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Running backs mix things up

Jarvis Giles gains yards against in the 2nd quarter.
Jarvis Giles gains yards against in the 2nd quarter.

Steve Spurrier liked what he saw when he looked at the rushing totals on the stat sheet.

"All three of the tailbacks had their moments," Spurrier said. "It was sort of interesting that we've got three running backs that averaged around six yards a carry. It was good all three of them contributed. It keeps them all in play."

Spurrier planned to give Kenny Miles, Jarvis Giles and Brian Maddox their share of carries before the game, and he followed through, primarily because each proved to be effective in their respective stints.

Giles, a freshman, carried 11 times for 74 yards. Miles, a redshirt freshman, rushed 10 times for 60 yards. And Maddox, a junior, picked up 45 yards on seven carries.

Miles busted a 22-yard touchdown run up the middle with 11:40 to play in the third quarter to give the Gamecocks a 17-7 lead, and they never looked back.

Miles said it doesn't matter which one of the three is playing.

"At the end of the day, no, sir, as long as we get the win," he said.

He believes each brings a something different to the offense. He said Maddox showcases the power running game, Giles brings the speed, and he offers a combination of running between the tackles and getting outside.

Quarterback Stephen Garcia, who scored a rushing touchdown with a 1-yard sneak, doesn't mind who is in the backfield with him either.

"We've been comfortable with that the whole season," Garcia said. "It's very good to have a combination like that."

The only downside came when Miles picked up an unsportsmanlike penalty for celebrating his first score by flexing his muscles to the crowd sitting in the end-zone stands. He called the mistake one of exuberance due to his adrenaline.

"It was a stupid penalty, and I paid for it," he said. "I apologized to the players and the coaching staff."

The ground game had no other reasons to be sorry. It clicked in part because Garcia passed the ball effectively. The mix kept the Bulldogs off balance, as the ground game rolled up 213 yards while Garcia threw for 164. The offense did its part to turn a three-point halftime lead into a 38-14 victory with three third-quarter scoring drives.

"It turned out to be a good, solid, hard-earned victory," Spurrier said. "I'm proud of our guys and the way they kept battling."

Nobody battled harder than the tailbacks.

"We went into halftime, and the coaches made a couple of adjustments," Miles said. "Then in the second half, we just came out ready to play, and you saw what we could do when the ball got rolling."

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