Division lead on line for Gamecocks, 'Dores

Steve Spurrier: Gamecocks coach hopes for different results after losing to the Commodores three of the past four years.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- South Carolina receiver Tori Gurley believes the Gamecocks got the wake-up call they needed as they try to win the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division.


He called their 31-28 loss at Kentucky humbling coming a week after knocking off then-No. 1 Alabama by two touchdowns.

That loss dropped South Carolina to No. 19 in the rankings and erased most of the Gamecocks' lead atop the East. That means South Carolina heads to Vanderbilt tonight needing to snap a seven-game SEC road skid to avoid falling behind the Commodores in the standings.

Gurley said the Gamecocks (4-2, 2-2) just need to work hard because they remain in charge if they just get back to their winning ways.

"We want to control our own destiny," Gurley said. "We don't want to depend on a team to lose and all this tiebreak stuff. We feel if we can go on ahead and run the table, that will speak for itself."

Yes, the SEC East couldn't be more topsy-turvey this season with Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-2) having the chance to move on top with the tiebreaker with a win over South Carolina, even after being shut out in a 43-0 loss at Georgia last week.

"I don't think it's nuts at all," Vanderbilt defensive tackle Adam Smotherman said. "We're very confident in ourselves. We've had some setbacks. I think we're very confident in our abilities, and we're confident in our coaches to give us a good game plan."

The Commodores can go into tonight confident because South Carolina is the one SEC team they've had the most success with recently. They are looking for their third win in four years and beat the then-No. 24 Gamecocks 28-17 in 2008 for Vanderbilt's first win over a ranked opponent in Nashville since 1992.

South Carolina had to score late to pull out a 14-10 win in Columbia last year.

"They've given us fits," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "Hopefully, we can go play a little better and play the entire game."

The Gamecocks might be without running back Marcus Lattimore because of a sprained ankle, but they still have quarterback Stephen Garcia.

That might be more than enough against a Vanderbilt defense that could be without defensive tackle T.J. Greenstone and linebacker Chris Marve.