|No. 24 S. Carolina looks for revenge against Vandy|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 03 September 2008 13:11|
The Gamecocks were ranked No. 6 at the time and the Commodores hadn't beaten a team ranked so highly in more than 70 years. Plus, Vandy ended a 14-game losing streak against coach Steve Spurrier's teams.
The Commodores go for two in a row against the ol' ball coach Thursday night.
Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson, who worked concessions at South Carolina games growing up in Columbia, downplayed any pressure on his Commodores (1-0) in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
``It's the second game. That's the way we're treating it, playing South Carolina, a quality opponent. I've said it probably 1,000 times there's no hump. We won't get over the hump if we beat South Carolina. We're going to have to play good the next week to win. I don't care who it is, we have to play well,'' he said.
``It'd be a nice win, a real nice win. I don't think it's going to put us on any extra special place where everybody says Vanderbilt has arrived.''
The loss to Vanderbilt was the first of five straight losses to end the season for the Gamecocks (1-0).
``I had friends calling me from back home, `Hey man, what happened to y'all? Y'all was No. 6, y'all would've probably moved up,''' South Carolina cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. ``At the time I was like, I really don't know what happened. We just lost to Vanderbilt.
``Not to say they were just a bad team. I think we just came out thinking, `We're No. 6 in the nation, they're going to lay down for us.' But it wasn't like that.''
Spurrier had never lost to Vanderbilt before while coaching Duke, Florida or South Carolina. When he accepted the Washington Redskins coaching job in 2002, he even quipped that ``there are no Vanderbilts in the NFL.''
But under Johnson, the team now mired in a 25-year streak of losing seasons has improved. Even Spurrier had to tip his visor to the Commodores last season after they tied a school record with seven sacks and held his offense to a pair of field goals.
``Give Vandy credit,'' Spurrier said. ``They played outstanding defense, which they can do. They thoroughly beat us.''
The Commodores are coming off a 34-13 win at Miami of Ohio.
``We go into every game expecting to win,'' Vanderbilt safety Ryan Hamilton said. ``We weren't surprised last year.''
Vanderbilt quarterback Chris Nickson rushed 20 times for a career-high 166 yards last week, and Johnson has no plans to ease Nickson's workload even against an SEC opponent.
Spurrier has other plans.
``We'll try to make him a thrower and not let him run around too much,'' Spurrier said. ``They only attempted 16 throws the other night, so they did most of their damage running the ball.''
Chris Smelley will start for South Carolina after replacing Tommy Beecher in the Gamecocks' 34-0 win over North Carolina State last week. He guided the Gamecocks to touchdowns on all three of their fourth-quarter possessions and was 5-of-5 for 92 yards and two scores.
Johnson said it doesn't matter who starts for the Gamecocks at quarterback.
``Against Coach Spurrier, you're playing against his offense, not necessarily the quarterback,'' he said.