Updated: Gamecocks finish off throttling of UGA

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UPDATED 10:26 p.m. ET: Apparently, the SEC East has come down to a two-horse race.  And an Oct. 20 showdown in Gainesville.

Earlier today, No. 10 Florida easily handled No. 4 LSU — at least defensively — to remain perfect at 5-0 on the season.  A few hours later, No. 6 South Carolina did the same to No. 5 Georgia, only much more impressively.

Leading 21-0 at the half, the Gamecocks were never threatened the rest of the way as USC came away with a dominating 35-7 home win over the Bulldogs to remain tied with UF atop the East standings at 4-0.  And, in every way, shape and form, USC took UGA to the proverbial woodshed.

The Gamecocks totaled nearly 400 yards of total offense, while defensively they held the Bulldogs to no points and under 150 yards prior to a meaningless 75-yard drive late in the fourth quarter that netted UGA its only points of the game.

There is still work to be done, especially for USC, prior to the late October match-up that could very well decide the East’s representative in the SEC championship.  The Gamecocks will travel to Baton Rouge to face a Tigers squad that will no doubt be champing at the bit to shake off their first loss of the season, while the Gators head to Vanderbilt to face a Commodores team that pulled off a road upset over Missouri Saturday night.

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The hype was at a fever pitch in Columbia, South Carolina, with the No. 6 Gamecocks hosting the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs in a game rife with SEC East and BcS ramifications.  GameDay was there, and the trek to the stadium took upwards of a couple of hours to navigate just a few miles, so packed the area was.

And then the hosts had to go and ruin the party, albeit in a good way for the locals.

With just a little more than a quarter of play in the books, USC is taking it to their guests, carving up the Bulldogs to the tune of 21-0.  And said carving is being accomplished in literally every phase of the game.  To wit:

— Offensively: the Gamecocks had rolled up nearly 200 yards of offense (185) with just over 14 minutes left in the second quarter, with 10 first downs and no punts.

— Defensively: conversely, the USC defense had allowed just 39 yards of UGA offense through the same time frame.

— Special teams: Ace Sanders raced 70 yards for a punt return touchdown that put the ‘Cocks up 21-0.

Certainly there’s a lot of time left for UGA to mount a comeback, but it’s certainly looking early on like USC is the cock of the SEC East walk.

Clemson transfer Scott Pagano progressing from foot surgery, but might miss Oregon’s opener

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There was good news and potentially not-so-good news on the Scott Pagano front Thursday for Oregon.

A transfer from Clemson this offseason, Pagano suffered a broken bone in his foot in the Tigers’ mid-November win over Pitt that forced him to miss the remainder of the regular season.  After moving on to the Ducks as a graduate transfer in mid-April, UO’s medical staff decided he needed to undergo surgery to repair the damage in his foot.

First-year head coach Willie Taggart Thursday declared the defensive lineman ahead of schedule in his recovery from the medical procedure, but didn’t guarantee he’d be on the field for the 2017 opener.

“Something he had that he needed to be corrected,” Taggart said of the surgery according to oregonlive.com. “He’s ahead of schedule right now. I don’t like putting certain weeks on guys because everybody heals differently.

“He’s one of those kids that has been rehabbing his tail off and is itching to get back out there. He’s ahead of schedule right now. Hopefully he’s there for the Southern Utah game.”

Coming out of high school in Hawaii as a four-star 2013 recruit, Pagano was rated as the No. 24 tackle in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state. He started 13 games the past two seasons, four of which came in 2016.

Before opting for UO, Pagano had taken an official visit to Oklahoma as he had whittled his to-do list down to those two. Arkansas, Notre Dame and Texas were also among the lineman’s five allotted official visits in his second round of collegiate recruiting.

CB Ryan Mayes no longer part of Miami football team

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There’s been a slight tweak to Miami’s defensive secondary ahead of the start of summer camp.

In a press release that consisted all of two sentences, the Hurricanes announced that Ryan Mayes is no longer a member of Mark Richt’s football program.  No reason was given for the separation, nor is it known whether the move was voluntary or involuntary.

A three-star member of The U’s 2014 recruiting class, Mayes was rated as the No. 48 cornerback in the country and the No. 92 player at any position in the state of Florida.  He held offers from, among others, Boston College and Syracuse.

As a true freshman, Mayes played in three games, then saw action in just one game the following season as he took a redshirt.  In 2016, the defensive back played in 11 games, mainly on special teams.

Prior to his departure, the redshirt junior was expected to fill a reserve role in the Hurricanes’ secondary.

Kyle Whittingham confirms Darren Carrington is at Utah, not yet a Ute

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Former Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington‘s father confirmed his son of the same name was headed to Utah on Wednesday, and the head coach of the team in question has now double confirmed it.

But just because Carrington is at the University of Utah does not make him a Ute. Not yet.

Speaking at Pac-12 media days, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said Carrington is in school but has hurdles to clear to join the team.

“Not just yet. There’s a process that has to occur, some things that have to transpire and we’ve just got to wait for all that to kind of take place,” Whittingham said, via Deseret News.

It’s not sure what “things” have to transpire and when that is expected to happen; Whittingham couldn’t be sure Carrington would be with the team when camp opens Friday.

“Right now I don’t have a good answer because everything’s being sorted through right now,” Whittingham said.

Carrington will be immediately eligible to play as a graduate transfer. He caught 43 passes for a team-leading 606 yards and six touchdowns last season. Utah’s leading returning receiver, junior Raelon Singleton, nabbed 27 passes for 464 yards and four scores a year ago.

Clay Helton: O.J. not welcome back at USC

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OJ Simpson is one of the greatest Trojans of all-time. A unanimous two-time All-American, Simpson won the 1968 Heisman Trophy and was a member of USC’s 1967 national championship team.

OJ Simpson will also soon be a free man.

Granted parole from his felony armed robbery conviction last week, Simpson will be free on Oct. 1. The question, then, if you’re a reporter at Pac-12 media days is whether or not USC will welcome back one of its most accomplished — if not favorite — sons.

The answer? Uh, no.

To be clear, Simpson has not indicated he wanted to be part of USC football again. The 70-year-old indicated to the parole board he would return to Florida if granted his freedom.

USC has distanced itself from Simpson ever since his 1994 double-murder trial, but his Heisman Trophy remains on display at Heritage Hall.