While we 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, followed by the emotionally charged upset of the #4 Ole Miss Rebels in 2009. Next up? Sitting at #3 is the absolute demolition of UGA in 2012 by a score of 35-7.
Quick Recap: All of us here remember this game, right? There was star-power all over the field that night. UGA had players such as Aaron Murray, Todd Gurley, Alec Ogletree, Jarvis Jones, and Jordan Jenkins among others. However, USC was no slouch that year either as we boasted a team laden with talent in the form of Marcus Lattimore, Connor Shaw (still very much unappreciated at the time), Ace Sanders, Jadeveon Clowney, Devin Taylor, DJ Swearinger, DeVonte Holloman etc. The list goes on and on. Looking back at the rosters of those two teams I seriously doubt if I, or many other people at the stadium that day, truly realized how much future NFL talent took the field. Both of those teams were absolutely stacked (and if it wasn't for a beatdown a couple weeks later in The Swamp, Carolina could've very well played for the National Championship that year, assuming that we would've beaten 'Bama in the SECCG). Anyways, the stage was set for an all-time classic to go down in Columbia on that October night. Spurrier and Co. would have none of it. Before UGA knew it, USC had put together two crisp TD drives to go up 14-0 and forced UGA into another 3 and out. That's when this happened. For a singular moment in time, the entire college football universe felt shockwaves being sent through their world courtesy of the Garnet and Black. I don't think I've ever heard a stadium so loud when Ace crossed the goalline into the endzone. It was hysteria. It was everything Gamecock fans have yearned for for over 100 years. A rabid fanbase desperate for a champion to believe in (foreshadowing here guys!). UGA had one last gasp of hope. Driving down towards the student section at the end of the 1st half, Aaron Murray and the 'Dawgs looked to chip into the 21 point deficit. Backed up to the 1 yard line without an inch to give, the UGA offense chose to go for a touchdown on 4th and goal. The Carolina defense was having none of that. Willy B erupted once again and the rout was officially on.
Why It's Important: It was a top ten matchup. College Gameday was in town. I'm pretty sure we had never won a top ten matchup at home before (somebody check me on that). And we had a chance to vault ourselves into the national spotlight. To prove to people that we had arrived as a program.
Unsung hero: Connor Shaw. He didn't do anything spectacular. He didn't lead an epic comeback nor did he throw for 300 yards and 5 touchdowns. But he was the steadying, focused hand in this victory. With the madness all around him, he never let his offense lose focus. Hell he only threw 10 passes as he went 6/10 for 162 yards and 2 touchdowns while adding 78 yards and a touchdown on the ground. When people look back on this game they remember the USC defense, Clowney breaking out, Ace's punt return etc. And for good reason. But I think, when looking back, we should remember Connor from this game too.
Up Next: The Gamecock victory over Alabama...and hopefully we'll have a guest contributor!
Bonus Material: If you haven't watched any of Justin King's stuff, you should. You can visit his website here. As a graduate of USC, Mr. King takes great pride in his alma mater. He has become known for his epic videos of Carolina sports. Here is my personal favorite. Take a look and prepare to get some chills.