South Carolina Stuns Ole Miss in 16-10 Upset

Fourth-ranked Ole Miss came into tonight's game against South Carolina riding a wave of lofty expectations. Too lofty it seems as the Rebels (2-1) lost to the Gamecocks (3-1) 16-10 thanks to SC's stingy defense.

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Is the History of South Carolina's Season Already Being Rewritten?

The Gamecocks registered a huge win for their program on Thursday night, which has some folks questioning how South Carolina could have lost to Georgia. Dawg Sports nips this emerging meme in the bud.

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Does That Count as a Signature Win? South Carolina 16, Ole Miss 10

Team Speed Kills also has a superb review of the game, with particular attention paid to how Stephen Garcia, harried all night by an excellent Ole Miss pass rush, played the way Jevan Snead could not when the game was on the line: effectively, efficiently, and intelligently. Yes, those words associated with that Stephen Garcia. It's like he's growing up..right...in...front of your...eyes (/holds back tears)


SBN Ole Miss blog Red Cup Rebellion, however, has little but scorn for the offense and worse for Arkansas fans wanting to crow about their former coach's most high-profile failure at his new gig. Do you like profanity, kids? Oh, there's some over there if you really must have it.

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Ole Miss, Victim of Irrational Exuberance

Brian Grummell of Fanhouse notes that if you were disappointed in Ole Miss’ performance tonight, you may blame false expectations and misreads of what they were as much as any shortcomings of the team itself:

How one should interpret Ole Miss after this depends on how one interpreted them before the season. The more skeptical among us received some confirmation, while those grooming Colonel Rebs’ spectacular moustache must be confused. The reality is they weren’t what popular perception said they were.

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Take Your Hats Off And Tip Them In The Direction of South Carolina's Defense

Credit the South Carolina fans for getting ahead of the curve and do so boldly: they were chanting “o-ver-ra-ted” not at the end of the game. No, Gamecock fans, sitting on a mountainous 6-3 lead, went ahead and busted out a lusty chant of the four-beat classic as Ole Miss walked off the field at halftime.

It is both an indication of how awful Ole Miss looked on offense and how vicious the Gamecock defense was in reducing Jevan Snead’s Heisman launch party to a pile of smoking rubble. 9/21, 107 yards passing, one TD, and a rolling shambles of an o-line withering beneath the pressure of South Carolina DE Eric Norwood trashing blocking schemes singlehandedly.

Norwood’s insane effort and Gamecock defensive end Ellis Johnson’s suffocating game plan deserve credit, but they had a cast of accomplices on the opposite sideline in the Ole Miss coaching staff. Ole Miss left Dexter McCluster, the only offensive threat throughout the second half, on the sidelines for a crucial late 3rd and 12 after having McCluster take the ball and throw on a trick play the previous play. The next play topped the ineptitude of the previous one: Ole Miss was flagged for having 12 men on the field, and then fizzled out on a prayer of a pass to end the game.

Aside from that last series—which was inept and unpredictable—the rest was inept and predictable, with South Carolina defenders in position wherever Ole Miss put the ball. Add in a competent but unspectacular performance by Stephen Garcia and the Gamecock offense, and 16-10 played out like a big sloppy equation it takes you three and a half hours to unravel.

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Carolina D Finally Yields, Ole Miss Brings Score to 16-10

After a night of near-perfect defensive anticipation, a quick collision in the defensive backfield gave Ole Miss their first offensive touchdown of the night — and, when you think about it, their first impressive pass play of the evening. About time.

Jevan Snead found Rebels wideout Markieth Summers wide open behind the Gamecock defense after safety Zo Winfield got tangled up with teammate Chris Culliver. Summers waltzed into the end zone for an easy score. The challenge now: Escaping Columbia alive, and with that No. 4 ranking intact.

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There It Is: South Carolina Scores Game's First Touchdown, Takes 16-3 Lead

Hey, a touchdown! After Jevan Snead’s disastrous fumble, South Carolina has put its 10th point on the scoreboard in the past three minutes. The Garcia pass to tight end Derek DiMarco gives the Gamecocks a 16-3 lead, and Ole Miss is official in trouble in Columbia.

