Steve Spurrier’s best wins with the Gamecocks

jkendall@thestate.comJune 29, 2014 

With Steve Spurrier heading into his 10th season at South Carolina, Josh Kendall takes a look back at the Head Ball Coach's 10 top wins with the Gamecocks.

10. GEORGIA, SEPT. 10, 2011

South Carolina’s 45-42 victory against the Bulldogs in Sanford Stadium was the most entertaining 60 minutes of football in Spurrier’s tenure. Eight lead changes, 831 yards of offense, a 68-yard fake punt touchdown run by defensive lineman Melvin Ingram and another big day for Marcus Lattimore against the Bulldogs (176 yards). Jadeveon Clowney forced the game-clinching fumble with a strip sack in his second career game.

9. MICHIGAN, JAN. 1, 2013

It gave us “The Hit” and spawned the Summer of Clowney, after Jadeveon Clowney de-hatted Wolverines running back Vincent Smith, causing and recovering a game-changing fumble in a 33-28 victory against Michigan. The game forever will be remembered for Clowney’s fourth-quarter play, but a game that featured four lead changes in the final 15:02 had more than that. For instance: a game-winning, 32-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Dylan Thompson with 11 seconds remaining.

8. GEORGIA, SEPT. 9, 2007

It took Spurrier three tries at South Carolina, but he finally bedeviled the Bulldogs again, upsetting No. 11 Georgia, 16-12. It was the highest- ranked team the Gamecocks had beaten on the road at the time. “It wasn’t a shocker, we thought we would win this game,” Spurrier said afterward. “We are two evenly matched teams.” It was South Carolina’s first win against Georgia since 2001 and the first time since that game Georgia did not score a touchdown. Ryan Succop kicked three field goals, and Kenny McKinley led the Gamecocks with seven catches for 102 yards.

7. OLE MISS, SEPT. 24, 2009

In 2009, beating a top-five team was a novel concept in Columbia. The Gamecocks hadn’t done it in their past 22 tries when No. 4 Ole Miss came to town. Spencer Lanning kicked three field goals, and the Rebels gained 248 yards. “Our defense was sensational,” Spurrier said. It was the second win all-time for South Carolina over a top-five team, and the first ever loss for a top-five visitor to Williams-Brice. Eric Norwood had two sacks to set the school’s career record at the time with 28.

6. GEORGIA, OCT. 6, 2012

ESPN’s GameDay was in town to see No. 6 South Carolina host No. 5 Georgia, every college football fan in the nation was watching, and the Gamecocks responded with perhaps the most dominant performance of the Spurrier era, blowing out the Bulldogs 35-7. The Gamecocks led 21-0 after one quarter and were up 35-0 before Georgia managed to score. “Obviously, this was a special one, there’s no question about it, beating Georgia for our 10th in a row and beating three years in a row a school that used to own you. They can’t say they own us anymore, that’s for sure.”

5. MISSOURI, OCT. 26, 2013

With an injured (knee) and ill (flu-like symptoms) Connor Shaw on the bench for the first three quarters, the Gamecocks fell behind 17-0. Shaw hobbled off the bench to complete 20-of-29 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, and a 40-yard Elliott Fry field goal in the second overtime proved the difference in a 27-24 win against No. 5 Missouri. “It was a game I thought we were dead,” Spurrier said. “It just worked out tonight. That’s all you can say, it was meant to be.”

4. CLEMSON, NOV. 24, 2012

Spurrier announced before kickoff that starting quarterback Connor Shaw would be unable to play because of an injury, leaving sophomore Dylan Thompson to make his second career start in Death Valley against the No. 12 Tigers. Thompson responded by completing 23-of-41 passes for 310 yards, while Jadeveon Clowney sacked Tajh Boyd a Memorial Stadium-record 4.5 times as the No. 13 Gamecocks won, 27-17. The win made Spurrier the winningest coach in school history with 65 victories.

3. TENNESSEE, OCT. 29, 2005

Every new coach, even Spurrier, needs a big early win to get everyone on board with the new program. For the Gamecocks, it was the eighth game of Spurrier’s tenure and a 16-15 win against Tennessee in Knoxville. The Gamecocks’ first win in Neyland Stadium was sealed by a 49-yard Josh Brown field goal with 2:45 remaining. “We thought we had a chance to make history if the ball bounced our way, and it did,” Spurrier said. Two weeks later, he would beat Florida (30-22) in his first matchup against the school where he won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship.

2. ALABAMA, OCT. 9, 2010

The Crimson Tide entered Williams-Brice Stadium ranked No. 1 and on a 19-game winning streak, but they left with a 35-21 defeat in what probably was the best game of Stephen Garcia’s South Carolina career. In the Gamecocks’ first win against a No. 1 team, Garcia was 17-of-20 for 201 yards and one interception and rushed for a critical fourth-down conversion late in the game. “I said ‘Fellas, if fate means for us to win this game Saturday, then lets give it a chance. Let’s give fate a chance to happen,’ ” Spurrier said after the game.

1. FLORIDA, NOV. 13, 2010

The Gamecocks gave up a 99-yard kickoff return to Florida’s Andre Debose on the first play and then pummeled the Gators, 36-14. Then-freshman running back Marcus Lattimore carried the ball 40 times for a career-high 212 yards as South Carolina clinched its only SEC East title. It was the second time the Gamecocks won in Gainesville and the first time in 13 tries. The Gators had won 16 straight division games but were outgained 395-226.

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