Q&A with Brian Scott

dmclemore@thestate.comSeptember 10, 2010 

USC's Brian Scott pulls down the winning touchdown pass from Phil Petty over Georgia's Bruce Thornton late in the fouth quarter in 2001.

FILE PHOTO

South Carolina has defeated Georgia five times in their last 18 matchups dating back to 1992, the Gamecocks' first in the SEC.

The Lou Holtz-coached teams in 2000 and 2001 had back-to-back wins over the Bulldogs.

Wide receiver Brian Scott was a member of those teams. The 21-10 win over No. 9 Georgia in 2000, on the heels of an 0-11 season, went down as one of the greatest upsets in school history. Then in 2001, Scott caught the game-winner from Phil Petty for a 14-9 win in Athens.

Scott, now 31, coaches football and basketball at Robert E. Lee Academy in Bishopville. He is a graduate of Darlington High School.

Can you believe it’s been 10 years since that win in 2000?

It has been a long time. Feels like I’m getting old now. Those two wins over Georgia in 2000 and ’01, were unbelievable.

How important was the Georgia game when you played at USC?

We took it serious. We knew Georgia was a big rivalry. We knew a lot of kids from South Carolina wanted to go to Georgia. Any time you win, a lot of kids take things a little bit more serious because everybody wants a piece of it. In ’98 and ’99, we’re 1-10 and 0-11, that was pretty tough. But we stuck together and turned it around.

How big was the win in 2000?

It created a lot of momentum. I know when we beat them in 2000, Richard Seymour from Lower Richland, he was talking trash at the beginning. I remember after the game he said they lost to an inferior team, saying that we weren’t supposed to beat them.

On paper they had Quincy Carter, Heisman hopeful, and a team full of players. They came into Columbia thinking we weren’t going to beat them and we took it to them the whole game. I think Quincy threw five interceptions and that ruined his Heisman hopes and he’s never been the same since, even in the NFL. Derek Watson had a big game and that was a real big win for us.

And that got the momentum rolling. It was big. It was fun. That experience was fun. I tell a lot of people I learned more those first two years, 1-10 and 0-11, than those last two with 16 wins over a two-year period.

Talk about the feeling on campus after the win in 2000.

It was crazy. It was so much fun with the student body coming up to you. You’re in the classroom and professors were congratulating you. It was just a good feeling. When you lose, everybody’s talking trash and throwing stones at you. But we stuck together.

Another big thing that helped us turn it around was coach Holtz going to a spread offense. We had the players there that could get the ball out quick and had guys on the perimeter to make plays. That allowed us to show off our talent.

We had some good receivers that were recruited by Brad Scott because he was more of a spread guy. That one year Lou came, we tried to run the ball. Teams just went man and put everybody in the box and we really didn’t have a chance. I think in ’99 we went through seven or eight quarterbacks, from scholarships to walk-ons. So we played everybody. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for nothing. It was fun.

Talk about 2001 and ‘The Catch’

The game was close, going back and forth. It was a night game on ESPN and we had everybody looking at us.

I can remember early in that game I dropped a pass on a corner route that I felt like I should have caught. I was down on myself. But I stayed with it, and later in the game we called timeout and I told coach I wanted the ball. We went to max protect, I was the single receiver, a tight end and three backs in the backfield. Phil Petty called a corner route.

I ran the corner route, got open and Phil threw the ball. It was a little short and I went up and made a play. I was just hoping I was in the end zone because I didn’t want one of those running backs running the ball in and scoring.

Why didn't you want a running back to score?

I wanted that touchdown myself. It just so happened when I caught the ball, I turned around and saw the goal line. I just wondered if I kept my balance enough to get over that line.

I was looking at the referee and I was like, “Please put your hands up. Please put your hands up.” And he put them up, and it was a touchdown, and the Georgia fans were quiet. The only thing you could hear were Gamecock fans screaming and yelling. And everybody was coming and jumping on me in the end zone.

When people meet you these days, is that the play they remember about Brian Scott?

That’s it, that one play. I hear about that catch all the time from fans. That’s one of the first things that come up once they hear, “That’s Brian Scott.” Once they find out who I am, it’s “The Catch,” and I say, “Yes sir, that was one of my best catches ever.”

This week I’ve got that picture up on my Facebook and I’ve got comments like “Good catch,” “Great catch” or “Great Scott.” Hopefully it won’t come down to that this week. Hopefully Alshon [Jeffery] and those guys will make good catches like that during the game. I hope the game isn’t close.

Got a prediction for the game?

We’re going to win. I’m looking at it like 34-17, but I still don’t think our defense will give up that many points. I think the guys looked good against Southern Miss. If we’re going to show what we’re made of, it’ll be this week against them Bulldogs.

Where do the back-to-back wins over Georgia rank in your USC memories?

They’re right up near the top. Beating Georgia, a highly ranked team. That’s big. I wish I could’ve experienced wins against Tennessee and Florida. We had them on the ropes both of those years and we let them off. I did beat Clemson once, my senior year. And we had them on the ropes every year, too.

But Georgia was two big wins. I can say I beat them twice. That’s what you’re shooting for. You want to go 2-2 or better. I can deal with 2-2.

This week I’ve got some Georgia friends who talk trash. But they already know what they’ve got coming to them on Saturday.

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