1984: The Year of Black Magic - Pittsburgh

By Rixon Lane

To celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the first 10-win season in Gamecock football history, we will be recapping each of South Carolina's games during the 1984 season. On October 13th, the Gamecocks hosted the Panthers of Pittsburgh.

Season Recap:

9/8/84 - vs. The Citadel - (W) 31-24

9/22/84 - vs. Duke - (W) 21-0

9/29/84 - vs. Georgia - (W) 17-10

10/6/84 - vs. Kansas State - (W) 49-17



South Carolina is 4-0, while Pittsburgh is 1-4. However, our intrepid color commentator, Len Dawson, points out that South Carolina's schedule has been very weak other than Georgia, while Pittsburgh has basically played the undefeated 1972 Dolphins and the team of prisoners in "The Longest Yard."

Also, Pitt's coach is named Foge Fazio and he looks exactly like you imagined him.

4-0 was South Carolina's best start since 1928. This is not a heart-warming fact.

Pittsburgh opens the game with a short drive. A deep pass on third down is broken up by Otis Morris. It's also his birthday, so happy birthday Otis!

A penalty and a sack force a 3rd-and-18. Allen Mitchell throws long down the middle of the field and into quadruple-coverage. As you can probably guess, it goes poorly. INT for Pitt.

Three plays later, the Gamecock defense returns the favor. Bryant Gilliard picks off a pass, then hands it to Chris Major, who returns it to the Gamecock 34.

Three-and-out for the South Carolina offense. But no turnover, so that's an improvement.

South Carolina is playing against the most generous team in America. Pitt fumbles on a Carl Hill sack and Paul Vogel recovers at the Panther 5-yard line.

Gamecocks take advantage. Play-action and a touchdown pass to Danny Smith. South Carolina leads 7-0 with 7:27 left in the quarter. By the way, Allen Mitchell's throwing motion is not the stuff that poetry is written about.

Panthers go three-and-out. Mighty selfish of you Pitt, punting the ball instead of just giving it back.

Allen Mitchell seems like he wants to play for Pitt. He tosses his second interception of the quarter.

Panthers take over at the Gamecock 41, but can't take advantage. A 46-yard field goal falls short.

Gamecocks drive to the Panther 30 as the first quarter ends with South Carolina leading 7-0.


South Carolina continues to march and the Gamecocks find the end zone on a 5-yard touchdown run by Kent Hagood. 71-yard drive and it's 14-0 Gamecocks.

Pitt is on the board in three plays. A 60-yard touchdown pass to Chuck Scales makes it 14-7 Gamecocks. Pass was thrown by backup QB Chris Jelic. Len Dawson informs us that his father, Ralph Jelic, caught Dawson's first professional TD pass. Play-by-play man Curt Gowdy is not impressed with this story.

Another three-and-out for the Gamecock offense and Mike Hold begins to warm up.

Panthers are driving again. Aided by a pair of Gamecock penalties, Pittsburgh advances to the South Carolina 1-yard line. Craig Heyward then plunges over right tackle for a touchdown. 14-14 tie with 7:57 left in the half. Announcers inform us that the run was behind tackle Bill Fralic, who tips the scales at a whopping 285 pounds! He's like Jabba The Hut with shoulder pads!

Mike Hold in at quarterback and immediately begins to do Mike Hold things. The Gamecocks drive to the Pitt 31, where Hold scrambles out of the pocket, shake off a defender, and finds Chris Wade in the end zone. 21-14 Gamecocks after the 12-play, 80-yard drive.

Panthers go three-and-out and we head to halftime with South Carolina leading 21-14.



The Mighty Sound of the Southeast serenades the fans with "Hard Day's Night" during the intermission.

Mike Hold, hero, stays in at quarterback. On the second play of the half, he fumbles. What a bum.

Now we're back to playing "Dueling Turnovers." Glenn Woodley blows up a dive play and Bryant Gilliard falls on the loose ball at the Gamecock 24.

Hold leads the ground attack as South Carolina drives to the Pitt 33. Chris Wade blows by a Panther cornerback and Hold finds him for his second TD reception of the day. 28-14 Gamecocks. Hold is now 7-of-7 through the air.

I won't bore you with the details, but we are then treated to six consecutive punts.

Pittsburgh dials up a 35-yard pass play and the third quarter ends with the Panthers trailing 28-14 with to Gamecock 5.


The Panthers open the fourth quarter with a toss right and Heyward scores his second touchdown of the day. 28-21 Gamecocks.

South Carolina brings Allen Mitchell back in at quarterback. Betting this isn't because of his remarkable passing efficiency.

Nope, the Gamecocks are turning to the ground game. On fourth play of the drive, Thomas Dendy takes a pitch and streaks down the Gamecock sideline for a 43-yard touchdown. South Carolina leads 35-21.

Pittsburgh tries to answer, but a Panther pass is picked off by Otis "Birthday Boy" Morris.

Quinton Lewis goes 47 yards on the next play and South Carolina is in business at the Pitt 6. However, a clipping penalty pushes the Gamecocks back to the 24 and South Carolina settles for a 49-yard Scott Hagler field goal. Gamecocks lead 38-21 with 8:48 to go.

Another three-and-out from Pittsburgh. The Panthers are running out of time.

South Carolina goes retro on the next drive. Facing third-and-six from the Pitt 23, Mitchell fakes a handoff and throws another TD pass to Danny Smith. Very similar to the first score of the game. 45-21 Gamecocks with 4:40 remaining.

Pitt punt.

Gamecocks starting to feel sorry for the Panthers. South Carolina fumbles the ball back to Pitt at Gamecock 48.

Pitt desperately tries to make the score closer, but the Panthers get greedy. On 4th-and-goal, Pitt decides to go for a touchdown and Jelic is sacked.

South Carolina runs one play and the game is over.

South Carolina 45 Pittsburg 21

P.S. Pittsburgh would wind up going 3-7-1 for its first losing season since 1972. Next week the Gamecocks travel to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish enter with a record of 3-3.