South Carolina has a limping quarterback, an FCS opponent up next and an emotional rivalry game in two weeks against the Clemson Tigers.
In some situations, that math might add up to a week off for quarterback Connor Shaw, who aggravated a foot injury in Saturday’s 38-20 win over Arkansas and is in a walking boot for the second straight week. But Steve Spurrier was shocked to hear that theory floated Sunday.
“If he’s ready, we’ll play him, definitely,” Spurrier said. “If he’s injured, that’d be the only reason (he wouldn’t play). There wouldn’t be any hold out. This is a huge game for us. This is a chance to win seven home games, and we know it’s not going to be easy. It never has been easy to beat Wofford. I don’t know why we’d think it’d be easy to beat Wofford and hold some guys out. We’re not holding anybody out this week.”
Shaw is expected to be ready to lead the No. 12 Gamecocks (8-2) against the Terriers in Williams-Brice Stadium this week, and Spurrier is right that he may be needed at full strength. Wofford hasn’t beaten South Carolina since 1917 but came within 10 points in 2008 and seven points in 2006.
“They are a very good team, and we have to play well if we’re going to have a chance to beat these guys,” Spurrier said. “They can run the ball extremely well, play tough defense. That’s why they are their conference champs.”
Games against FCS opponents traditionally have been the staple of September, a way to get an SEC team tuned up for conference play, but the games recently are working their way deeper into the season. Seven SEC teams are playing FCS schools this week, many, like the Gamecocks, the week before a rivalry game.
“Whenever we can schedule them up is what we usually do,” Spurrier said. “It doesn’t matter to me, early or late, you have to play them some time. This is as good as anytime.”
It does matter to South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, who must prepare for the Terriers’ triple option attack in between games against pass-happy Arkansas and Clemson. Wofford is second in the Southern Conference in rushing (357.1 ypg.) and scoring (33.8 ppg.).
“You have to play what is on the schedule,” defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said. “It is totally different. We will probably see three or four passes at the most (in the game), and we have to stop the run. We have to tackle in the perimeter well. Wofford is very capable of scoring on any team they are playing.”
Sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was more succinct.
“I hate it because all they do is come off the ball and cut (block), but we have to be ready to stop the run,” Clowney said.
Spurrier is undefeated against teams outside of the six BCS football conferences.
“I read that every time we play a school that is not a BCS school, we win, so we’ll try to keep that streak going,” Spurrier said, “but Wofford is a formidable opponent, they really are.”