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Looking Back: South Carolina’s history with hurricane-impacted games

The weather ain’t always friendly.

LSU v South Carolina Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

With the matchup of South Carolina vs. South Carolina State being shifted from Saturday to Thursday due to the anticipated impacts from Hurricane Ian, we will look back at South Carolina’s history in hurricane impacted games.

September 23rd, 1989: South Carolina vs Georgia Tech

Hurricane Hugo is probably the most devastating hurricane to strike the state of South Carolina in the last century. Hugo made landfall on Thursday night, September 21st and the Gamecocks would actually play Georgia Tech less than 48 hours later in Columbia. Georgia Tech stayed in Columbia on Friday night in a hotel that had no air conditioning and no electricity due to the power being out all over the midlands. Bobby Dodd said that the team had to have team meetings by emergency lighting according to an interview with the AJC in 2020. It was also Sparky Woods’ first season as South Carolina head coach. South Carolina came out and improved their record on the season to 2-1-1 with a 21-10 victory over the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech would only lose one more game in 1989 and would go undefeated in 1990 on their way to the national championship. Looking back, that was a very impressive victory given all of the circumstances surrounding that game.

September 4th, 1999: South Carolina vs NC State

Lou Holtz’s first game as the head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks was an unforgettable one, mainly because of the weather. Hurricane Dennis made landfall in North Carolina on the day of the game, and the Gamecocks played the Wolfpack in Carter Finley Stadium that night with buckets of rain falling with tropical storm force winds impacting the game. The Gamecocks played hard but fell 10-0 en route to an 0-11 season.

The State Newspaper

September 14th, 2002: South Carolina vs Georgia

The remnants of Tropical Storm Hanna began to move into South Carolina the same day that the Gamecocks were set to take on Georgia in a pivotal SEC matchup on CBS at 3:30. The game kicked off with dark skies looming over the south end zone and after Georgia took an early 3-0 lead, the game was halted due to lightning in the area. The game resumed with periods of heavy rain impacting the game. Carolina had their chances to win but a late fumble on the goal line would be the difference as the Bulldogs survived with a 13-7 win in Columbia.

October 10th, 2015: South Carolina vs. LSU

While the Gamecocks were in Missouri losing 24-10 to the Tigers the previous week, the state of South Carolina was experiencing a historical and devastating flooding event thanks to a tropical system off the South Carolina coast. Columbia was not able to designate the necessary resources for Williams Brice to be able to host the LSU game the next week so the Tigers would host the game in Baton Rouge. The LSU band would play the Carolina fight song and alma mater, Sandstorm would play in Death Valley, and South Carolina flags were flown in the stadium as well as donations taken up for the relief efforts back home. The on-field Tigers were not very welcoming guests as they ran away with a 45-24 victory over the Gamecocks. That would be Steve Spurrier’s final game as the head coach of the Gamecocks. Spurrier abruptly retired from his position the following week in his 11th season as Carolina head coach.

October 9th, 2016: South Carolina vs. Georgia

Hurricane Matthew made its way up the Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina coastline beginning on Friday October 7th, 2016. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs were scheduled for a primetime kickoff the following night but the decision was made to delay the game until Sunday due to the anticipated impacts from Hurricane Matthew. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs would battle in Williams Brice Stadium on the SEC Network and share the spotlight with the NFL. The Bulldogs would pull away late to win 28-14 in Will Muschamp’s first season as head coach of the Gamecocks.

The State Newspaper

December 1st, 2018: South Carolina vs. Akron

Hurricane Florence was projected to impact South Carolina on September 15th, the date of the originally scheduled matchup against Marshall that would be played in Columbia. The game was canceled and the Gamecocks had to find another opponent since there were no mutual bye weeks for Marshall and South Carolina to reschedule. The Gamecocks scheduled Akron for the week after the Clemson game in 2018 on December 1st, which was also the same day as the rematch of Georgia vs. Alabama in the SEC Championship. Carolina easily defeated Akron 28-3 in Columbia.