Wofford stirs up South Carolina memories of Citadel loss
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina coach Will Muschamp made sure his older players relived perhaps their most embarrassing moment with the Gamecocks — a stunning 23-22 loss to FCS opponent Citadel in 2015.
Muschamp brought up the debacle — the lowest of the lows during a season when coach Steve Spurrier left in the middle and South Carolina finished 3-9 — to remind his team they’ll need to prepare as hard for FCS foe Wofford (9-1) as they have for any Southeastern Conference team they’ve played this year.
“I think that I leaned on a lot of the experience of our football team that went through that in understanding, it starts with your preparation,” Muschamp said. “That’s the most important thing, to prepare the right way.”
The Gamecocks (7-3) have done that much of the season. They won four of their final five SEC contests to clinch their first winning league mark since 2013. Muschamp joined Spurrier as the only Gamecock coaches to take a team to a bowl game in each of their first two years.
And, of course, there’s the chance for payback next week when No. 4 Clemson comes to Williams-Brice Stadium. That, though, is for another time, not now, say the Gamecocks.
“All of our focus is on Wofford right now,” linebacker T.J. Brunson said. “We take it a week at a time. Wofford’s the big goal right now.”
And Wofford has certainly given South Carolina fits through the years. The Gamecocks have won 16 straight against the Terriers, but two of the past three meetings have had margins of 10 points or less.
Wofford clinched a share of the Southern Conference title and the league’s automatic bid to the FCS playoffs. The Terriers would love to pick up a win over an FBS opponent.
Wofford running back Lennox McAfee said many Terriers were not recruited by bigger schools and this game is a chance to show the Power Five teams what they missed.
“We’re excited about going to the playoffs but this is the most important game on our schedule right now,” McAfee said. ”
Some other things to watch when Wofford plays at South Carolina:
LOOKING FOR 600: The Gamecocks are poised to win the program’s 600th game with their next victory. The team began play in 1892 and has a mark of 599-572-44 since then. It reached the 500-win mark with a 35-32 victory over Arkansas in 2004.
IF IT’S CLOSE: Wofford has played in eight games that have been decided by one possession this season. It has won seven of them. The Terriers have won in overtime against Western Carolina and double overtime against Chattanooga.
SENIOR DAY: South Carolina is sending junior tight end Hayden Hurst off with its 11 seniors for a final send off. Hurst, a 6-5, 250-pound junior, is considered a strong NFL prospect and was named a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award, which goes to the nation’s top tight end. Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp asked Hurst to go through ceremonies. Hurst said he’ll wait until after the season to decide on his future.
SHUTTING DOWN THE RUN: Wofford’s defense has honed in on opposing rushers the past few games. The Terriers have allowed just 204 total rushing yards in its past four games. South Carolina gained more than that last week (220) in its 28-20 win over Florida.
WINS AT WILLIAMS-BRICE: South Carolina has won 26 of its past 28 non-conference games at home. The Gamecocks had won 22 straight such games until dropping home games against Citadel and Clemson in 2015.
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