Dec 27, 2014; Shreveport, LA, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks mascot Cocky leads the band onto the field prior to the game against the Miami Hurricanes in the 2014 Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium. South Carolina defeated Miami 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
The final play of the 1993 Georgia-South Carolina game ranks as one of the greatest plays in South Carolina football history, accounting for the winning score in what is widely acclaimed by the Gamecock faithful as the greatest ever opening day South Carolina victory.
After Georgia quarterback Eric Zeier led the Dawgs to 14 unanswered fourth quarter points for a come from behind 21-17 lead, the South Carolina defense held Georgia in its own territory and the Dawgs punted the ball dead to the Gamecocks 35 yard line. With less than two minutes remaining, Gamecock quarterback Steve Tanneyhill led a drive that left South Carolina at the Bulldog one yard line with time, it seemed, for just one play.
David Cloninger of wltx.com recounts the last seconds from the Gamecock’s perspective.
“We called two plays,” Taneyhill said. “Basically, both Brandon [Bennett] over the top.”
The first one didn’t work, Bennett appearing to clear the line but getting pulled back at the last second.
“Everybody was like, ‘Just run the same play!’ and we’re running around frantic because of the time,” Bennett said. “We tried to get everybody up so we could get the play because time was running out. It was something I didn’t have time to think about at the time.
“But I always liked to dive over.”
Bennett cleared the pileup and tumbled into the end zone. With only two seconds to go, USC led 23-21.
The greatest of games have two heroes – one for the victor and another, a tragic figure, for the loser. Georgia’s hero was Eric Zeier, the quarterback that engineered a two touchdown fourth quarter comeback only to watch helplessly as the Gamecocks snatched away victory.
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