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Fulmer, Tennessee face nemesis Spurrier in SEC battle

Oct 24, 2006 - 7:38 PM No. 8 Tennessee (6-1) at South Carolina (5-2), 7:45 pm EDT

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Ticker) - South Carolina used to be a pushover for Tennessee. It took Steve Spurrier only a year to come in and change things around.

Spurrier led the Gamecocks to their first win in Knoxville a year ago and will try to continue his success against Phillip Fulmer on Saturday when they host the eighth-ranked Volunteers in a key Southeastern Conference showdown.

Tennessee (6-1, 2-1 SEC East) leads the series, 19-3-2, and had won 12 straight meetings with South Carolina before the Gamecocks posted a 16-15 victory at Neyland Stadium in their first year under Spurrier.

The win improved Spurrier to 10-5 against Tennessee all-time. The "Ol' Ball Coach" is 8-2 in his last 10 games against the Volunteers.

South Carolina (5-2, 3-2 East) is coming off a 31-13 victory over Vanderbilt and is beginning a brutal stretch of games that will define its season.

After the Volunteers come to town, the Gamecocks host No. 13 Arkansas - the lone unbeaten team in SEC play - and travel to No. 9 Florida in a game certain to have plenty of hype surrounding it as Spurrier returns to "The Swamp" for the first time. A game with in-state rival and 10th-ranked Clemson also looms on the schedule.

The Volunteers have won four straight since a 21-20 loss to the Gators on September 16 and are coming off a hard-fought 16-13 victory over Alabama. Erik Ainge shook off three interceptions to lead Tennessee on the go-ahead drive, which Arian Foster capped with a one-yard run with 3:28 to play.

Tennessee will be without running back LaMarcus Coker, who will miss at least three weeks with a knee injury. Coker, who started the last three games for the Volunteers, was hurt Saturday during a kickoff return in the fourth quarter against the Crimson Tide.

Adding another twist to the matchup is that Spurrier and Fulmer are tied for ninth on the SEC all-time wins list at 134. Saturday's winner will move two victories behind former LSU coach Charlie McLendon.

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