Notebook: 300-game milestone surprises Spurrier

dcloninger@thestate.com / nwhite@thestate.comJanuary 2, 2014 

— Steve Spurrier often loses track of records he sets at South Carolina. There are so many that it’s easy to understand why.

Wednesday’s Capital One Bowl was also a milestone, another that he professed not to know about.

“They told me that right before the game,” Spurrier said after being asked what it felt like to win his 300th game as a collegiate coach. “I hadn’t thought about it until right before the game. These guys make plays to win games. It’s been amazing. It’s been a wonderful time for all of us.”

Spurrier has won 219 of his 300 games, and 77 at USC. The win also made his bowl record 4-4 with the Gamecocks, and 10-10 overall. The Gamecocks’ four bowl wins under Spurrier are one more than the total they had before he arrived.

Holding on

Connor Shaw’s only mistake on Wednesday was when he fumbled after a run during the third quarter. Yet, it brought to mind how good the Gamecocks have been with the stat lately.

The drop was the first turnover USC has had since the Missouri game. The Gamecocks had one turnover in their final five games, all wins.

The limit

Freshman linebacker Skai Moore played in all 13 games and recorded a team-high 56 tackles, including five on Wednesday. Moore also intercepted four passes , had half a sack and recovered a fumble.

Durability

Six Gamecocks started all 13 games this season. Linemen Corey Robinson, A.J. Cann and Brandon Shell did so on offense, while cornerback Jimmy Legree joined defensive line mates J.T. Surratt and Chaz Sutton.

Dog Show

Wisconsin’s kicker was named Jack Russell. The Badgers also had a linebacker named Vince Biegel (pronounced “beagle”).

Reflections

Spurrier looked back over the past three seasons and one number especially stood out to him: 18.

That’s the number of consecutive victories at Williams-Brice Stadium, which stands as the nation’s longest home winning streak.

“That’s something that is amazing to me, too,” Spurrier said. “And they have not been blowouts.”

Always coaching

Knowing that he was going to get a Gatorade bath after a win, Spurrier coached his players up on that aspect. He wanted them to keep the cold liquid off his face and hair. He also made sure that he was wearing a jacket.

“I said now, ‘Please, just try to hit me in the shoulders,’ ” he said. “Almost hit me in the hips. So there was no pain. Maybe that’s the way they ought to orchestrate the Gatorade or ice water-dumping. Sometimes you have to tell these guys what to do, you know.”

Grounded

Wisconsin out-rushed South Carolina by a wide margin — 293 yards to 117 — but the Badgers were not able to control the game, especially in the second half. Spurrier was thankful that his team was able to find ways to win in spite of that disparity.

“I’m glad the team that rushed the most yards didn’t win,” he said. “I didn’t realize they had quite that many, but I knew they had a lot of big runs.”

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