COLUMBIA, S.C. — Former Jefferson standout Stephen Garcia will make his first start at quarterback for South Carolina on Saturday against LSU.
The redshirt freshman said Tuesday the Gamecocks (5-2, 2-2) are ready to step back into the SEC title chase.
South Carolina lost its first two conference games, against Vanderbilt and Georgia. Victories the past two weeks at Mississippi and Kentucky put the Gamecocks back in the race.
Garcia said South Carolina can take a huge step by beating the defending national champion Tigers. He says the offense is improving, as is his knowledge of Steve Spurrier's attack. Garcia came off the bench to rally South Carolina against the Wildcats last week, earning the starting job from Chris Smelley.
AUBURN: Coach Tommy Tuberville expects Kodi Burns to start at quarterback for the rest of the season. The current competition is for backup, between freshman Barrett Trotter and sophomore Neil Caudle. Former starter Chris Todd is resting his throwing shoulder during an open date. Trotter agreed to give up his redshirt if needed.
CLEMSON: New interim coach Dabo Swinney fired offensive coordinator Rob Spence and said he will handle that job. The sputtering offense caused much of the criticism that led former coach Tommy Bowden to step down Monday.
OHIO STATE: Coach Jim Tressel reiterated that freshman Terrelle Pryor is the best quarterback to lead the Buckeyes, but tight end Jake Ballard said the struggling offense would benefit from former starter Todd Boeckman sharing the job with Pryor. "The senior leadership that Todd brings to the table and just how he commands the huddle would definitely help us out," Ballard said. Ohio State, which plays at Michigan State on Saturday, is last in the Big Ten in passing and next to last in total offense. Also, junior defensive end Lawrence Wilson will have surgery for torn ligaments in his left knee and will miss the rest of the season. Wilson, who missed all of last season with a broken right leg will likely be replaced by Rob Rose.
TOLEDO: Two players arrested outside a bar hours after the Rockets beat Michigan on Saturday will not start this weekend against Northern Illinois. Receiver Nick Moore, who caught 20 passes for 162 yards against the Wolverines, was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, and defensive end Albertson Alexandre was charged with obstructing official business, a misdemeanor.
USC WOMEN: Trojans guard Jacki Gemelos suffered another season-ending knee injury, depriving one of the country's top recruits coming out of high school of a third straight season. Gemelos injured her left knee during a workout Monday, suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus tear. Previously, she tore the ACL in her right knee twice. Gemelos was considered the nation's No. 1 player coming out of high school as a senior at St. Mary's High School in Stockton, Calif.
LOUISVILLE: Forward Terrence Williams suffered a medial meniscus tear in his right knee in a pickup game and will be out for four to six weeks. He will have surgery in the next few days. Coach Rick Pitino said he was relieved Williams didn't tear the anterior cruciate ligament and will only be out a short period.
Graduation rates up
College athletes are earning degrees at record rates, according to a new NCAA report, and at higher percentages than the overall student body.
Of all student-athletes who entered school in fall 2001, 79 percent have graduated and 78 percent of those who entered college between 1998 and 2001 earned degrees within six years. Both are one-point increases over last year's report and all-time highs.
Men's basketball, football and baseball players continue to lag behind other athletes.