This should be a scary game for Florida State. Saturday afternoon at South Carolina's Williams-Brice Stadium, more than 72,400 fans will be screaming for vengeance _ for a 59-0 FSU victory there in 1988 and last year's 35-10 triumph in Tallahassee. Knowing that should make FSU a little leery, but after playing at Miami and Auburn, no stadium could be any more intimidating for the Seminoles. And after what's happened to the Gamecocks in the past few weeks, they hardly appear to be an intimidating team.
First, South Carolina (4-3) lost to The Citadel, a Division I-AA school, 38-35 at home. Last week, the Gamecocks lost to North Carolina State 38-29 and suffered several injuries in the process, including a knee injury to linebacker Joe Reaves, who is questionable.
The Gamecocks had the nation's 10th-ranked defense entering the N.C. State game but now find themselves struggling.
"We're not very confident right now defensively," said coach Sparky Woods. "It's hard for me to understand why we can't put people on the ground. Our plan is to get back to the basics, simplify what we're doing, play more people. We're a defense being controlled by momentum. We've got to be a defense that controls momentum."
Woods said a big play or drive by an opposing team has tended to make his team play worse instead of making it work harder. Conversely, when the Gamecocks are playing well, they can't seem to get momentum on their side.
Offensively, the Gamecocks also are searching for answers.
"We're going to go back to being more of a running team," Woods said. "We've got to be able to run the football against Florida State. But after Saturday, I'm not sure if we can run or not. Our confidence is shaken, but the only thing we can do is work. I wish I could say, "This is the problem, here is the solution.'
Playing the 12th-ranked Seminoles (5-2), knowing their recent success against his team, doesn't make it any easier.
"They're a great team," Woods said. "It's a scheduled team and we have to play them. We're going in with a plan to win. If we're not ready, there's something wrong with our character."
Around the nation
Game in Ireland canceled: A football game planned for Killarney, Ireland, between Ball State and Ohio University has been moved because the promoter asked for an additional $150,000, the Mid-American Conference said Thursday. The Nov. 17 game will be played instead at Ball State as originally scheduled.
The promoter, Sports Marketing Group of Fort Lauderdale, notified the two universities in a letter Monday that it wanted to renegotiate the contract.
Copper Bowl taps Wyoming: Wyoming will be offered a spot in the Copper Bowl to be played on Dec. 31 regardless of how the Cowboys end their season, bowl officials said Thursday.
Al O'Brien, the bowl's sports information director, said officials would extend their invitation to the Cowboys if Wyoming does not win the Western Athletic Conference title and an automatic bid to the Holiday Bowl.
_ Associated Press material was added to this report.