Gamecocks have a long (and losing) history against top-ranked teams

By Rick Henry - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina's matchup with Alabama on Saturday will be the fifth time USC has played a team ranked number one nationally. The first time was in 1955, when Maryland shut out the Gamecocks 27-0.

The Gamecocks' second game against a number one team happens in 1991. A three-win USC team coached by Sparky woods traveled to Tallahassee to take on a 9-0 Florida State squad. The Gamecocks had their moments, like a 79-yard touchdown pass from Bobby Fuller to Eddie Miller, and Marty Simpson's field goal as time expired, meaning South Carolina was down by only seven at the half at 17-10. But FSU had too much talent for Carolina, considering 27 players on Florida state's 1991 team made it to the NFL. They outscored USC 21-0 in the second half, and the Seminoles won it 38-10.

Five years later, the Gamecocks were back in the Sunshine State for a showdown with another number one team: the Florida Gators coached by Steve Spurrier. USC surprised Florida when quarterback Anthony Wright kept the ball and found the end zone for the first score of the game.
But the 1996 Gators had plenty of firepower, and their offense set dozens of Florida scoring records. They rolled up seven touchdowns on Carolina, and Florida won it 52-25. The Gators went on to win the national championship, and the Gamecocks finished with a 6-5 record.

Thirteen years went by before USC encountered another number one team in 2009. Again it was Florida, but this time Spurrier was coaching the Gamecocks in Williams-Brice Stadium. Carolina trailed by only three in the fourth quarter, but Stephen Garcia's pass was intercepted, ending the upset bid. Florida won it 24-14, with the 10-point loss going down as USC's best showing against a top-ranked team.

This year, the Gamecocks aren't talking about making it close against Alabama. They're looking to get their first win ever over a number one team.

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