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Spencer Lanning Named SEC Special Teams Player Of The Week

South Carolina senior place-kicker/punter Spencer Lanning has earned SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for the second time in the last three weeks. Lanning nailed three of four field goal attempts, hitting from 46, 25 and 37 yards, and punted seven times for a 42.7 yard average in South Carolina’s 29-7 win at Clemson.
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Tigers Shamed: South Carolina at Clemson Post-Game Discussion Thread

South Carolina
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While watching Carolina pound his hapless team, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney wonders what he'll say to the Tigers boosters on the IPTAY tour.

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Patrick Collard – AP

While watching Carolina pound his hapless team, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney wonders what he’ll say to the Tigers boosters on the IPTAY tour.

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It’s time to celebrate, Gamecocks fans! Carolina just made themselves comfortable in Clemson’s house and put a major whipping on the Tigers. The game really wasn’t even as close as the final 29-7 score. Clemson never  threatened to score after its early TD and Carolina had pity on its Upstate rival and took its foot off the gas in the second half. The gap between the two teams, especially considering that it all went down in front of what was early on a thoroughly energized Clemson crowd, was thoroughly apparent.

And that’s what’s so incredible about what Carolina did tonight. Before tonight, we hadn’t won two straight against Clemson since the 1960s, and now we’ve done to the tune of a 63-24 total margin of victory. We’ve been waiting for years for the Gamecocks to make the Palmetto Bowl a rivalry again, and Carolina just did it with a bang. This isn’t just a rivalry again, it’s now Carolina’s edge to lose. We now look to be the stronger program, and it’s easy to imagine our success against Clemson continuing next season. Clemson will undoubtedly field an improved team next year if they can keep their recruiting class together, but with all the offensive talent we have coming back and the game returning to Columbia, it’s hard to see us not being the favorite again next time around. Winning three straight against Clemson was difficult for Gamecocks’ fans to imagine a couple of years back after the Tigers whipped Carolina in 2008, but it now seems very easy to conceive. Pounding a team two straight years can do that for your confidence level.

In a season of many firsts, asserting ourselves in this rivalry is one of the sweetest. It may not have any immediate bearing on the SEC standings. However, after years of dealing with obnoxious Clemson fans look down on Carolina, it’s now Carolina’s turn to enjoy some success. That’s a great feeling. It’s what college football is all about, and it’s something we have gotten to enjoy much until now.

A few quick thoughts on the game:

1. Spencer Lanning deserves a game ball. Lanning missed a FG and had an XP blocked. (Our XP team needs some work, by the way.) However, his punting tonight was beautiful, and it allowed us to completely control field position in the second half. That was important, because I’m sure that Spurrier was happy to be able to play it safe and not ask Stephen Garcia or Marcus Lattimore to do to much in order to not have to risk injury going into the SEC Championship Game. Lanning’s punting made it easy for us to do that, because it put us in the position of not really having to worry about the outcome of the game for most of the second half.

2. The secondary has come full circle. Sure, they got some help from Clemson’s anemic passing game. (What happened to Kyle Parker, by the way? That was some noodly-armed QBing from the Clemson signal-caller. I take it this wasn’t what he came back for.) But Carolina’s secondary, outside of the early TD, again looked miles ahead of where it was earlier this season. They were consistently in position and showed a nose for the ball. What we’ve been doing since after Arkansas has worked, and it’s helped this defense morph into an elite unit.

3. Did Alshon Jeffery give the Biletnikoff folks something to think about? I’m watching Oklahoma wrap up a victory over Oklahoma St., and Justin Blackmon has been good but not great. I still think Blackmon wins the award, but Jeffery may have given himself a chance to put himself closer to contention for the award for the nation’s best receiver.

That’s a wrap for tonight. We’ll be back tomorrow with more coverage and analysis.


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Lanning & Lattimore Earn Conference Player Of The Week Honors

South Carolina freshman running back Marcus Lattimore and senior punter/place-kicker Spencer Lanning each earned conference player of the week honors from the SEC. Lattimore was named Co-Offensive Player of the Week with Lanning earning Special Teams Player of the Week accolades following this past Saturday’s 34-16 win over Florida to clinch the SEC Eastern Division title.
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SEC Football Players Of The Week

South Carolina
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SEC Football Players Of The Week

Marcus Lattimore named SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week and SEC Co-Freshman of the Week (Lattimore now only 36 yards from 1,000 on the season). Spencer Lanning named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.


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Tennessee at South Carolina: Post-Game Thoughts / Topics for Discussion and Cocktail Party Open Thread

South Carolina
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51091_tennessee_scarolina_football

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Rich Glickstein – AP

South Carolina tailback (21) Marcus Lattimore takes a handoff from quarterback Stephen Garcia, right, and pushes into the end zone for a touchdown during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game at Williams Brice Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, in Columbia, SC. (AP Photo/Rich Glickstein)

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A few quick thoughts on the game:

1.The biggest problem with this team continues to be pass defense. I’ll give credit to Tennessee’s QBs for delivering some nice passes, but part of the blame goes to our continual inability to play tight coverage. Chris Culliver was schooled yet again today, and Stephon Gilmore continues to look bad at times. We have guys out of place, there seems to be really poor communication between our players, and guys aren’t doing enough to contest the ball when the pass is delivered. Another overall poor effort from these guys. Luckily, a stout pass rush bailed them out for the most part–the defensive line played lights out today.

What do you think about the pass D? Can it be helped this year, or should we just start bringing the house on passing downs and hoping we can get to the QB before he releases the ball?

2. Don’t know what to say about special teams other than they’ve gotten bad. We have no return game, and Spencer Lanning seems to have lost his touch. Lanning still punts well, but that’s about all we’ve got on special teams.

3. Not really sure what to say about the offense today. There was some shaky play calling at points, and Garcia had a bit of an off day. However, there were definitely some bright spots (Marcus Lattimore running out of the I was it for me), and you really can’t complain about 31 offensive points. If our defense was playing well, that would always be enough. Unfortunately, I fear that next week against Arkansas we’re going to need the offense to play it’s best game of the season, because it’s going to be a shootout.

Lastly, as you know, The Cocktail Party is on, and a Georgia win would mean that we can wrap up the East tomorrow against Arkansas. We can chat about it here if you’re interested.


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Lanning Nominated for Ray Guy Award

University of South Carolina senior punter Spencer Lanning is one of 51 athletes nominated for the 2010 Ray Guy Award, as announced today by the Augusta Sports Council.
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