COLUMBIA -- Weird winners, these Gamecocks.
South Carolina is 2-0, No. 11 in the new Associated Press poll, has scored 101 points, and is about to embark on its softest schedule stretch.
Head coach Steve Spurrier is worried, justifiably so.
"We're not near as good as some of you have painted us to be before the season," Spurrier said Sunday.
The defending SEC East champions escaped Georgia with a 45-42 victory on Saturday, successfully rallying in the fourth quarter for the first time in Spurrier's South Carolina tenure.
A week earlier, USC dug a 17-0 hole against East Carolina before winning, 56-37.
Spurrier knows his team cannot rely on two touchdowns from remarkably athletic defensive end Melvin Ingram, star of the Georgia game. Surely, "Spur" linebacker Antonio Allen won't keep up his 2011 average of one score per week.
"We've got a lot of work to do and we're not a very good team right now," Spurrier said. "I don't know if we can get better or not."
Asked if the problems were effort or execution, Spurrier said, "It's a little of both."
Specific areas of concern:
--Pass defense. The Gamecocks in two games have yielded eight TD passes. They gave up 23 in 14 games last season, six of those in two games against Cam Newton of Auburn.
--Rushing defense. Georgia piled up 188 yards on the ground, led by freshman Isaiah Crowell with 118 yards on 16 carries.
--Pass offense. Only 21 completions this season over two games, and 10 of them to star receiver Alshon Jeffery.
"Our (receivers) are getting a lot of publicity but they need to start doing something," Spurrier said.
--Special teams defense. Brandon Boykin is one of the nation's best but the Georgia speedster shouldn't have been able to rack up 184 kick return yards.
"Georgia had a couple returns where we just stood around and didn't make a tackle," Spurrier said.
Then again, USC proved that with sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore grinding out crucial chunks of his 176 yards against Georgia with the game on the line, the Gamecocks are good enough to complete wins in hostile SEC stadiums.
USC has won four straight true road games, including Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson last season.
Best of all for a team looking for improvement, USC plays four straight home games: Navy on Saturday night, Vanderbilt on Sept. 24, No. 22 Auburn on Oct. 1 and Kentucky on Oct. 8.
Melvin Ingram, he of the two TDs and onside kick recovery at Georgia, was named Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week. USC's senior defensive end scored on a fake punt and a fumble recovery.
Freshman tailback Shon Carson (knee) is out "for a while" and might require surgery, Spurrier said. Carson was injured on a first-quarter running play at Georgia.
Cornerback Akeem Auguste suffered a foot injury after missing most of the preseason and the East Carolina game with an ankle injury.
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