The South Carolina Gamecocks used a nasty defensive effort, combined with an efficient and mistake free performance from quarterback Steven Garcia to upset #4 Mississippi 16-10 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC. The Gamecocks ended a 22 game losing streak against top 5 ranked teams, while Ole Miss saw their eight game winning streak come to an end. The Rebels dropped their sixth straight SEC opener.
College football betting enthusiasts who took the Gamecocks as +4 home underdogs were financially rewarded with South Carolina’s outright victory. After falling behind 3-0 after the first quarter, South Carolina led 6-3 at halftime and never trailed again.
The last time South Carolina had defeated a top five opponent was back in 1981, when they upended North Carolina. After the game, Gamecocks QB Garcia said that while it may not have been a game full of highlight reel plays, the victory was the important thing:
“It was a pretty ugly win, but a win and we’ll take it every time.”
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier agreed:
“It was good to get a win when everybody watches. It was good for all Gamecocks. We thought we could beat them. Thought it was a toss-up game. But the way it turned out, the way our defense played, 16 points was enough.”
In particular, the defense completely shut down highly touted Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead. Snead finished with a mere 107 yards, though he did manage a late game touchdown pass. He made no excuses after the game:
“We really hurt ourselves and we continued to do it all throughout the game, into the last series. It’s tough.
Ole Miss entered the game with their highest national ranking since 1970, when Archie Manning prowled the Rebel backfield. Despite that, head coach Houston Nutt didnt sense any undue pressure on his team before the game:
“I never did sense that we were feeling a lot of pressure. Now it is what it is. You’ve lost your first conference game. You’ve got to work hard and win the next conference game.”
Rebel offensive lineman Bradley Sowell, meanwhile, contradicted his coachs observation with a clear expression of relief:
“I’m glad it’s over with so everyone can just stop talking about it.
The Gamecocks improved their 2009 college football record to 3-1 (1-0 SEC). Theyll host FCS opponent South Carolina State in Columbia next weekend before resuming their SEC schedule the following week against the University of Kentucky. Ole Miss is right back into SEC play next week, facing Vanderbilt on the road in Nashville, Tennessee. Theyll then return home for their next two games beginning with Alabama on October 10th. Theyll play the University of Alabama-Birmingham the following weekend.
Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and highly respected authority on Pay Per Head. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and Price per head sites.