Spurrier: All about the run game

Georgia fans who haven't endured quite enough suffering this season may want to check out Friday's Chick-fil-A Bowl.

They can watch South Carolina and Florida State and rest in the knowledge that Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore's trampling of the Bulldogs set up his team's run to the SEC East title.

Asked this week when he knew his team would be such a run-heavy operation, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier didn't miss a chance to tweak Bulldog Nation.

"Probably the Georgia game," he said, "when we started handing off to Marcus over and over again and found out he could break tackles and run it up in there for about eight yards, it seemed like, most times."

In his second college game, Lattimore hammered Georgia for 182 rushing yards and two scores in South Carolina's 17-6 win in Columbia. The Gamecocks have gone on to become, by far, the most run-oriented team in Spurrier's 21 years as a college head coach.

The man whom FSU coach Jimbo Fisher credited Thursday with changing the SEC with his wide-open Fun n' Gun offense has run on 58.1 percent of the Gamecocks' 843 offensive plays this season. In his previous 20 seasons, Spurrier teams had more runs than passes just four times. Before this season, the highest run percentage was 51.8 percent. That was Spurrier's 1996 national title team, which ran more to control big leads than to score. That Gators team won eight games by 30 or more points, scoring 42 touchdowns in the air and 25 on the ground.

This year's Gamecocks likely will become the first Spurrier team to score more rushing touchdowns than passing, with a 25-22 balance entering Friday's game.

"We're better off if we get a chance to run it 40 or 50 times and throw it 25, 30 times," said Spurrier, speaking words that almost sounded apocryphal coming out of his mouth. "That's what our team is best built to do."

Georgia fans, certainly, would acknowledge as much.