Continuing with our Ten Seasons of Spurrier theme, I will be taking a closer look at the top 5 wins of the Spurrier era (full top ten list here). In this edition Spurrier's top five wins, I will be looking at the 27-24 double OT victory over Missouri in 2013 and what happened, why it was important etc. Here we go...
Quick Recap: With a sprained left knee, Connor Shaw was not listed to play against Missouri on October 26th, 2013. Instead Dylan Thompson would receive the start. And while Dylan did not necessarily play poorly, the rest of the offense seemed generally disjointed and Dylan struggled at times against an intense Mizzou pass rush. With roughly 6 minutes left in the third quarter and down 17-0, Connor asked Coach Spurrier if he could play. Steve obliged. The rest is history. Shaw led our Gamecocks to 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime. However, Shaw truly vaulted himself into Gamecock lore when he completed a 15 yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington on 4th down to send the game to a second overtime. After Elliot (#FREISMAN) Fry nailed a 40 yard field goal to give Carolina a 27-24 lead, the defense held and forced Missouri to attempt a field goal of its own. As Andrew Baggett, Missouri's kicker, kicked the ball off of the left upright Faurot Field fell silent. The only yelling to be heard was from the small contingent of Carolina fans that made the trip and the team celebrating a huge road victory as they carried their leader off the field.
Why It's Important: Coming off a shocking loss to Tennessee the previous week, Carolina could not afford another defeat. With the win, we pulled to within one game of Missouri in the SEC East standings, maintained our ranked status, and Connor Shaw started to be recognized as part of the college football elite that season.
Unsung Hero(s): The defense and Elliot Fry. Let's start with how Clowney and Company performed. Despite giving up a very long passing touchdown in the 2nd quarter, the defense largely held Missouri at bay while the offense was sputtering and spinning its tires. And once Shaw entered the game, the defense held Missouri to only a touchdown during the last 20-21 minutes of the game and the two overtime periods. Without the defense playing fairly well, Shaw likely doesn't get a reasonable opportunity to lead an historic comeback. Also, let's not forget about everybody's favorite kicker, Elliot Fry. Knocking down big field goals on the road, in a must win situation, as a freshman, takes ice in the veins and a short memory, especially after badly missing a kick early on.
Up next: Next, I'll take more about the Stephen Garcia led victory over Ole Miss in 2009.