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Still, there’s no reason to expect the Gamecocks won’t go with largely the same plan again, especially with Georgia missing inside linebacker Alec Ogletree, a key player in their run-stopping defense. He underwent foot surgery this week and will be out at last a month.

If Lattimore winds up with another 37-carry afternoon, that’s just fine with him. He’s always wanted to be a runner in the mold of George Rogers or Herschel Walker, two Heisman Trophy winners who were willing to run the ball as many times as necessary.

“Those are the guys I look up to,” Lattimore said. “I love watching film on them, because they’re real tough, real powerful. That’s the kind of player I’d like to be like, but I’ve still got a long way to go.”

Stephen Garcia has reclaimed the starting quarterback job for the Gamecocks after coming off the bench last week against East Carolina. He took over for Connor Shaw with South Carolina trailing 17-0 and sparked what turned into a 56-37 romp.

Garcia’s up-and-down career _ which includes five suspensions _ is again on the rise. Heck, he’s even shaved, getting a thumbs-up from his coach.

“We’ve been asking him to shave for five years now. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t. I just think a quarterback should be shaven,” Spurrier said. “Quarterbacks, everybody is looking at them. They need to be sharp, they need to do things right, and Stephen’s made a lot of progress toward that.”

Spurrier is more concerned about Garcia’s play on the field. He’s not likely to throw it a lot against Georgia, but the Gamecocks will take another efficient performance like the one he had last season: 12 of 17 for 165 yards.

“When you play the real games, that’s when it counts, that’s when it counts for everybody,” Spurrier said.

One thing’s for sure: the coach isn’t thinking about the troubles for his Georgia counterpart. Spurrier is focused on bringing South Carolina its first SEC title, and this would be a big step in that direction.

“We had nowhere to go but up,” he said. “And we’ve gone gradually up. We’re not up yet, that’s for sure, but we’re trying to get there.”


AP Sports Writers Charles Odum in Athens, and Pete Iacobelli in Columbia, S.C., contributed to this report.