COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Coach Steve Spurrier says No. 3 South Carolina has high goals for this season and several are much bigger than starting 6-0 or dominating Georgia.
The Gamecocks (6-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) moved to their highest ranking in 28 years — and into discussions about SEC and national titles — after their 35-7 victory over the Bulldogs this past Saturday.
South Carolina had one of the more complete performances of Spurrier's eight seasons. None of it, Spurrier reminded people Tuesday, will matter if the Gamecocks don't stay focused on their next challenge, playing at No. 9 LSU on Saturday night.
"We are getting some national attention," the coach said. "That's what we all like, but it can turn south on you if you don't watch it."
Spurrier knows that too well. South Carolina pulled off a stunning upset of then No. 1 Alabama, 35-21, in October of 2010. A game later, the Gamecocks blew an 18-point halftime lead to lose at Kentucky, 31-28.
Spurrier blames himself and his staff for not coaching very well after halftime.
"Our guys were ready to play, ready to play," he said. "We had them up 28-10 and pooped around the second half."
It's easy to lose focus when so many people are praising the Gamecocks, which is happening all around South Carolina's campus.
Safety D.J. Swearinger said a teacher asked him to the front of the room so his nearly 200 classmates could applaud him for South Carolina's Georgia win.
That's heady stuff for a team not used to big-time success. But Swearinger said neither his head, nor those of his teammates, will be turned by the attention.
Swearinger told the defensive players at Monday's practice they could not afford to dwell on last week's victory, not with an angry bunch of LSU Tigers ahead.
"We've got a bigger task at hand than Kentucky" two years ago, Swearinger said.
LSU, the defending SEC champions, hope to rebound from its first loss of the season, 14-6, at No. 4 Florida last Saturday. Tigers coach Les Miles said the players want to quickly put the defeat behind and get back to winning.
"For the first time in a year and a half we are talking about regular-season loss," Miles said. "And it is miserable for us."
South Carolina has struggled, like many SEC teams, against LSU. The Gamecocks are 1-4-1 against the Tigers since joining the league in 1992, their only victory at Death Valley coming 18 years ago.
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