- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 12, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier’s not quite sure what his 10th-ranked Gamecocks will do next.

That’s the uncertainty you get when a young team has the biggest win in school history.

Spurrier and his staff have preached that players must put aside the campus buzz over their first win against a top-ranked opponent, 35-21 over Alabama, and focus fully on Kentucky this weekend.

Quarterback Stephen Garcia said Tuesday the Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) have shown a maturity and polish this year they haven’t in the past.

“Doesn’t every team say that?” the 65-year-old Spurrier said. “We’ll find out up there at Kentucky.”

It had been a giddy few days at South Carolina, which had never beaten a No. 1 team before Saturday. Gamecocks flags flew on cars in church parking lots throughout the city Sunday and players were mobbed, safety D.J. Swearinger said, anytime they were out in public.

Spurrier was a top draw, too, getting numerous requests from national TV and radio sports shows to revel in the upset on Monday.

“But if you notice, I didn’t do any of them,” the coach said. “I’ve just watched too many guys when you do all of those, something bad usually happens to you.

“I don’t want to take that chance,” Spurrier said.

Spurrier gave a shout-out to fate for beating Alabama. It didn’t hurt that the Gamecocks got near perfect performances from Garcia, receiver Alshon Jeffery, tailback Marcus Lattimore and a defense that limited Crimson Tide runners Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson to 64 yards and zero touchdowns.

Spurrier is 17-0 all-time against Kentucky, including the past five meetings as South Carolina coach. The Gamecocks, though, have been a lesser team away from Williams-Brice Stadium than in it, losing their past six SEC road games since the last victory in 2008 _ at Kentucky.

None of that, Garcia said, makes any difference against Kentucky. Unless they players show up to practice with a similar fire to improve as they did last week, the Wildcats (3-3, 0-3) could be the ones celebrating an upset.

“That’s the thing that coach Spurrier’s been talking about,” Garcia said. “He said we could easily lose to Kentucky if we’re not focused and we go in there thinking we’re going to beat them.”

The Wildcats hung tough with Auburn last week before falling at the end, 37-34. That should help Kentucky’s resolve going forward, first-year coach Joker Phillips said.

“I think this team definitely has confidence, and they can play with anybody in this league, going toe to toe with the No. 8 team in the country and having a chance to win it,” Phillips said. “Definitely has to help our confidence.”

Over-confidence is what might hurt the Gamecocks if the team’s leaders let it, defensive tackle Travian Robertson said. Forgetting a memorable victory like Alabama is near impossible, Robertson said, but it’s essential to reaching the season-long success South Carolina hoped for this year.

“I think everybody knows that we have to put this behind us,” Robertson said. “If anybody on the field has the big head, we’ll see it because they’ll start slacking. But we’ll see it and we’ll just correct it.”

That wasn’t the case in 2007, the last time Spurrier’s Gamecocks rose into the top 10, peaking at No. 6 with a 6-1 start. They closed by losing their last five games and didn’t reach a bowl game.

Spurrier hopes this group has the makeup for the next step in turning into SEC contenders. He expects to know much more about that after Saturday.

“This is probably one of the biggest games in school history for us, it really is, to see if we can come back from last week and play well,” Spurrier said.

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