|Sixth-ranked Gamecocks to defend Spurrier's perfect mark against Vanderbilt this week|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 17 October 2007 23:48|
Steve Spurrier extended his perfect record over Kentucky to 15-0 with a win over the then-eighth ranked Wildcats on Oct. 4. Now, the South Carolina coach looks to keep a similar streak going when the sixth-ranked Gamecocks (6-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) go up against another team he has never lost to, Vanderbilt (3-3, 1-3).
Spurrier has won all 14 games he has coached against the Commodores. But, much like Kentucky, Spurrier expects a stout Vanderbilt club eager to finally end a run that began in 1987 with Duke's 35-31 victory. He went 2-0 against Vanderbilt while with the Blue Devils, 10-0 during his 12-year run at Florida and won both meetings since joining South Carolina before the 2005 season.
The only other SEC team winless against Spurrier is Ole Miss at 0-2. The Gamecocks don't play the Rebels this season.
Spurrier doesn't put much stock into such streaks, and doesn't event talk about it. The only thing that matters, he says, is winning the next one, no matter what his success rate over Vanderbilt may be.
``I've always believed that last year's game or 10 years ago's game has got nothing to do with this one,'' Spurrier said Wednesday.
A lot was made of Spurrier's unblemished record against Kentucky earlier this month with several Wildcats hopeful that their top-10 club was capable of ending that streak. Kentucky receiver Keenan Burton said then the players thought they'd have a chance ``to say Spurrier 14, Kentucky 1.''
Instead, the Wildcats, who had been undefeated, fell apart at Williams-Brice Stadium, and South Carolina used several Kentucky mistakes to roll to a 38-23 victory.
Gamecocks defensive lineman Eric Norwood returned two fumbles for touchdowns and South Carolina rattled Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson into making mistakes.
Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson doesn't expect Spurrier's lopsided record over his team to factor into this week's matchup. He won't mention it and doesn't think his players' care that much.
``None of them were around for the first 10 of them or 13 of them or whatever it is,'' Johnson said. ``We got much more things to worry about than that.''
Like trying to find a way to win close games. The Commodores had a chance to upset Georgia for the second year in a row last Saturday. However, a lost fumble by Vanderbilt deep in Georgia territory and a subsequent long drive by the Bulldogs led to Brandon Coutu's 37-yard game-winning field goal in the 20-17 victory.
Beating Spurrier would be sweet. Nicer still, Commodores safety Reshard Langford says, is closing out the tight ones so they go in Vanderbilt's favor.
They had a chance at Williams-Brice two seasons ago when now NFL passer Jay Cutler and then-freshman Earl Bennett nearly brought Vandy back from a two-touchdown deficit before losing No. 13 to Spurrier, 35-28.
Bennett had 16 catches for 204 yards in that one. A similar game this week would make the junior the SEC's career leader in catches. He stands at 205, three behind the league mark held by Kentucky's Craig Yeast.
Spurrier was impressed by Vanderbilt's defense, which stands third overall in the SEC.
``Vandy's capable. They've just lost some close ones,'' he said.
Spurrier heard a lot about his undefeated record against Kentucky, but he hasn't gotten the same questions regarding his Vanderbilt streak.
``So it's no big deal to either team, I hope,'' Spurrier said.
Langford said he and his teammates aren't worried about facing college football's ``Evil Genius,'' who hopes to continue his latest reconstruction project.
``They're going to line up and there's going to be 11 players on the other side of the ball. They're either going to run the ball or pass the ball, one way or another. It's not going to be too bad,'' Langford said.