Spurrier steadying No. 3 South Carolina

Associated Press Modified: October 7, 2012 at 7:32 pm •  Published: October 7, 2012

Clowney said the noise from a record 85,199 people at Williams-Brice Stadium was so overwhelming, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray had to tap his center on the backside to get the snaps off — and it gave South Carolina defenders the chance to tee off. "I couldn't hear, so I knew they couldn't hear," Clowney said, laughing.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said South Carolina certainly played every bit as well as the LSU team that overwhelmed the Bulldogs, 42-10, in last year's SEC title game. Continuing that level of play is the big question, Richt said.

"There are still some mighty big tests for them as there are for all of us in our league," he said Sunday.

Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones said the Gamecocks quickly got ahead by three touchdowns in the first quarter and the Bulldogs couldn't catch up.

"Being down 21-0 in the first quarter, that's hard" to come back from, Jones said. "Especially by a team in the SEC."

Spurrier has a rule in place, like many coaches, that his staff and players get 24 hours to celebrate success or flush out failure. Then it's back to work, no matter what happened in the previous game.

"That's the way this team works. That's the system coach Spurrier has in place and that's the way the players will handle it," South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said.

It might be hard to totally forget this one, especially with happy students and fans on campus telling the Gamecocks how great they've been. Spurrier understands and accepts that, too.

The last time Spurrier's Gamecocks enjoyed this large a spotlight came in 2010 following a stunning 35-21 win over then top-ranked Alabama. South Carolina then lost a week later, 31-28, at Kentucky, a defeat Spurrier blames more on a stalled second-half offense than players not being ready. "I blame the coaches for that one," he said.

This time, the Gamecock feature better, older leaders who've kept the team even-keeled through the high times and the low. "You really don't ever know anything until you go play the game," Spurrier said. "But we've got some good leaders."

Leaders, Spurrier thinks, who'll keep locked on to the next opponent while understanding that success won't guarantee anything beyond that. "We do have a chance for a big year," Spurrier said. "If we continue on doing what we're doing."