Redemption Song

After two games where the South Carolina defense suddenly turned into the big question mark for the Gamecocks, the thought of facing the high-octane Mississippi Rebels offense wasn’t a pleasant one for many Gamecock fans.  But when the national spotlight shined on Williams-Brice Stadium Thursday night, the defense proved their worth with a performance to remember.

“Our defense was sensational tonight,” said Coach Spurrier. “It’s a good win for our university, our team and our fans.”

Snead, a player who some had touted as a potential Heisman candidate, had a night to forget, completing only 7-of-21 pass attempts for just 107 yards.  Had it not been for a blown coverage on his 45-yard TD pass, Snead would’ve left Williams-Brice Stadium with less than 100 yards on the night.

“Eric Norwood and Cliff Matthews were all over the place – that’s how you stop good passing,” Spurrier said. “When you get pressure, it makes it tough to throw.”

Norwood finished the game with two sacks, good enough to move him into first place all-time at South Carolina and eighth all-time in SEC history.

“This is what I came back here for – to win, not to be mediocre,” he said.

According to senior Darian Stewart, the defense entered the game intent on showcasing themselves.

“We felt like we got the defense to hold anybody and we wanted to show the world we could do it and we did it,” said senior Darian Stewart. “Our goal was not to [let them get into a rhythm].”

“This was a statement game and it lets everyone know that we’re a team to compete with in the SEC,” said Matthews.

The Gamecock defense stifled the Rebels for most of the night, holding Mississippi to just 248 yards of offense (nearly 200 yards below their season average).  The Rebels were only 1-of-13 on third downs and were 1-of-4 on fourth down conversions.

Even after a night of bottling up the Rebels, it came down to the final series of the game before the celebrations could start.  The home fans, sensing the need to give the defense an extra boost, rose to the occasion.

“I love this crowd – I believe they rattled Ole Miss,” said Stewart. “It was definitely a big factor for us.  This crowd tonight was just crazy.”

“Playing on Thursday night in front of the greatest fans in the world, there’s nothing like it,” said Matthews.

Assistant head coach Ellis Johnson was pleased with the defense’s effort when they need a stop to secure the win.

“They were knocking us around on the line of scrimmage at the end,” he said. “We’ll find plenty of things to correct on film, but the heart they showed and the effort was terrific.”



Filed under football

7 responses to “Redemption Song

  1. Benson

    What a great win, and great coaching!!
    Garcia, wow. Great passing and completions.
    Eric Norwood was a giant killer with his 2 sacks and defenseive play!
    These games we usually loose, but not last night.
    #4 has the loss and WE HAVE THE WIN!!!

    Go Steve Spurrier and the USC Gamecocks.

    Thank you,


  2. Janet

    Wow what a game. Im so proud of the gamecocks. Was over there on 9-16-09 got to see inside of Williams Brice. We dont live in Sc. unfortually we live here in Vols country. But we are proud to be SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS FANS. and we show our pride by wearing the team colors, flying flags at the house and the car. Go Gamecocks

  3. victor

    Great win for the “Fighting Gamecocks”. Although I thought they were going to rip my heart out again, they finally came through. I hope this is a sign of better things to come. Oh yea, coaches, next time go for ‘2’ when the score is 15-3 I think all of you went brain dead for a minute and it just about bit you in the butt!! Try taking deep breaths next time and think, so you won’t drive me crazy. Keep “fighting” GO COCKS!!!

  4. jerry longtin

    Watching that game last night, I was saying to my son, “here we go again.” Third and fourth quarter and all those three and outs were driving me insane. I was screaming at Spurrier to stay with what the offense had done earlier rather than handcuff them late in the game. We certainly didn’t have the cushion to get conservative. Then when we won, I had to say it’s a great day to be a gamecock. Hopefully this team has found a new identity and will provide many more wins such as this. To take a program with SC’s history and change it will take time, but doesn’t the future look promising with all that young talent. Go Cocks!

  5. WJ

    As Spurrier said “Hats off to Spencer Lanning for a touchdown saving tackle on the long punt return.”

    If Lanning doesn’t make that play the whole game could have turned around.

    While he hasn’t kicked a pressure packed long one, he’s looked solid on field goals since the opening miss at NC State.

    The Georgia game showed us how “special” special teams play can be. Good to see improvement there.

    Dispite our continued running woes, if we play good defense, minimize turnovers and have solid kicking/special teams, we can take every game to the fourth quarter with a chance to win.

    The video of the locker room celebration and chants of “New Carolina” were good to see. The players and fans need to make sure it happens cause things start getting much tougher from Mid October.

  6. chuck

    I still think our defense needs to step up a little more. I was at the USC/FAU game and I was very disappointed in our defense. They looked like they were playing touch football. If they played hard every game, we would have the best defense in the nation (again) A win is a win, but we could have done much better. Go Gamecocks !!!!!!!

  7. GAVIN

    Man it would be so awesome to be ranked right now after that win. However, the team should use the fact that after beating number 4 we still don’t have national respect. So I hope we go out and blow SC state and kentucky out the water and then role tide role. Then they will have no reason to not give us respect. GO COCKS!

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