national college football

Steve Spurrier, Les Miles will be part of the show

Two of the most colorful leaders, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier (left) and LSU’s Les Miles, will match wits Saturday.
kevin c. cox/getty images (spurrier); bill haber/associated press (miles)
Two of the most colorful leaders, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier (left) and LSU’s Les Miles, will match wits Saturday.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The fireworks between No. 3 South Carolina and No. 9 LSU on Saturday won’t just take place on the field at Columbia, S.C..

Expect a show on the sidelines, too, featuring the Gamecocks’ Steve Spurrier and the Tigers’ Les Miles, two of game’s most colorful leaders.

Count on Spurrier to throw a headset or his visor if things don’t go his way. Miles might be munching on a few blades of grass at LSU’s Death Valley. Their antics aside, both know what it’s like to win it all — something they are again chasing this season.


South Carolina (6-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) is off to its best start since 1984 after a 35-7 win over Georgia. LSU (5-1, 1-1) lost to No. 4 Florida, 14-6, last Saturday, its first regular-season defeat since 2010.

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In an era where more and more coach’s keep their personalities inside the locker room, neither Spurrier or Miles is afraid to ruffle feathers.

The two joined forces on Spurrier’s idea that only games against divisional opponents should count toward who wins the SEC East and West divisions. The proposal fell flat at league meetings. Still, Spurrier appreciated Miles’s backing.

‘‘I like Les,’’ Spurrier said this week. ‘‘I really do.’’

Though that hasn’t kept Spurrier from throwing a few verbal jabs at Miles in the past.


After LSU’s mismanagement of the game clock nearly cost them a loss to Tennessee in 2010, Spurrier spoke about coaches who lose games in the SEC are considered dummies.

‘‘And of course, sometimes you can win and still be a dummy,’’ Spurrier said with a grin, his needle stuck right at Miles.

Then again, Spurrier can’t laugh too loud. He, too, got beat by the Mad Hatter’s tricks on LSU’s fake field goal in 2007, holder Matt Flynn flipping the ball to kicker Colt David for an easy touchdown in the Tigers’ 28-16 victory.

Miles has gotten his digs in as well against South Carolina. In 2008, Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia was stopped cold after running into the referee, a play that gained national attention because it appeared official Wilbur Hackett Jr. put his shoulder into the player.

Miles joked that Hackett needed some coaching. ‘‘He didn’t wrap up,’’ he said.


Miles, 58, doesn’t know the 67-year-old Spurrier too well, but has enjoyed following his career. ‘‘He’s one of those guys you enjoy seeing at the SEC meetings,’’ Miles said.

Spurrier hopes to keep his team on track for another title run this year. The Gamecocks have an FBS-best 10-game win streak.

The Tigers lost for the first time in 18 regular-season games a week ago. Miles promised it would be all business as the Tigers prepared for one of their most difficult tests.

‘‘It’s been a long time since this program has lost a game in the regular season,’’ Miles said.

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West Virginia running back Andrew Buie can’t wait to get more work. Thrust into the starting lineup because of injuries, the sophomore has infused some critically needed balance into the Mountaineers’ offense.

He ran for a career-high 207 yards and scored twice in last Saturday’s 48-45 win at No. 15 Texas — eclipsing his yardage total for all of last season. Buie said he'll be ready to handle the load again when No. 5 West Virginia (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) plays at Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1) on Saturday.

Buie also caught three passes for 66 yards against Texas.

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Rashard Ross returned the second-half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to break open a close game and Taylor Kelly threw three scoring passes to tailback Marion Grice to lift Arizona State (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) to a 51-17 victory over host Colorado (1-5, 1-2) . . . Ja'Terian Douglas had an 81-yard touchdown run and finished with 128 yards on 13 carries to lead host Tulsa (6-1, 4-0 Conference USA) to a 33-11 victory over UTEP (1-6, 0-3) . . . Kawaun Jakes threw three touchdown passes to lift Western Kentucky (5-1, 2-0 Sun Belt) past host Troy (3-3, 2-2), 31-26.