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The way Jasper Brinkley sees it, beating Clemson would represent the best of both worlds: It would boost the Gamecocks’ bowl prospects and kill Clemson’s.
“If we win, I’d be satisfied because it’s going to do both. It’ll knock them out of the bowl and possibly help us get a better bowl,” said Brinkley, the Gamecocks’ middle linebacker. “That’s just something we want.”
This is the seventh time Clemson has entered the USC game needing a win to become bowl eligible. The Tigers are 4-2 in such games, including a 29-7 victory in the brawl-marred 2004 game that was Lou Holtz’s final game on the sideline.
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Strong safety Emanuel Cook, a junior from south Florida, said he would “definitely” enjoy ending the Tigers’ season. Cook quickly clammed up, however, per Steve Spurrier’s instructions.
“Coach didn’t really want us to talk about bowls and stuff like that,” Cook said. “So we’re just going to talk about getting this win, concentrate on getting our (team) right, and going out there and winning the battle.”
Linebacker Marvin Sapp. Despite playing behind Brinkley, Sapp has come off the bench to finish with at least six tackles the past three games, including a game-high seven stops against Florida. The senior from Jacksonville is USC’s third-leading tackler with 57.
The Gamecocks’ rushing average. USC is last in the SEC and 108th among 119 teams nationally with 98.9 rushing yards a game. The Gamecocks are threatening to surpass Spurrier’s first USC squad (95.2 ypg) as the worst running team during his four-year tenure.
“We haven’t made a lot of yards rushing this year. We must do that this game, and we can’t just go throw,” Spurrier said. “We’re not a good enough passing team, or pass-protection team, to say we’re gonna throw it up and down the field. So we’ve gotta try to mix it up.”
Backup quarterback Stephen Garcia missed his second consecutive practice with flu-like symptoms. Freshman tailback Eric Baker sat out with a sprained ankle. Their status for the Clemson game is uncertain.
Quote of the day
“I haven’t made up my mind. I haven’t even sat down with my family and discussed anything,” – Emanuel Cook on whether he intends to declare for the NFL draft.
Spurrier has never used piped-in noise at practice to prepare his offenses for loud stadiums. Instead, Spurrier has his quarterbacks whisper the calls, as they have done this week.
The Gamecocks can become the 10th team in school history to reach eight wins. Eight of those squads beat at least one top-25 team (there were no rankings when the 1903 team went 8-2). USC is 0-3 this season vs. ranked opponents.
Walk-on receiver Scott Spurrier, the coach’s son, is playing Clemson’s Jacoby Ford on the scout team this week. Brandan Davis, a Dutch Fork graduate who is sitting out this year after transferring from Carson-Newman, is playing tailback C.J. Spiller.
Spurrier press conference