1984: The Year of Black Magic - Notre Dame

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 20th, the Gamecocks traveled to South Bend to face the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

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

10/13/84 - vs. Pittsburgh - (W) 45-21


South Carolina kicks off to begin the game. Freshman Phil Setterquist handles the kicking duties. Phil wears #64, which is a pretty bold jersey number for a kicker.

Notre Dame has a player named Hiawatha Francisco, the most un-Notre Damey name in history.

The Irish open the contest by driving to the Gamecock 21, but the defense stiffens and John Carney, who entered the game 6-for-6 on the season, misses a 39-yarder.

Also, the announcer keeps saying the game is being played in "Notre Dame, Indiana," which is not an actual town.

The Gamecock offense goes three-and-out, but the Irish fumble the punt and South Carolina takes over at the 31-yard line. The residents of Notre Dame, Indiana, can't be happy about that.

ESPN personality Mike Golic is starting at outside linebacker for the Irish. He's one of four "Mike's" starting for Notre Dame's defense. Four Mike's and a Hiawatha.

Given another chance, the Gamecocks find the end zone as Allen Mitchell plunges in from 1-yard out to give South Carolina an early 7-0 lead with 7:19 to go in the first quarter.

Notre Dame nearly fumbles away the kickoff, then goes three-and-out. Somewhere, Lou Holtz slobbers in disgust.

The Gamecock follow suit.

Starting at their own 20, the Irish put together a drive. They convert a pair of 3rd-down conversions and run out the clock on the first quarter. After 15 minutes, South Carolina leads 7-0.

The Irish cap the drive as Allen Pinkett, who would go on to finish eighth in the Heisman balloting in 1985, powers his way in from four yards out. 7-7 game with 13:37 left in the half.

These were the days when South Carolina was at turning kickoffs.

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After making no effort whatsoever to throw the ball in the first quarter, the Gamecocks try three pass plays in seven snaps. Mitchell overthrows a wide-open Ira Hillary on one, fumbles on the fake handoff and overthrows an even-more-wide-open Danny Smith on the next, and is sacked for a loss of 9 yards on the last try. See? It's not just this year that Gamecock fans are pleading for the team to just run the ball.

Notre Dame takes over at its own 42. After a 19-yard clipping penalty makes it 1st-and-29, South Carolina gets called for back-to-back offsides penalties and then lets Steve Beuerlein slip in the backfield, regain his balance, and find a receiver downfield for a 36-yard gain. The Gamecock defense makes a goal line stand and on 4th-and-1 from the 2, Beuerlein fumbles the snap and South Carolina takes over.

The Gamecocks need to cover 97 yards, so they bring on living legend Mike Hold to play quarterback. He rewards the defense for their fine efforts by over-throwing Bill Bradshaw and being intercepted. Gamecocks are 0-3 through the air.

Notre Dame ball at the South Carolina 46. After a 26-yard completion on 3rd-and-10, Bueuerlein finds future two-time Super Bowl champion Mark Bavaro for a 12-yard touchdown. 14-7 Irish, with 5:00 until halftime.

South Carolina's passing attack finally gets going. Hold hits Chris Corley for a 31-yard gain. The Gamecocks then go back to the ground and drive deep into Notre Dame territory. Facing a 4th-and-1 from the Irish 2, Hold does not fumble the ball like his counterpart, but instead gives it to Kent Hagood, who dives in for a touchdown. 14-14 with 1:19 left in the half.

Notre Dame proceeds to drive to the 30, where John Carney drills a career-long 48-yard field goal as time expires. The Irish lead 17-14 at halftime, the first time South Carolina has trailed at halftime since The Citadel.


On the second play of the half, Mitchell and Thomas Dendy botch a handoff and the ball is recovered by Mike Golic and his remarkable afro.

Notre Dame can't take advantage of the good field position and the Irish settle for a 47-yard field goal from Carney. 20-14 Notre Dame, 11:41 to go in the third quarter.

Mitchell tries to lead the Gamecocks on a go-ahead scoring drive. Instead, he is intercepted.

The Gamecock defense comes up with a stop and force the Irish to punt.

South Carolina ball at its own 14. Quinton Lewis fumbles. The Gamecocks have three turnovers in eight offensive snaps this quarter.

Notre Dame dials up a beautiful halfback pass and Beuerlein  is all alone for a touchdown reception. The Gamecocks come up with a sack on the two-point conversion, but South Carolina trails 26-14 with 8:05 left in the third quarter.

Mike Hold in at quarterback. The offense goes three-and-out, quite an improvement.

Notre Dame cant' move the ball either. Punt and South Carolina takes over at its own 27.

South Carolina embarks on one of its strangest drives of the season. On the third play, Hold is swarmed in the backfield and laterals to left tackle Carl Womble, who picks up seven yards. The Gamecocks drive inside the Irish 20, where Hold is heavily pressured and throws a ball through the goal posts and 10 rows into the stands. Facing 4th-and-2 on the 8-yard line, South Carolina copies the Irish and tries a halfback pass. Quinton Lewis's pass is intercepted, but the play is wiped out due to a pass interference penalty. On the next play, Hold sneaks in for a touchdown. Hagood scores on the two-point conversion and it's 26-22 Notre Dame with 14:11 left in the game.

Once again, the defense comes up big. Paul Vogel makes a leaping interception on the first play of the drive and South Carolina has the ball at the Irish 30.

And the offense fumbles it away two plays later.

The Gamecock defense forces a punt and the offense will get another chance.

Starting at their own 25, Hold guides the Gamecocks to the Notre Dame 33. On 3rd-and-8, Hold escapes the rush and goes up the middle of the field, picks up a big block from Eric Poole, and crashes over the goal line for a touchdown. The Gamecocks lead 29-26, 8:49 remaining.

The Irish are beginning to crumble. On the second play of the drive, Chris Smith fumbles a handoff and Rick Rabune recovers for the Gamecocks at the Notre Dame 17.

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Three players later, Lewis finds the end zone from 4 yards out. 36-26 Gamecocks, 7:47 to go. South Carolina has outscored Notre Dame 22-0 in the fourth quarter.

Backed into a corner, the Irish come out swinging. They cover 83 yards in nine plays as Allen Pinkett caps the drive with his second rushing touchdown of the day. Chris Major breaks up the two-point pass attempt and the Gamecocks lead 36-32 with 4:22 left to play.

Ira Hillary has trouble handling the squib kick and the Gamecocks start from their own 8-yard line. The offense goes nowhere and on fourth down, the snap goes over the head of punter Tom O'Connor for a safety. However, a flag came out before the ball was snapped. The Gamecocks are called for a false start, so O'Connor gets another chance. O'Connor punts to the Gamecock 47.

Notre Dame needs a touchdown with 1:52 remaining and no timeouts. Beuerlein has his first pass go through the hands of Mark Bavaro at the 27 and his next throw is intercepted by Earl Johnson at the Gamecock 7.

Hold runs out the clock and the Gamecocks survive.

South Carolina 36 Notre Dame 32

P.S. Notre Dame would go on to win its next four games before falling to SMU in the Aloha Bowl to finish 7-5. Next week, the Gamecocks return home to host the East Carolina Pirates.