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September 15, 2013

Extra points

A look at some news, notes and tidbits -- mostly away from the playing field -- from Saturday's USC-Vanderbilt game.

Packed house. South Carolina announced a sellout crowd of 81,371 Saturday night. The game was USC's fourth-announced sellout, as the program also sold out the North Carolina, Florida (Nov. 16) and Clemson (Nov. 30) games. This season is the first since 2008 that South Carolina has sold out at least four home games.

Change of style. South Carolina broke away from the all-garnet uniforms at home for the first time since Nov. 17, 2012 against Wofford. The players instead wore the white helmet, white pants and garnet jersey look that they went 3-0 in last season. The Gamecocks wore the "Big Game Garnet" in five of their last six home games in 2012, counting the Outback Bowl.

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The League. NFL scouts from the Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals were in attendance. The Titans scout told one observer he came to look at Ronald Patrick, Jimmy Legree, Chaz Sutton and "some of the underclassmen," and said he was impressed with running back Mike Davis.

Remembering coach Giese. A moment of silence was held for former South Carolina head football coach Warren Giese before the game Saturday night. Giese passed away Thursday. He was 89. Giese, who coached the Gamecocks from 1956 to 1960, led the team to a 28-21-1 record - the eighth-best mark in school history. He also served in the Navy and was elected to the South Carolina Senate.

Hall of Famer. South Carolina women's basketball coach and now Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Dawn Staley was honored Saturday night at halftime. USC played a video presentation commemorating Staley's achievements over the big screen; it featured a few highlights of Staley's career and personal messages congratulating her from head football coach Steve Spurrier and USC President Harris Pastides. One of just 27 women to be inducted to the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., Staley has compiled a 92-66 record in five seasons as South Carolina's head coach. Staley is coming off leading the team to back-to-back 25-win seasons.

Fighting for a cure. South Carolina and Vanderbilt partnered with Curing Kids Cancer, a nonprofit, to raise awareness that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Both team's players wore "Coaches Curing Kids Cancer" stickers on the backs of their helmets, and "Players Curing Kids Cancer" wristbands were given to South Carolina players, coaches and staff. The game kicked off Curing Kids Cancer's "Blowing the Whistle on Kids Cancer" campaign this season.

Respect the kicks. USC's undefeated women's soccer team was honored during the a break in action in the first quarter. The team is 6-0-1 on the season, and its next game is against ECU at 1 p.m. in Stone Stadium Sunday. Admission will be free to anyone who brings his or her Vanderbilt football ticket.

Bringing home the hardware. South Carolina's SEC Champion equestrian team was also honored during the first quarter.

Going bowling. Four bowl representatives were in attendance for Saturday night's game. Florida Citrus Sports and the Gator Bowl Association sent two reps apiece.

Switcheroo. Backup left tackle Mason Zandi started at tight end and wore the No. 83 jersey.

Captains. USC's captains for the game were Nick Jones, Jadeveon Clowney, Rory Anderson and Kadetrix Marcus.

Like he never left. Plagued by injuries for the past two weeks, Victor Hampton got the start at cornerback against Vanderbil and saw time returning punts. Apparently, he used the time away to refine his trash talk too, as he was in Commodore receivers' ears from the start.

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