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Bad to Worse: Snead Fumbles, SC Recovers

What was that I was just saying about Ole Miss looking horrible? Let’s double down: Jevan Snead fumbled (confirmed via booth review) and South Carolina recovered on the Ole Miss 25. Let’s see if Carolina can actually get the ball across the goal line here.

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9-3, SC: Huge Pass Play Gets Carolina Close, Only to Settle For Another Field Goal

Stephen Garcia completed a 69-yard pass to Gamecocks’ wide receiver Moe Brown, and all appeared peachy in the land of the Cocks. Alas, this game is still touchdown-less: South Carolina went three-and-out and settled for another field goal, making it 9-3. As Chris Fowler just said, despite a huge discrepancy in total yards (Carolina has 246 to Ole Miss’ 90) just can’t seem to pull away.

In the meantime, Ole Miss looks nothing like the No. 4 team in the country. This is just … ugh.

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USC Ends Half With Field Goal, Tops Ole Miss 6-3 at Halftime

I know defensive battles can be just as complex as offensive shootouts, but the score makes this one pretty self-evident, right? Neither team is having an easy time moving the ball, for varying reasons: Ole Miss is killing itself with pass interference penalties, but it’s been solid otherwise; while the Ole Miss offense has failed to do anything creative or non-obvious with any of its chances. And so we have a 6-3 game. Pretty straightforward, right?

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Bad Idea Blue Jeans: Ole Miss Fakes Field Goal, Comes Up Empty

After a long punt return and a short drive, the Rebels missed on third down and settled for yet another field goal. Given that this game is tied at 3-3 with just five or so minutes left in the first half, that made sense. And then Houston Nutt decided to get all crazy — no jokes about his last name, you’ll notice, thank you very much — and fake the field goal. It didn’t go so well. Game’s still tied at 3-3. Whoops.

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South Carolina Holds Strong in Quarter One, Trails Ole Miss 3-0

Until the :10 mark in the first quarter, South Carolina managed to hold the Ole Miss offense to a rather impressive scoreless 15 minutes. The only problem is that South Carolina failed to score a point themselves, thanks to a Stephen Garcia fumble deep in Ole Miss territory, which was recovered by the Rebels and converted into a field goal. And so they end the first period trailing by the third slimmest of margins (sorry), 3-0.

As always, join the live- and post-game coverage at Garnet And Black Attack and Red Cup Rebellion.

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Well Hello There, Mr. Worm

Dr. Saturday’s Matt Hinton is correct about this:

South Carolina has a 5’5" freshman kick returner named “Sherm the Worm.”

This is a true story. His real name is Bryce Sherman, he’s a former South Carolina sprinter, and he has one of those really awesome and borderline legendary high school football highlight reels. Fun stuff, all the way around.

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Houston Nutt Speaks on Tonight's Contest

Houston Nutt talked to a radio station in Charlotte about tonight’s game, and thanks to the folks at Sports Radio Interviews, we’ve got text from the interview:

Asked about starting the SEC schedule this week versus South Carolina on a short week:

“Your still beat up from the previous game a little bit; it’s such a quick turnaround. It’s really hard because it’s the first time for a lot of our staff members to play on a Thursday night. In the summer we take the first four conference games and do summer study on them and do the best you can and get the most work you can done.”

Asked about the target on their chest for being ranked 4th in the nation:

“I told our guys that a lot of these things, the play that your getting, you can’t control it. Last year you weren’t getting any before the season, so remember the same guys that picked you towards the bottom last year are picking you towards the top. So what does that mean? It doesn’t mean anything. What you have to do is play, play the most unbelievable game in the work with incredible passion, execution. You got to block, you got to tackle and you’re going into one of the greatest atmospheres in college football and everybody’s got to handle their business. Only thing that matters is the end of year, bottom line.”

The entire transcript is here.

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Spurrier Translated for the Layperson

It takes years of experience to properly understand what coaches are really saying in press conferences. It’s a code, and it requires a deft ear and a deep knowledge base of each coach’s special nuanced and individual language.

