October 29, 2007

Mitchell ready for return to starter's role

Last year, Blake Mitchell waited seven games to regain his starting quarterback job.

This year, it took just five.

After one of the best performances of his career in a relief role in Saturday's night's 27-24 overtime loss to Tennessee, Mitchell was named Sunday by head coach Steve Spurrier as the likely starting quarterback for this Saturday's 8 p.m. (ESPN or ESPN2) contest against Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Mitchell lost his job as starting quarterback to redshirt freshman Chris Smelley after a poor first half against LSU on Sept. 22. He stood on the sidelines for three full games before returning to action in a 17-6 loss to Vanderbilt on Oct. 20.

Mitchell, a fifth-year senior, came off the bench Saturday night to complete 31 of 45 passes for 290 yards and spark USC's rally from a 21-0 halftime deficit. The Gamecocks took a short-lived 24-21 lead with 1:24 left.

"Blake came in and played a beautiful game," Cory Boyd said. "Even being under pressure and being out for a couple of games (he played great). The wide receivers caught the ball."

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