetheChains #justachicken #eat2win #yoby
Above is a copy of the “The Plan” out of Langston Moore’s old South Carolina playbook. 1. Turnovers- we’ve won the TO battle for the past five years, but with that we’ve scored at will once we got takeaways. We won that battle and could’ve had more takeaways Saturday, but did nothing with them once we did. 2. Big plays- the Carolina offense had its share of big plays all year, but we weren’t able to stretch the field and make any of that happen to energize our squad. On defense just like previous games (regardless of opponent) failed to limit big runs especially the speed sweep that Auburn and other teams employed on us. 3. Missed assignments- Offensively the Gamecocks mental errors were few, but a Clemson defense that played faster and had little miscues made our few errors count in the form of lost yardage plays and sacks. Defensively this goes back to point #2 in the seven deadly areas.
Our inability to correct these miscues resulted in big plays being executed against our defense in this game and throughout the year. 4. 3rd down/loss yardge plays- this was one of if not the biggest reasons for our loss Saturday. Clemson’s defense did a good job of keeping the high powered Gamecock offense off balance on first and second down. Defensively we did little besides getting a few turnovers to surpass what the other sides defense did. 5. Foolish penalties- Gamecocks did well in this area, one of the bright spots on the day that we didn’t let penalties kill us. Clemson made a few personal foul penalties to keep drives alive, but we ultimately didn’t put points on the board to make them pay. 6. Goaline- not really an issue, more so red zone was the issue. In a season were we’ve rou-
December 3, 2014
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No. 2 Florida State ends No. 18 South Carolina’s magical run
South Carolina athletics media relations
the box with the serve, but the header went wide of the target. Florida State doubled its lead with just over two TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In the program’s first minutes remaining in the half. Isabella Schmid NCAA quarterfinal, No. 18 South Carolina (14and Hahn set up Jamia Fields who was loose on 6-5) saw its NCAA Tournament run come to an the right side. Fields sent a long blast across the end with a 5-0 loss to No. 2 Florida State (22-1-1) goal and inside the left post to give the Seminoles on Friday, Nov. 28 at the Seminole Soccer Com- a 2-0 lead at the half. plex In a span of seven minutes, the Seminoles put From the opening kick, the Seminoles applied the match out of reach. Fields added her second pressure and allowed the Gamecocks very little goal of the day in the 55th minute from 25-yards possession past midfield. After 15 minutes of out to make the score 3-0. Then, within 93 secplay, the Seminoles recorded the first shot of onds, Cheyna Williams scored twice. The first the afternoon off the foot of Michaela Hahn. A came on a point-blank look in front of the goal Gamecock defender was in position to block the thanks to a cross from Brynjarsdottir. The second shot though. was a close-range header set up by BrynjarsdotTwelve minutes later, Dagny Brynjarsdottir put tir and Carson Pickett on a free kick to push the a header on frame after receiving a ball from Me- score to 5-0 with under 30 minutes to play. gan Campbell. With the shot on target to sneak The loss to the Seminoles came after a magical under the crossbar, freshman Abbey Crider skied run to the Elite Eight by the Gamecocks. and tipped the chance over to stave off another To have the chance to play in the NCAA quargood Seminole opportunity. terfinals the Gamecocks had to first work their In the 32nd minute, the Florida State pressure fi- way through three tournament games. nally yielded a goal. After a pair of blocked shots After 110 minutes of scoreless play, South inside the penalty area from Brynjarsdottir and Carolina commenced the NCAA Tournament Kristin Grubka, Berglind Thorvaldsdottir oneby advancing via a 4-3 shootout win over rival timed a rebound of Grubka’s shot inside the right Clemson in the first round at Stone Stadium in post for a 1-0 lead. Columbia, S.C. on Friday, Nov. 14. Gamecock Looking to equalize, the Gamecocks moved the senior goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo was the star ball into their attacking third and were awarded in the penalty kick shootout victory, saving two a free kick after a Seminoles foul. Senior Andie Clemson attempts. Romness hit freshman Savannah McCaskill in An All-American on the field and academically,
Shelley Smith was obviously not happy with the way the year ended for the Gamecocks against Florida State, but she was proud of her team for making their first-ever appearance in the Elite Eight. “It was a very impressive performance by Florida State,” Smith said. “Congratulations to them photo by allen sharpe for moving on and deservedly so, moving into D’Angelo would injure her wrist in the week the Final Four. They showed how strong they are leading up to South Carolina’s second round today. There were times where we struggled to showdown with Seattle in Chapel Hill, N.C. The contain their attack. We didn’t play our best game setback would not faze the Gamecocks as Crider for sure and they punished us for some mistakes we made. But a big credit to Florida State, they filled in admirably between the pipes as the were ready to play and finished the chances that Gamecocks once again moved on after another scoreless 110 minutes of action that led to another we gave them. They are going to be a tough team shootout victory. The Gamecocks won, 2-1, over to beat in the College Cup. “I am proud of our team and obviously thrilled Seattle on Friday, Nov. 21 in the penalty kick to be in the Elite Eight. I would have loved to shootout with Crider making two huge saves in move on, but we have to play better on the day. It penalty kicks for the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks had another huge blow during didn’t happen, but we learned a lot from this situthe Seattle game with senior Taylor Leach being ation for our program. I’m extremely proud