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USC running game is a priority

South Carolina freshman tailback No. 31 Kenny Miles earns some hard yards in the Clemson University defense in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday. South Carolina won 34-17.
South Carolina freshman tailback No. 31 Kenny Miles earns some hard yards in the Clemson University defense in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday. South Carolina won 34-17.

Much has been made about South Carolina having to stop the Connecticut rushing attack in the Papajohns.com Bowl on Saturday.

Little has been made about the Huskies having to stop a USC rushing attack that grounded out 223 yards in the victory over Clemson.

The Gamecocks are 6-1 when they rush for more than 100 yards in a game this season. Connecticut allows 137 yards rushing per game.

"We need to continue to try and run the ball," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Tuesday after the team's final practice in Columbia. "They are pretty good against the run. They've given up some pass yards throughout the year but we still got to run the ball."

Redshirt freshman Kenny Miles (team-high 602 yards) has taken it as a personal challenge when comparing the USC running backs to UConn's duo of Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon.

Todman finished with 1,152 yards while Dixon chipped in with 967 yards.

"You always can't wait for the game to see how the other running back does and see how he does so you can compete," Miles said. "Running backs always compete against each other in games wither they say it or not. You always want to do better than the other team's running backs."

Senior offensive lineman Garrett Anderson would like to see the Gamecocks continue how they played against Clemson.

"After the Clemson game a bunch of people said the line played better and that's something we definitely we want them to say after the bowl game," Anderson said. "We want them to say the line even improved more since the last game."

Fun in Birmingham. Spurrier wants his team to enjoy the activities surrounding the bowl, but he also wants them to remember the reason for being in Birmingham.

There are several team activities planned. The two teams will have a Welcome Dinner tonight at the StarDome Comedy Club. On Thursday morning there is an FCA breakfast at the Sheraton Birmingham hotel. That evening there is a team Bowling and BBQ Challenge.

But Spurrier has the Gamecocks on a short lease. Last night and tonight there will be a midnight curfew in place followed by 11 p.m. the two nights before the game.

"We're going to have controlled fun and don't get out of hand," Spurrier said. "We've got midnight curfew a couple of nights. That's plenty for our guys."

Help on the way. Spurrier said USC's special teams awareness may be handled differently next year. USC allowed three kickoff returns for touchdowns so far this season.

"We're going to give (special teams coordinator) Coach (Shane) Beamer a little more help hopefully next year by getting our very best players on special teams," Spurrier said. "I think we've sort of given our players a rest where as all the starters need to be on special teams."

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