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Garcia proves to be a fan favorite

Steve Spurrier was talking with several reporters before a practice last week when he asked which quarterback the fans wanted to see.

As if he had to ask.

The fascination among USC fans with Stephen Garcia was evident again Saturday night, when the redshirt freshman was cheered loudly for much of the 26-13 win over UAB. When’s the last time a quarterback received an ovation for throwing a ball away, as Garcia did in the second half vs. the Blazers?

Garcia’s hold over most corners of Gamecock Nation amuses his teammates, who seem to like Garcia but can’t figure out what all the fuss is about.

“The people love him. When he got in the game, everybody was screaming and stuff,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. “I’m like, it’s Garcia.”

Do fans like Garcia’s bad-boy image or is it simply that they believe No. 5 gives the Gamecocks their best chance?

“I really don’t know. I guess people just love the kid,” Munnerlyn added. “And he went out there and played a pretty good game. I hope he can keep it up.”

Garcia heard the cheers, and is appreciative of the support. “It’s amazing the fans are still cheering for me after everything I’ve been through,” he said.

But he also heard the boos for Chris Smelley. Those he didn’t like so much.

“I don’t think that was necessary,” Garcia said. “I don’t know. I don’t really know what to say that.”