for this game

Spurrier continues mastery of Kentucky as South Carolina rolls

Oct 5, 2007 - 5:28 AM COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Some things have changed this season in college football. Other things, like Steve Spurrier beating Kentucky, remain the same.

Defensive end Eric Norwood tied an NCAA record by returning a pair of fumbles for touchdowns and Chris Smelley threw two touchdown passes as No. 11 South Carolina handed the eighth-ranked Wildcats their first loss of the season, 38-23, on Thursday night.

South Carolina (5-1, 3-1 East) has now won eight in a row over Kentucky, but that is well short of Spurrier's streak. "The ol' ballcoach" improved to 15-0 against Kentucky, the last three wins coming with South Carolina.

Kentucky (5-1, 1-1 SEC East) was one of the early surprises of the season. Led by quarterback Andre' Woodson, the Wildcats entered Thursday as the only undefeated team in the rugged SEC East. But they left the contest as they always do when they meet Spurrier - with a loss.

Norwood became the fourth NCAA player to score twice on fumble recoveries and opened the scoring just under four minutes in. Woodson was sacked by Jonathan Williams and coughed up the ball. Norwood pounced on it and rolled into the end zone to make it 7-0.

"I feel like I am becoming a leader. We have a lot of guys that are stepping up. Emanuel Cook leads by his example."

"It was about being in the right place at the right time. It was about covering the right guy. I came out and made the play."

South Carolina led 17-10 at the half and extended the lead to two touchdowns after another miscue by Woodson early in the third quarter.

Under pressure and about to be sacked, Woodson tried to dump the ball off in the flat but threw behind his intended receiver. Norwood scooped up the loose ball, ruled a lateral, and raced 53 yards for a TD with 13:17 left in the third to make it 24-10.

"I just told Eric Norwood I think that's the first defensive player I had score two touchdowns. That was some game he had," Spurrier said. "I think he had an All-American type game. He is an active player that really makes things happen. He loves to play full speed."

The Wildcats pulled within 31-23 with 7:03 to play in the fourth, but Smelley put the finishing touches on the win on the Gamecocks' next possession when he threw a 27-yard TD pass to Cory Boyd with 3:38 remaining.

"The differences in the game are turnovers and the penalties," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "We dug ourselves some long yard situations. South Carolina defense forced us into some and some were uncharacteristic of how we play."

Smelley completed 17-of-30 passes for 256 yards.

"I am not surprised we won. We had some real confidence coming into the game," Smelley said. "We knew if we played well, played hard and never gave up, we could win. I feel really good. I think we are controlling our own destiny. We put so much into the offseason and to not play well tonight would be a disappointment. We knew we could do it."

Woodson was 23-of-40 for 226 yards. He threw two TD passes but was sacked four times and intercepted once. Woodson (7,187 yards) also joined Jared Lorenzen and Tim Couch as the only quarterbacks in Kentucky history to throw for 7,000 yards in a career.

"We definitely made a lot of mistakes, especially me personally," Woodson said. "It's something we haven't been doing all year. Hopefully right now we can correct that. I was pretty disappointed, because we definitely thought we could compete in this game."