Two weeks ago head coach Steve Spurrier and South Carolina rang up their third consecutive win over Georgia for the first time in their history. Today, they attempt the same feat against Florida. Next week, it’s Tennessee that will try to avoid a third consecutive loss to the Gamecocks. And Clemson is already there, dropping games in 2009, 2010 and 2011 to South Carolina.
The ol’ ball coach has turned things around on each of South Carolina’s rivals, especially since players like former WR Alshon Jeffrey, current RB Marcus Lattimore and DE Jadeveon Clowney have decided to stay home and play for the Gamecocks.
Lattimore had 212 yards rushing and three touchdowns as a freshman in 2010 against Florida in Gainesville as South Carolina clinched its first SEC East title, defeating the Gators 36-14. A Gatorade shower followed for Spurrier and he was carried off the field that he coined as “The Swamp” as Florida’s head coach on his players’ shoulders.
There goes Marcus. (Courtesy: Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images)
Florida senior safety Josh Evans was quoted this week as saying, “That’s a feeling you’ll never forget. It’s definitely revenge, man.”
Today’s game marks the first time in 33 meetings that both teams are in the top 10, a similar storyline to the South Carolina-Georgia game two weeks ago.
A Gamecock win today would be South Carolina’s biggest road win in its history. In 1981, they beat #3 North Carolina and the dominant Lawrence Taylor in Chapel Hill 31-13. If they beat #2 Florida today, it will be another “first” or “best” for the Gamecocks.
They’re getting used to that in Columbia.
I like Les. I really do. And of course, sometimes you can win and still be a dummy. — Steve Spurrier
He’s one of those guys you enjoy seeing at the SEC meetings. — Les Miles
Enjoy more here: Steve Spurrier, Les Miles will be part of the show
South Carolina’s George Rogers captured the 1980 Heisman Trophy.
The Georgia-South Carolina football series was moved back to October this year for the first time since South Carolina joined the SEC in 1992 to accommodate newcomers Missouri and Texas A&M. Typically, the two programs squared off in early September as conference foes or in late September before the Gamecocks’ entry into the conference.
The game hasn’t been played this late in the season since 1980 when it was played on Nov. 1, and featured Georgia RB Herschel Walker and South Carolina RB George Rogers, the 1980 Heisman Trophy winner. The 1980 game also held the distinction of the highest combined rankings between the two programs as Georgia was #4 and South Carolina #14.
Georgia’s Herschel Walker posted 219 yards against South Carolina in 1980.
This year’s game takes that mantle as the Bulldogs come in at #5 and the Gamecocks #6.
Who will emerge as the series’ Mr. October tomorrow night?
Missouri visits the other Columbia in conference this Saturday at 3:30 pm EDT. The Tigers own a 2-0 all-time record against South Carolina, defeating the Gamecocks 24-14 in the 1979 Hall of Fame Bowl and 38-31 in the 2005 Independence Bowl.
The most recent matchup saw South Carolina blow a 21-0 first quarter lead in what was the biggest comeback in Independence Bowl history as well as Missouri history. The Tigers were led by QB Brad Smith, now a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, who ended the day with 432 yards of total offense (282 passing yards and 150 rushing yards). Smith held 69 different Missouri, Big 12 and NCAA game, season and career records when he finished his career as a Tiger, starting for four seasons.
The 2005 Independence Bowl team was the first South Carolina team led by Steve Spurrier, finishing 7-5 overall and 5-3 in conference for 2nd place in the SEC East and derailing Florida’s chances of a division championship with a 30-22 November win over the Gators in Columbia, S.C. It was Urban Meyer’s first year at Florida’s helm also.
Highlights from the 2005 Independence Bowl:
Officials miss a pass interference call on 4th down against Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews late. South Carolina wins 17-13. Let the SEC conspiracy theories begin and it’s August. Ugh.
A gritty performance by a banged up Connor Shaw and Marcus Lattimore’s 109 rushing yards and 2 TDs led the 9th-ranked Gamecocks past the Commodores. Shaw showed tremendous toughness fighting through a significant injury on his throwing shoulder.
Vanderbilt was aiming for its first win over a top 10 team since 2007 when it upset the Gamecocks in Columbia, S.C.
A few takeaways:
- Shaw’s a tough, gritty player, but if they keep using him like that, he won’t make it through the season.
- Lattimore lacked confidence and burst off his knee and still ran for 100+ yards. Once he gets his confidence back, he’ll be very good again.
- The Gamecocks will miss Alshon Jeffery stretching out opposing defenses — doesn’t look like there’s a replacement for him.
- Ellis Johnson was a very underrated DC — we’ll be interested to see how they fair without him.
- Vandy had plenty of opportunities, but the game made a change when James Franklin elected to try the 51-yard FG in the second half. His kicker made two earlier tries, but was limited on distance.
- The game squeezed down to a handful of plays afterwards and there was no guarantee Vandy would have scored after the missed pass interference call.
A Thursday night victory over South Carolina in 2008 for the ‘Dores
The head ball coach (yeah, click clack) takes his 9th-ranked Gamecocks into Vanderbilt Stadium to open the 2012 season this Thursday. Awaiting is James Franklin’s Vandy squad and a little bit of history.
The last time a ranked South Carolina football team played on a Thursday night in Nashville was 2008.
They lost to Bobby Johnson’s ‘Dores 24-17.
Spurrier brings a much better Gamecock team to Vanderbilt in two nights. However, an improved team resides in Nashville too.
Let’s all go to Tootsie’s.