Just the mention of the year ‘1984’ carries a ton of meaning to the average Gamecock fan. It was a year of celebrated firsts, but also a year of numbing almosts It was a year of unprecedented success, but also a year of devastating defeats (well, the Gator Bowl was probably just a ‘tough loss’, but the real facepalm moment came a few weeks earlier NOTE: don’t click the preceding hyperlink unless you are in a very, very, happy place).
But in the end, 1984 was the high-water mark for the Gamecock football program- we hope only ‘to date. Ten wins, with those victories including Georgia, Notre Dame, Clemson, then-powerful Pitt, and a good Florida State team.
The coincidental similarity (NOT ‘irony’, see here) of this year’s attempt at 10 wins and our last 10 win season is that both years included a win over Georgia at home and a victory up the dirt road at CTU. For this year to reach the 10 win plateau, we’re gonna need an additional similarity: wins over Florida State.
With that in mind, let’s go back to the future and preview what South Carolina will need to do to defeat the Seminoles in Friday’s Chick-fil-a (ne’ Peach) Bowl:
Get #21 on track. By the way, what’s up with everyone saying ‘untracked’ these days? It doesn’t make any sense, in that most anything that runs on a track is headed for disaster if it gets off the aforesaid track. I think someone slipped up a couple of years ago and misspoke, and now sports commentators think it’s a real thing and keep repeating it (I’m looking at you, Scott Hood).
Anyhoo, for SC to win this game, we need Lattimore running hard and running free both early and often, as in:
Secondly, we need a stout, opportunistic defense, that gets to Ponder or Manuel or Rix or Weinke or whoever again and again. Something like these guys did:
Next, its gonna take smart, efficient play from the quarterback position. Stephen Garcia needs to take his drops and get rid of the ball. He needs to avoid forearm shivers from opposing referees. He needs to stay within himself and not try to win it on his own. He needs to protect the football. And he needs to NEVER EVER EVER EVER NEVER try something like this:
And then, it wouldn’t hurt if we could run back a kick past the 20 yardline. Yes, yes, I know we are prohibited, by rule, from doing that (or at least Coach Beamer thinks we are) so we put our smallest player back there to ensure we start every drive on the 17 yard line. But still, wouldn’t something like this be nice (just this once)?
btw h/t to cockytalk for all the video links.