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Garcia, YouTube ref share a laugh

Two weeks after their collision caused a national stir, Stephen Garcia and game official Wilbur Hackett Jr. had a chance to talk about the incident.

Later, they almost had another YouTube moment. But this time Hackett got out of the way.

Hackett, an umpire, was assigned to USC’s game on Saturday, recalling the incident against LSU when Garcia ran into Hackett — although many felt it was the other way around.

Garcia said the pair had a brief conversation during Saturday’s game, making light of the situation.

“Before the game, he was like, ‘Hey what’s up man,’ “ Garcia said. “I said, ‘Sorry about all that crazy stuff that happened.’ He’s like, ‘Hey it’s over now.’ So we’re cool about it.”

Hackett was almost involved in another play Saturday, on almost the same spot on the field. But this time he ducked away from a pass Garcia threw right at him. Mike Davis grabbed the throw and ran in for a 12-yard touchdown reception.

As it turned out, it was another official who drew the ire of the Gamecocks.

Spurrier thought an illegal formation call, which negated a Weslye Saunders touchdown catch in the fourth quarter, was suspect. The Gamecocks used the same “Cajun” formation — with Saunders lining up as a tackle but eligible receiver — that resulted in a touchdown at Kentucky.

The same official also didn’t call offsides against Kentucky on Garcia’s lone interception.

“That ref on our sideline, we need to check him out a little bit,” Spurrier said.

Punter’s paradise. When a punter does as good a job as a Colquitt, that means he had a good night. So it was for USC’s Spencer Lanning.

Lanning and Tennessee counterpart Britton Colquitt had almost identical nights. Colquitt averaged 45.3 yards on nine punts, while Lannings averaged 45 on eight. Colquitt was boosted by a career-high 71-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Lanning did beat Colquitt in one category, booting three inside the 20. Colquitt had one.

Colquitt, the fourth member of his family to punt for the Volunteers, entered third on the school’s career list for punting average. Lanning is in his first year as USC’s starting punter.

Spurrier said Lanning received a game ball.

At a loss. Eric Norwood broke the program record for tackles-for-a-loss, passing Andrew Provence, who played from 1980-82.

Norwood now has 36 tackles-for-loss, and all of them on Saturday came on sacks. He was credited with one solo sack and shared two more.

Need another board meeting. Last week defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson received a contract extension. On Saturday night, Spurrier was asked if he planned on seeking an extension for special teams coach Ray Rychleski, whose unit also starred against Tennessee.

“The A.D.’s over there, how bout it?” Spurrier said, looking at athletics director Eric Hyman in the audience. “He may get a raise, I’ll tell you that.”

Extra points. USC guaranteed itself a .500 record for the fifth year in a row. That’s the first time it has done that over that span since 1930-34. ... With guard Lemuel Jeanpierre out for the season, Hutch Eckerson becomes the favorite to step into his starting spot. Former starter Heath Batchelor is suspended, and Spurrier indicated that Jamon Meredith isn’t healthy enough yet.

Reach Emerson at (803) 771-8676.

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