COLUMBIA -- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was in Charleston this summer for a meeting of the Gamecock Club, USC's athletic booster organization. One of the men Spurrier bumped into there is a former football player at The Citadel who mentioned something to Spurrier about the Bulldogs' upset of USC in Columbia.
As Spurrier recalled the encounter Tuesday, he couldn't quite remember the year the upset happened, which is understandable, since he has only been at USC since 2005.
"Was it 1980?" Spurrier said. "Was that the year?"
No, he was told by media members, it was 1990.
"Ninety?" he said. "Jeez, I thought it was '80. Nineteen-ninety, that wasn't that long ago then, was it?"
The Citadel's 38-35 win remains a monumental victory for the school, especially considering that USC team wasn't half bad. The Gamecocks finished 6-5.
USC hosts the Bulldogs on Saturday, in the first meeting of the schools since then. A win by the Bulldogs would definitely be a bigger upset this time, as USC is ranked No. 14 in the country, has an 8-2 record and is trying to win nine games for just the fourth time in school history. The Gamecocks finished 9-5 last year.
Spurrier said he follows the John Wooden philosophy of not talking much about the opponent before a game, but he did mention the Bulldogs' upset of USC to his players and told them "that it is a very big deal if an in-state school beats the state university anywhere," he said.
Matulis to start again
Spurrier plans to once again go with true freshman Mike Matulis at right tackle, as he did for last week's win over Florida. Matulis initially started at left tackle in Week 5 against Auburn, because Kyle Nunn was hurt. Matulis struggled early against Auburn and was pulled.
For the next four games, USC started Rokevious Watkins at left tackle and redshirt freshman Cody Gibson at right. Gibson was benched two weeks ago during the Arkansas game. Matulis played the entire Florida game at right tackle.
"I sort of suggested to (offensive line) coach (Shawn) Elliott that maybe we need to let him play right tackle because we were struggling there," Spurrier said. "He played decent. Not great.
"Hopefully he'll get the signals a little better, some of the other guys also. We still go the wrong way every now and then. It's hard to imagine. The play is slide right, and he slides left. Things like that happen that shouldn't be happening. So anyway, we have a lot of improving to do if we're going to have a good offense around here."
"We've been winning with some ugly play, mainly because the other team played a little uglier than we do. That's what's happened, I believe a little bit, some games this year. We're still trying to get sharper and more assignment-oriented to doing it the right way 98 percent of the time instead of about 75."
This and that
Strong safety DeVonte Holloman missed the Florida game with a concussion suffered at Arkansas. His replacement, true freshman Brison Williams, struggled early. Spurrier expects Holloman to return this week. ... USC junior fullback Dalton Wilson is one of 50 players nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy, given to the nation's most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on.
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