Originally created 10/31/04

USC notebook



COLUMBIA - With a shallow supply of wide receivers and a quarterback with a gimpy wing, South Carolina coach Lou Holtz dipped into his old-school playbook Saturday against Tennessee.

The Gamecocks displayed their 'T' formation throughout the game, and it was key early on in helping them to establish an 8-0 lead.

South Carolina eventually fell behind and lost 43-29.

The formation features zero receivers and three backs behind the quarterback. Some call it a jumbo or full house formation.

The Gamecocks just called it successful early on.

South Carolina had 147 rushing yards in the first half.

A few times the set got quirky when defensive end Moe Thompson was inserted at fullback.

Thompson, who played offense and defense at Stratford High in Goose Creek, S.C., had one carry for 4 yards.

He had a touchdown reception all but secured when a Volunteers defender popped the ball loose.

"I guess I have a feel for offense and defense," Thompson said.

THE LONGEST YARDS: Gamecocks quarterback Dondrial Pinkins said if you'd told him before the game that the team would rack up 567 total yards and South Carolina would lose, he would have thought you were crazy.

Tennessee finished with 412 total yards.

South Carolina quarterbacks coach Skip Holtz said, unfortunately for his team, football isn't about the team that wins the yardage battle.

"The object was not to say we had more yards than them," Holtz said.

Pinkins, playing with a sore rotator cuff, had a career passing day.

The fifth-year senior went 30-for-42 for 306 yards and two scores.

One play that marred his day was an interception late in the third quarter with South Carolina trailing by 14 and beginning to rally.

"We were on a roll," coach Lou Holtz said. "I really felt that we could win the game."

Skip Holtz said Pinkins seemed to hold up well despite his sore shoulder.

Backup Syvelle Newton, who was playing at about 75 percent because of a sprained ankle, said his leg did slow him some against the Volunteers.

EXTRA POINTS: Tennessee is 50-3 under coach Phillip Fulmer when it rushes for more than 200 yards. The Vols had 246 rushing yards Saturday. ... Volunteers quarterback Brent Schaeffer broke his collarbone late in the game and will be out five to six weeks.

Reach Travis Haney at (706) 823-3304 or travis.haney@augustachronicle.com.