South Carolina Football: Gamecocks headed to Orlando

Jadeveon Clowney

Jadeveon Clowney (Photo credit: sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

The South Carolina football program is currently enjoying its best run in school history.  The Gamecocks have a chance to continue that success on New Year’s Day in the Capital One Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers.  A win in the bowl game would mark the third season in a row that South Carolina has won eleven games in a season.

It is no surprise that South Carolina had loftier goals at the beginning of the season, playing in Atlanta and a BCS bowl, but the Gamecocks will certainly enjoy the opportunity to win the Capital One Bowl for the second time in three years.  Connor Shaw, Jadeveon Clowney, and Kelcy Quarles will definitely want to make some noise in their last game for the Garnet and Black.  The fans are excited to watch their team play a storied program in Wisconsin, and many are ranking the Capital One Bowl as the best bowl game outside of the BCS.

Before the Gamecocks travel down I-95 there is some time to rest and reflect on the regular season.  A shocking loss to Tennessee in October will surely haunt the Gamecocks, but this season was one to be proud of.  South Carolina broke the school record for longest win streak at home late this season against Florida.  The streak has since been extended to 18 when South Carolina defeated in-state rival Clemson to end the regular season.

Beating the Tigers in Columbia also extends Carolina’s win streak over Clemson to five in a row.  This is the first time in the storied rivalry that the Gamecocks have won five in a row.  Clemson will face Ohio State in the Orange Bowl on January 3rd.

Kelcy Quarles against UNC

Kelcy Quarles (Photo credit: chronicle.augusta.com)

There have also been some individual accolades awarded to the Gamecocks that are worth mentioning.  Three Gamecocks were placed onto the All-SEC team this week.  Star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles and tailback Mike Davis all represent the Gamecocks on All-SEC teams.  Clowney and Quarles are on the first team while Davis is on the second team.

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Three freshman also represent South Carolina on the All-SEC Freshman team.  Linebacker Skai Moore, kicker Elliot Fry, and AP/KR Pharoh Cooper have all impressed with their first seasons, and coaches around the league have noticed.

Moore leads the Gamecocks with 51 tackles and eased worries about having a lack of leadership behind the dominant defensive line this season.  Fry was clutch down the stretch for South Carolina and had game-winners against previously undefeated Missouri on the road and Florida.  Cooper is one of the players Steve Spurrier is incredibly excited about and was seen at nearly every position for the Gamecocks it seems.  All three of these players will be key to future success in Columbia.

Ten wins, another victory against Clemson, and plenty of personal accolades have the Gamecocks buzzing, but they will soon forget all of that as preparations for Wisconsin will begin soon.  Success has become natural for these Gamecocks, and Steve Spurrier and company will be all business on New Year’s Day.

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