While we have put together a comprehensive list of Spurrier's Top 10 Wins at USC, we wanted to take a closer look at the top five wins on that list. Sitting at #5 was the Connor Shaw led comeback over the Missouri Tigers in 2013. Next up? Sitting at #4 is the victory over Ole Miss on a muggy September night in 2009.
Quick Recap: Ole Miss was the media darling the offseason leading up to the 2009 season. They had the star power. They had a quarterback known for flair and late game dramatics to couple with a shutdown defense. Meanwhile, South Carolina had issues. We thought we had something at quarterback, but the sample size was still too small to know for sure. We had talent on defense, but a Joe Cox-led UGA team gashed us in Athens only a couple weeks prior. We lacked a running game; other than Weslye Saunders we didn't have any established receiving threats (this was pre-breakout Alshon) and were a general underdog against everyone not named Kentucky or Vanderbilt.
Well, as you may remember, Spurrier and company had something to say about that. A raucous crowd of 75,000 (Thursday night game), a smothering defense led by Eric Norwood (!!!!!), Devin Taylor and Emmanuel Cook shut down Jevan Snead, McCluster and the rest of their plethora of offensive weapons. The Gamecock defense actually did more than smother. They shut the Rebels down. Holding Snead to a mere 107 yards passing was a big accomplishment (at the time) and the Garcia led offense did enough to hold on to the W. USC took a 6-3 lead on a Spencer Lanning field goal to close the 1st half and didn't look back. After another field goal and a two-yard Garcia touchdown pass to Patrick DiMarco extended the lead to 16-3, the Gamecocks were able to hold on to clinch a big 16-10 home upset over the #4 team in the country.
Why It's Important: Up until this game, our Gamecocks had been 1-31 all time against top-five opponents. This W was a sort of signal that elite Gamecock football was maybe not so far off. It proved we had a top tier defense to go along with an at least competent offense loaded with very young talent.
Unsung Hero: Spencer Lanning. Without his leg and clutch field goals you can take away nine points from the Gamecocks. We all know Spurrier hates kicking field goals. But those three-pointers were very important that night with the game turning into a defensive slugfest.
Up next: UGA 2012. We all know what happened that night. But we're gonna talk about it again because it's fun as hell.
Bonus Material (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!): This video is of the last two minutes of the game. Ole Miss, down six, is finally starting to gain momentum on our defense. This is when Eric Norwood, Cook, and Gilmore decided to change that idea for them. Oh and Sandstorm became a primary thing at football games. Which is pretty cool if I do say so myself.