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August 30, 2013

Extra points: Overflow

A look at some notes and tidbits surrounding Thursday's USC-North Carolina game that took place -- mostly -- away from the playing field.

Media overflow USC's media relations department has been busy. The department issued a whopping 483 media credentials for Thursday night's highly-anticipated season opener, according to Associate Media Relations Director Diana Koval. It was the most media requests Koval has seen for any game in her six years working at USC, so much so that she couldn't come up with a ballpark estimate of the number of applicants - though it appeared there were plenty - who were denied credentials.

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Needless to say, the pressbox was packed. Like - tuck in your elbows, cram all of your belongings under your chair, and don't even think about stretching out - packed. Representatives from the ACC, SEC and NCAA were present, as were a number of newspapers and online media outlets from both North Carolina and South Carolina. Other notables were ESPN.com, Grantland.com, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Fox Sports 1, Sporting News, CBSSports.com, you name it. Even the recently launched Al-Jareeza America, a "new American news channel that reports unbiased, fact-based and in-depth journalism that gets you closer to the people at the heart of the news" made it out to Williams-Brice to catch a glimpse of Clowney and co.

Garnet alert. Former Gamecock running back Kenny Miles was on the sidelines supporting his old teammates Thursday night.

Packed house. It wasn't just the press box that was packed. An sellout crowd of 81,582 fans made it out to Williams-Brice, filling nearly every nook and cranny of the stadium with either garnet or powder blue.

Musical numbers. The amount of jersey changes from the end of the 2012 regular season to the Outback Bowl proved just how fickle college football players can be regarding their jersey numbers. The trend continued for the start of the 2013 season, as quite a few players trotted out with new digits.

Notables were Damiere Byrd (1), Jody Fuller (19), Nick Jones (3), Darius English (5), Kaiwan Lewis (8), Kelvin Rainey (16) and Kwinton Smith (82). Also making switches were Austin Hails (15), Mohamed Camara (31), Larenz Bryant (32), Matthew Harvey (84), Jamari Smith (3), and Pharoh Cooper, who moved from 3 to 11 to 13 during fall camp, then wore the 11 jersey Thursday night.

Gamecocks strut. As part of Gamecock Club Appreciation Day, players and coaches from all of USC's varsity athletic teams participated in the Gamecock Walk, strolling down The Garnet Way in the newly-named Gamecock Park towards the stadium. The football team would follow the rest of the pack.

Gamecock Club Appreciation Day also featured a performance by singer-songwriter Patrick Davis at the Gamecock Amphitheater in Gamecock Park. Davis and USC's athletic department worked together to release "The Gamecock Album" earlier this fall.

All-garnet everything. South Carolina went with all-garnet uniforms for the Battle of the Carolinas, perhaps hoping to re-conjure the same magic that helped them go undefeated in those unis in 2012 and beat Clemson and Nebraska in them the year before.

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