of the sent off the field right before the end of regulation work rate of our team, even though things didn’t go off that well today for us. They never gave up. in the 90th-minute. Leach’s double yellow cards They showed the heart they have as a group and in the game meant she would have to sit out the played for each other. They are a tremendous Sweet Sixteen matchup against national power group of people. I’m very proud of our team. North Carolina on their home field. Unfortunately, it had to come to an end, but I’m Once again, the Gamecocks would not be very thankful for all they’ve done this year. The deterred with South Carolina knocking off the 21-time national champion Tar Heels, 1-0, in Cha- four seniors who are finishing their careers are special people and we’ll truly miss them,” Smith pel Hill on Sunday, Nov. 23 to move on to their concluded. first Elite Eight. (Brian Hand contributed to this report) South Carolina head women’s soccer coach
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December 3, 2014
Unique views sponsored by Unique Expressions
It is hard to believe that the 2014 regularseason is now in the books. In some ways it just flies by. This season, in some aspects, it has dragged. On a day like today, the opener with Texas A&M seems like a long time ago. That was a long day, thus, it may be appropriate that it ended on a long day. It was a very disappointing day. Ed Girardeau That certainly apContributing plies to the season Editor as a whole. Coming into the year with high expectations a loss and a 6-6 record is certainly not what was expected. Losing the Clemson game itself was not totally unexpected, but the way it went down is what gives many of us heartburn. The defense, though not nearly as bad as it was in the opener, was so inconsistent, particularly the right side. Time and again, Clemson ran to their left (the jet sweep/pass stands out) and nobody would be there. It brought back memories of the Kentucky game. The offense proved to be able to move the ball, but just could not come up with clutch plays time and again. They were playing a good defense, but at times we stopped ourselves. This will be the story of this season; so close, but yet so far. We lost a few we should have won. We won a few that we should not have won, so as Coach Spurrier pointed out we are probably where we should be. There will be plenty to work on. Fortunately, there will be a bowl game, which will allow for practice time particularly for the younger players. The defense obviously needs work. The first thing, at least in my opinion, is we have to find a pass rush. The defensive line never could find a way to put pressure on the quarterback as the season progressed and that was painfully obvious against Clemson. We are not without good players. Skai Moore will enter next season on most All-SEC preseason lists and is a good player to build around. There is a lot of youth that will return particularly at linebacker and defensive back that have shown promise and the offseason will give them time to improve. The question that I am asked the most is will there be a change with the defensive coaches? I have no idea, but I certainly trust that the HBC will do what’s necessary to get the defense where it needs to be. If that’s a change, so be it. Ultimately, the coaches are responsible for the performance or lack there of and I know that nobody is more disappointed than they are. I’m sure that steps will be taken to get better.
photo by allen sharpe
Ed Girardeau on the Shaq Roland question: “I watched Shaq in high school and we have seen flashes in his college career. There is no limit to how good he could be. I think it’s a matter of Shaq deciding he wants to be great. If he does the work he will be.” On offense there is a lot to build around. Obviously Pharoh Cooper is as good as it gets. Is he the guy to be the new quarterback? I’m not sure if that’s the best place to put him, however, we have to find ways to get the ball in his hands. He is a playmaker and he did not touch the ball enough against Clemson. Brandon Wilds and David Williams are good running backs. Wilds does seem to be injury prone, but if he can stay healthy and does not leave for the NFL there is no telling how good he could be. Williams, in my opinion, is a star waiting to happen. I look forward to him getting more touches. Jerell Adams has all-star written all over him and look for him to have a great senior season. Here’s a million-dollar question: Shaq Roland? I watched Shaq in high school and we have seen
flashes in his college career. There is no limit to how good he could be. I think it’s a matter of Shaq deciding he wants to be great. If he does the work he will be. There will be holes to fill on the line but that’s pretty much standard from season to season. A little work in the weight room and it will be interesting to see who develops into the starters for next year. Hopefully we will get a glimpse of some of these players in the bowl game. It will be a chance to say goodbye to some great ones and get ready for the future. This season did not turn out as we hoped, but there are a lot of good players coming back and there’s no reason not to hope for the best. In the meantime, it’s basketball season. Not lost in the excitement of football is the fact that
the South Carolina women reached No. 1 in the country and passed a huge test by coming from behind to beat No. 22 Syracuse in the Bahamas. There will be plenty of excitement in the days to come and I look forward to the first sell-out in the history of women’s basketball at the CLA this season. Frank Martin’s team lost three tough ones by a total of 11 points here in the early going. They will continue to improve and will be competitive in the SEC this year. The team has some good basketball players and will be fun to come out and watch as well. This will be our last issue before the holidays and bowl game. I hope everyone has a tremendous holiday season and I look forward to seeing everybody at the bowl game and the CLA in the days ahead. Better days are dead ahead!
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32 â€˘ Spurs & Feathers
December 3, 2014