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Spurrier: Garcia is outplayed, demoted

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said last year's backup, Connor Shaw, has outplayed Stephen Garcia and will start Saturday's opener against East Carolina.

Garcia, a fifth-year senior from Jefferson High, had started the past 28 games and was the SEC's leader among returning quarterbacks in passing yards.

Spurrier said Garcia will play the second quarter, then he will decide who will come out for the second half.

Spurrier had opened up the quarterback competition at the start of camp, saying it was not because of Garcia's off-field issues but because Garcia struggled at the end of last season in the SEC title game against Auburn and in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Florida State.

"The guy who rated the best was Connor Shaw. He played better than Stephen Garcia. Simple as that," Spurrier said.

Spurrier said Garcia will have plenty of chances to start this season if he earns it.

"There's a fallacy in football that your starting quarterback has to play the whole way the whole season," Spurrier said. "It's not true. You play your best players all the time."

Big 12 update: The Salt Lake Tribune reported that BYU has talked with the Big 12 during the past week about what would be involved in joining the conference. The Cougars are a football independent after leaving the Mountain West last year.

Also, Texas A&M, which plans to leave the conference by next year, could have been a partner with Texas in a lucrative TV network but wasn't interested when the idea was hatched four years ago, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said. Dodds said Aggies AD Bill Byrne tried to re-open discussions about a year ago, but it was too late.

More buckeyes suspended: Ohio State reported that running back Jordan Hall and defensive back Corey Brown, both starters, and backup safety Travis Howard each received impermissible benefits of $300 or less this year — after several players were suspended for accepting cash and free tattoos from the subject of a federal drug-trafficking probe. All three have been suspended for Saturday's opener against Akron.

Northwestern: Quarterback Dan Persa, still recovering from last season's ruptured Achilles' tendon, is questionable for Saturday's opener at Boston College. Kain Colter is the backup.

Oklahoma: Starting defensive end Ronnell Lewis was cleared to play this season. His academic status had been unclear.

Tennessee: The Vols reportedly offered their athletic director's job to Alabama assistant athletic director Dave Hart, FSU's athletic director from 1995 to 2007. Mike Hamilton quit in June. Alabama said there is no time frame for a decision.

USC: Secondary coach Willie Mack Garza stepped down, citing personal reasons. The school declined to comment on reports that the departure was linked to the USC's discovery that Garza once had a relationship with Willie Lyles, the scouting service owner and street agent tied to an NCAA probe at Oregon and LSU.

Addazio wins debut

Temple 42, villanova 7: Former Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio won his Owls coaching debut. Addazio, criticized by Gator fans last season when the offense sputtered, had Bernard Pierce rush for 147 yards and three touchdowns in Philadelphia. "I told the team, I had to apologize, I was like a lunatic out there," Addazio said.

Big East

rutgers 48, N.C. CENTRAL 0: Freshman Savon Huggins ran for two touchdowns and the host Scarlet Knights broke the game open in a 45-second span of the third quarter with a fumble recovery in the end zone and a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown. Eric LeGrand, who last season was paralyzed during a Rutgers game, made his debut as a radio analyst for the Rutgers Football Network.

Syracuse 36, Wake Forest 29, OT: Van Chew made a diving 4-yard touchdown catch at the goal line on the first series of overtime for the host Orange. The Demon Deacons got the ball one last time, but the Syracuse defense held for one of the few times and forced a fourth-down incompletion from the 19.

LOUISVILLE 21, Murray St. 9: Will Stein threw for two touchdowns and 226 yards for the host Cardinals.

ACC

ga. tech 63, w. carolina 21: Orwin Smith scored two of the host Yellow Jackets' four first-quarter touchdowns, Stephen Hill caught two touchdown passes and Georgia Tech gained 662 yards in its most productive game since 2000.

SEC

No. 20 Miss. St. 59, memphis 14: Vick Ballard rushed for 166 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulldogs had a school-record 645 yards and their most road points since 1936. Mississippi State suspended five players for the opener, citing violations of team rules: starting defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, third-string quarterback Dylan Favre (nephew of Brett), offensive tackle Blaine Clausell, linebacker Chris Hughes and receiver Malcolm Johnson.

Top 25

No. 11 Wis. 51, UNLV 17: Russell Wilson, a transfer from N.C. State, threw two touchdown passes and ran for another in his debut for the Badgers, who overwhelmed the undersized visiting Rebels in the hottest game in the 94-year history of Camp Randall Stadium.

State

Florida International 41, North Texas 16: T.Y. Hilton gained 283 all-purpose yards for the host Panthers.

Spurrier: Garcia is outplayed, demoted 09/02/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 2, 2011 1:20am]
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