South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said his 12th-ranked Gamecocks are refreshed and ready to finish the season strong after a much-needed week off.
South Carolina (7-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) had climbed to third in the Top 25 and was in the thick of the national title chase a month ago. Then came defeats at LSU and Florida. And the Gamecocks managed to end that losing streak against Tennessee two weeks ago, it came at a terrible price - the loss of star tailback Marcus Lattimore for the season with a gruesome knee injury.
''I think our team and players enjoyed the week off,'' Spurrier said Tuesday. ''I think we needed it.''
The down time gave banged up players like defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles and running back Brandon Wilds the chance to heal. It also allowed the team to deal with the devastating news of Lattimore's absence.
''The bye week gave us the time to get everything right,'' said tight end Justice Cunningham, like Lattimore a Gamecock captain. ''Me personally, ...