Sept. 10, 2006
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -Steve Spurrier had been involved in shutouts before. Usually, though, he was on the winning sideline congratulating his defense on a job well done.
On Saturday night, it was Spurrier stuck with the goose egg. No. 10 Georgia did what only one other school had accomplished in Spurrier's 17 years as a college coach - hold the ball coach's club without a point in an 18-0 victory.
"I'm embarrassed," he said Sunday. "I'm disappointed in our performance."
That was obvious to anyone who watched. Spurrier ripped his headset off, tossed his notes and threw his hands out in disgust several times - mostly when the Gamecocks offense was on the field.
South Carolina managed only 35 yards rushing and quarterback Blake Mitchell couldn't get much going through the air, either. One time, center Chris White snapped the ball when Mitchell wasn't ready and saw it bounce off the quarterback's shoulder, roll several yards back and take the Gamecocks out of field goal range.
South Carolina star wideout Sidney Rice was swarmed by the Bulldogs, who limited him to three catches and 31 yards.
Twice in the second half, the Gamecocks drove inside Georgia's 5 only to come away with no points. The second time, freshman Chris Smelley moved the team to Georgia's 2. But a fourth-down pass to Kenny McKinley was tipped away and Georgia held on for its first shutout in three years.
Spurrier hadn't been shut out in college since falling 7-0 to Rutgers in 1987, his first season at Duke - a span of 193 games.
He was blanked once in his two seasons with the Washington Redskins, falling to Dallas 27-0 in 2003.
Spurrier thought about a chip-shot field goal in the fourth quarter to get South Carolina some points. "But then I'm just saying I don't want to get shutout," he said.
Spurrier was hoarse when the game ended, blaming his raspy voice on having to shout at his players to hustle up to the line and run the play. Once they did, Spurrier grew more irritated with the poor blocking and missed assignments. Spurrier promised personnel changes because "I can't watch what we're doing right now."
Watching the performance again on tape made Spurrier feel worse.
"We got guys who look like they don't give a dang, to tell you the truth," he said.
South Carolina receiver Syvelle Newton said the Gamecocks had chances and couldn't convert, but he's not panicking. "I think it's frustrating as a whole unit," Newton said. "We have to work harder to get better, make adjustments and we'll be fine."
Spurrier's not so sure.
"I can take losing," said the coach who won an Atlantic Coast Conference title at Duke, six SEC titles and a national championship at Florida and had a surprising 7-5 debut season with the Gamecocks a year ago.
"Shoot, I know we're in a little bit of a battle right now," Spurrier said. "But as long as our guys try as hard as they can and play the way they're coached, shoot, that's all we can ask. We didn't do that last night."