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 5 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, checking in at #3 was the absolute demolition of the UGA Bulldogs in 2012, followed by the monumental W over the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide. Finally, coming in at #1 is the win that clinched the SEC East over the Florida Gators in Gainesville, Florida.
Quick Recap: This game, due to the sheer consequences of the result, is probably the most important win in all of Gamecock football history, not just since Steve Spurrier has been here. The game started ominously enough, as Andre DeBose took the opening kickoff to the endzone. Given our past history, it was not exactly the most inspiring of starts. However, slowly but surely, our South Carolina Gamecocks responded. They "weathered the storm" as the announcers in the booth said (anybody remember who called that game?). Under the steadying hands of Steve Spurrier, Stephen Garcia, Marcus Lattimore, and Alshon Jeffery we held a 15-7 lead at the half. By the end of the day, Marcus Lattimore had rushed for over 200 yards on 40 carries, Garcia had hooked up enough with Alshon through the air to keep the Florida defense honest. And we walked out The Swamp, finally, as champions by a final score of 36-14.
Why It Was Important: I honestly don't know why this question is being asked by me. SEC East Champions baby.
Unsung Hero: After getting shredded by an explosive Arkansas offense the previous week, and a perceived lack of effort, feelings were down about the football team from Columbia. We all know about the epic performance of Lattimore in the Florida game, we've seen Alshon's highlight reel catches, and Garcia gave us a steadying hand in a rough environment. I think the unsung hero has got to be the defense. They held Florida to only 226 yards of offense. And yes, the Florida offense was struggling that year, but holding any SEC team to that low of a number is pretty impressive.
Up Next/Bonus Material: While there are no more games to discuss on this list, we were able to provide you readers a pretty cool feature here that is not seen in the other articles. Stephen Garcia was willing to answer some questions for us about the game and the week leading up to it.
1) Coming off a tough loss the previous week, at home, to a very good Arkansas team, what was the general vibe in the locker room early the next week? Was there any loss in confidence or did you guys recover pretty quickly?
Stephen Garcia: "We always recovered pretty quickly. We would watch the game tape of the previous game on the following Saturday and would usually get ripped pretty good. But after that it was a new week and a new opponent. That Arkansas team was pretty damn good by the way! haha."
2) You guys obviously knew going into this game you could give USC something it's never had before. Did this affect y'all's preparation levels at all?
SG: "Not really. Coach Spurrier would ALWAYS be more pumped up for the Florida game than any other game. He won't ever tell you but we as a team knew that. We just worked on the gameplan and stuck to it."
3) Can you give us any insight into what the gameplan was that week? Obviously Lattimore had a huge game and you and Alshon hooked up on some very timely passes. Was that the general gameplan throughout the week leading up to the game?
SG: "Gameplans often go array. We had a plan and stuck to it mostly, but as the saying goes "shit happens." We knew we had a monster in Latt and our defense matched up well to the Gators offense. Our Oline played very well and once we had to lead we put the foot on the pedal. We used up a lot of time with Latt running the ball and when my number (sic: #) was called I did what the team needed me to do."
4) When the Florida player, I think it was Andre DeBose, took the opening kickoff to the house what was the attitude on the sideline?
SG: "I, for one, thought 'ah shit, here we go again.' The last time we played in The Swamp we got crushed 56-6. But we answered that on our first offensive drive possession and never looked back. We all knew we had the better team and everyone settled down after that."
5) At what point did you guys kind of "know" you had won?
SG: "Right after we drove down the field and scored on our opening possession. We knew they couldn't stop us and they would have a difficult time scoring on our defense."
6) When you ran over Will Hill to put an exclamation point on the victory, what did you say to him? Or is it NSFW?
SG: "That is between me and Mr. Hill. Haha. Over the years I heard some nasty shit talking, so every now and then I would have to give some back. That's just the type of player I am. I get into the zone and take no prisoners."
7) What's your favorite moment from this game?
SG: "Not hearing all the damn Gator fans. You could heard a pin drop in that stadium and I'll never forget looking into the stands and seeing frowns and sad fans' faces."
8) What was it like coming back to Columbia, and having the entire endzone bleachers filled with fans in Williams-Brice to welcome you guys back?
SG: "That was an unbelievable sight. I was freaking exhausted so I didn't stay very long. I got in my truck and went home after about 20 minutes. I did get to see some a lot of people and took some pics and signed some things though."
Thanks again to Stephen Garcia for chatting with us about this very special game in Gamecock lore. We wish you the best in your football future and look forward to working with you in the future.