Since the arrival of Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, the Gamecocks and Gators have played a lot of memorable games. In this Daily 5, we take a look back at five of the most memorable plays in the Eastern Division rivalry.
Watson blocks the punt
It appeared that South Carolina had arrived on the big stage as it led fourth-ranked Florida 14-3 in the first quarter with the SEC Eastern Division on the line in The Swamp. Then the unexpected happened as the Gamecocks broke through the Gators punt team for a second straight blocked punt resulting in a 21-3 lead that, at the time, appeared to send the Gamecocks to their first ever trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship. Gamecock fans everywhere were jumping for joy before then-Gators coach Steve Spurrier settled his team down and scored 38 consecutive points to knock off the Gamecocks 41-21.
Watson punches it in
ESPN GameDay made their first appearance in Columbia in 2001 and as the Gamecocks hosted the Gators with the SEC Eastern Division title again on the line. The Gamecock fans called for a Black Out and the excitement and tension was as high as any time since the 1984 season. Williams-Brice Stadium had seen its share of loud moments but following a Lito Sheppard dropped punt in the first quarter, Gamecocks running back Derek Watson then took the handoff and went in untouched sending off a wild celebration in the stadium with the decibel level reaching at that time unparallel levels. It didn’t bother the Gators though as they rolled 54-17 that night.
Rice makes his mark
Spurrier was back in college football and all of the SEC focused their attention on Columbia for a November showdown between the Gamecocks and Gators. South Carolina got off to a fast start but the Gators, under first year coach Urban Meyer, were clawing back into the game. With just under seven minutes to go in the game and leading 20-19, Gamecocks quarterback Blake Mitchell hit Sidney Rice on a short pass who then shook off two Gators defenders to take the pass all the way to the 1-yard line which setting up a touchdown on the very next play. Rice’s catch and run was the highlight of the day and helped propel the Gamecocks to their first win over the Gators since joining the SEC.
Moss gets high … and blocks the kick
One of the more memorable moments in the Gamecocks and Gators series over the past few years occurred in 2006 when Gators defensive Jarvis Moss blocked a 48-yard field goal as time expired to preserve a 17-16 victory. The Gators win helped propel them on to their first national championship under Meyer and also give them their first victory over their former head coach since he left Gainesville following the 2001 season.
Garcia finishes the game
There were plenty of big plays on the night of November 13, 2010 as the Gamecocks crushed the Gators 36-14 in route to their first ever SEC Championship. One of the most memorable plays of the night was quarterback Stephen Garcia bowling over Florida defenders on an 8-yard run into the end zone to take a 29-7 lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The play was the true definition of just how dominant the performance by the Gamecocks was that night as Garcia took a shot in the end zone but hopped up and started woofing at the Gators. The win truly signaled the arrival of the Gamecocks as a dominant force in the SEC Eastern Division.
Want to enjoy all of the premium content on TheBigSpur.com? Click HERE to find out how to receive access to the latest in South Carolina athletics and for a LIMITED TIME WE ARE GIVING YOU THE REST OF THE YEAR FOR FREE. Get all the breaking news, insight from the best staff of insiders in the market, and join a lively message board community. Also check out our recruiting database, and enjoy quality content from football, basketball, baseball, and other Olympic sports.