Thankfully, Red Cup Rebellion is here to help, this time in the case of what Steve Spurrier really means when he answers a question.

“We’re looking forward to another national TV Thursday night big time ball game. Ole Miss is number four or five in the country. They really haven’t started the meat of their schedule yet. Hopefully we’ll be considered one of their tougher opponents as we go through.”

TRANSLATION: Have y’all ever heard of Sergio Garcia? Sergio Garcia? Well, he plays golf, like me. One time, a couple of years ago, everybody was talkin’ about how Sergio was going to start winning majors, and beating Tiger, and not being a skid mark on the historical underwear. Everybody liked him because he was good looking – and I can say that because my Heisman trophy validates my heterosexuality.

As a Spurrier studies major in college, that is indeed an accurate reading.

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The Meeting of the Kinda Sorta Explosive Offenses

The offenses in this game might not be quite as strong as advertised. In any case, the setting will make it a good game, and while it may be Ole Miss' first real test of the season, it's one they should just barely pass, 28-24.

Read the full story at Team Speed Kills.

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Team Experts Forecast a Tight Contest

Red Cup Rebellion weighs in with a game prediction, forecasting a two-point road win tonight from the Rebels over the Gamecocks. South Carolina fans agree: it'll be a two-point win... but for the home team.

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Thursday Night SEC Showdown: Ole Miss at South Carolina

Traditionalists may shun the practice, but the transformation of college football into a three- and sometimes four-day a week affair has been a boon for fans who want to watch as many games and teams as possible each week. The practice now well-established, ESPN's Thursday night tussles between two teams from the MAC have given way to nationally relevant contests like last week's Miami-Georgia Tech showdown and, this week, No. 4 Ole Miss (2-0) at South Carolina (2-1). Though tonight's inter-conference game is this season's only off-Saturday tussle between SEC teams, following the recently inked 15-year, $2 billion contract between ESPN and the SEC, it's hard to imagine future years won't be filled with more Thursday and Friday night SEC battles.

Casual fans just tuning into the college season may be surprised to see that No. 4 Associated Press ranking next to Ole Miss, but the Rebels were the poll's No. 8 preseason team -- thanks to the return of 8 starters on each side of the ball from last year's 9-4 team that thumped Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl -- sliding up the rankings with comfortable wins over Memphis (45-12) and Southeast Louisiana (52-6), while teams like Oklahoma State (loss vs Houston), USC (loss at Washington), Virginia Techh (loss to Alabama) and Oklahoma (loss to BYU) took a tumble.

Tonight, however, Houston Nutt's squad get its first real test of the season as it travels on the road to Columbia to face a South Carolina team that is 2-1 on the season after wins at NC State and versus Florida Atlantic, with a loss to Georgia sandwiched between. Might the lack of stout competition be a disadvantage for the Rebels? While Ole Miss fans are ambivalent...

First, the negative.  The fact that we haven’t seen anyone the caliber of several players on [South Carolina] is quite scary. We rely on two first-year starters at key positions (LT, RG), and they haven’t set the world on fire against inferior talent. I’m worried about how unprepared they will be against a legitimate line...

On the other hand, the fact that [SC is] our first test could also be a great thing. In our first two games, we haven’t had to show anything. In each game, our gameplan has been unbelievably vanilla. South Carolina’s lack of film could be the difference in the game this year.

...South Carolina fans can't help but think the test might be the decisive difference in the game:

On the flip side of the trenches war, we're taking on a green Ole Miss offensive line that has yet to play against anything comparable to our defensive front. However, our guys, partially due to injury, haven't been getting into the backfield as much as I would like. With Ladi Ajiboye back and Nathan Pepper possible, we should be back close to full strength. If we can step up against the running game and the pass rush, we stand a chance to crash the Rebels backfield early and often. Hopefully, that will lead to a couple of game-changing turnovers.

Tune in to tonight's game on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. ET and join the live- and post-game coverage at Garnet And Black Attack and Red Cup Rebellion.

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