Ask most college football fans what word they'd use to describe Coach Spurrier's play-calling style and (if you edit out the responses we shouldn't print) they'll likely say, "bold," or, "cocky." Well, the HBC has given us plenty of fuel for that legend over his ten seasons in Columbia. This week we attempt to rank the ten best calls that we've seen Darth Visor pull off. There are plenty of honorable mentions worthy of inclusion, but ten spots is only so large, so, feel free to comment about your thoughts!
10. Josh Brown Ices the Volunteers.
-With 2:45 left in a game that saw the Gamecocks lose a lot of offensive contributors, Blake Mitchell and the boys stalled at the 32-yd line. Enter Josh Brown, the hot-and-cold starting kicker who'd been sharing time with then-freshman Ryan Succop. With a previous career-long of 45-yards, but a 13-for-14 kicking year for Brown, HBC called on the kicker, who fired a shot that eventually led to a 16-15 victory in Neyland Stadium and would mean the first victory ever for the program under the lights in Knoxville.
9. Melvin Ingram Puts the Dawgs in the Kennel.
Words don't express how great Melvin Ingram was during his time at Carolina, but if there was a quintessential moment, this was it. He had a phenomenal game in Athens that day, and at a crucial moment in another classic game against Georgia, Coach Spurrier called a designed-run fake punt shortly before the half that put the ball in Ingram's hands for one of TWO touchdowns that Ingram had that day.
8. Hello, World.
If it weren't for a hot night in September, 2005 against UCF, the Spurrier legend at Carolina might have taken a different course. However, a 49-yard bomb to little-known Noah Whiteside sent the shockwaves through the night air. We got our first happy moment out of the HBC, and we'd never be the same.
This goes here: Welcome to Carolina, Coach.
7. Hail Mary, and Alshon, too.
The Capital One Bowl versus Nebraska was a very strange football game. Both teams had a lot of great plays, but had trouble converting on offensive position and turnovers. The offensive star for the Gamecocks that day was Alshon Jeffrey, who hauled in a lot of catches, especially in the second quarter. With eight minutes to go, Alshon hauled in this incredible 78-yard grab before the Gamecocks fizzled out in the red zone. Then, with seven seconds left in the half, Connor Shaw put a moonball into the air, and Alshon did American Ninja Warrior things to come up with an improbable buzzer-beater touchdown to go into the locker-room up by a field goal.
5. Connor's Triple-Crown.
Connor Shaw did virtually everything in his time as the Quarterback for Carolina. He came close to ACTUALLY doing everything in the 2014 Capital One Bowl. Connor threw some touchdowns, then threw more touchdowns, and then he ran for one. So the HBC figured he'd let him play a little wide receiver, too:
4. Dylan Thompson destroys the
This game will live on as one of the most suspensful, but fun, games that has ever transpired in the long and storied rivalry versus the
Evil Empire Tigers. The game was much closer than the scoreline indicated, and, as the fourth quarter wore on, clinging to a three point lead, the Gamecocks offense was sputtering facing a 3rd & 19 in the middle of the field. Coach Spurrier gave Dylan Thompson a play designed for Connor Shaw. The result was a crucial first down that likely was the reason between four-in-a-row and another sad trip back from Tiger Town.
3. Dylan Thompson saves 2014.
There were roughly seven good offensive plays made between both teams in Gainesville last season. Each team had suffered their own brand of mediocrity and disappointment, and the only thing that stood between salvaging a season for either side was each other. On the verge of a losing season, and down virtually all day in The Swamp, the genius of Steve Spurrier showed up in the form of a zone-read.
2. Fay-Row's Jump Ball.
This play is all things Spurrier: pro-set look out of the huddle, quarterback substitution, and a run play-turned-red-zone-trickeration that puts sugar in your gasoline tank and leaves a taco in your backseat for a month.
1. Connor Shaw exits the phonebooth.
Did I say Connor Shaw did virtually everything while at South Carolina? Well, did I mention anything about playing less than one half of football and somehow, almost single-handedly, beating an undefeated and incredibly talented Missouri team in front of the whole country while held together with Duct tape and Under Armour?
Well, now I have.
This wasn't a play-call, per se, but it was absolutely Coach Spurrier's call to allow Connor to step into the game, and it's clear that HBC's play-calls worked much better with #2Sprainz at the helm. That's what great coaching is: the ability to put pen to paper, and then turn thought into action. That night, those guys were in sync from the minute Connor put on the helmet.
Forever to Thee,