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 27th, the Gamecocks hosted to face the Pirates of East Carolina.
FIRST QUARTER: "That could've gone better."
South Carolina opens with a reverse that gains 2 yards and a clipping penalty, then proceeds to go three-and-out. Letdown omen?
Nope. On East Carolina fifth offensive snap, Otis Morris intercepts a Pirate pass at the Gamecock 2.
Kent Hagood gains 8, Thomas Dendy gains 16, then Hagood goes 74 yards on an option pitch for a touchdown. 98 yards in 50 seconds. 7-0 Gamecocks with 11:06 to go in the first quarter. Omens are silly.
Pirates go three-and-out.
Allen Mitchell drives South Carolina into ECU territory for the first time in the game, but he is picked off at the 21.
East Carolina punts again. After three drives, the Pirates have accumulated one first down.
But South Carolina's offense can't take advantage. Gamecocks are forced to punt and ECU takes over at their own 25. A slow start could come back to bite South Carolina.
Speaking of which, the awesomely name Darrell Speed hits Ricky Nichols for a 64-yard touchdown. 7-7 tie, 2:59 left in the opening quarter. Hmmmmmmmm.
Three-and-out for the Gamecocks. This is starting to get old.
East Carolina takes over at midfield and is on the South Carolina 46 as the first quarter ends in a tie. By the way, South Carolina is currently 9th in the AP poll and ECU's only wins of the season are against Georgia Southern and East Tennessee State. Just so you know.
SECOND QUARTER: "That's more like it…sort of."
The Gamecock defense stands tall, but the Pirates get a 43-yard field goal from Jeff Heath. 10-7 East Carolina with 12:27 to go in the half. Make…it…stop.
American hero Mike Hold is in at quarterback. On his first snap, he connects with Ira Hillary over the middle for a 71-yard touchdown. 14-10 Gamecocks, 12:09 until halftime. Order is restored to the universe.
East Carolina continues its irritating habit of trying to win the game. They drive to the South Carolina 28, but Heath misses a 46-yard field goal wide right.
Hold stays in, but the Gamecocks can't find the end zone. Another punt puts ECU on their own 16.
hree-and-out for the Pirates. The defense just keeps waiting on the offense to get rolling.
This time, the Gamecock offense clicks. Hold throws his second touchdown of the quarter, a 26-yard pass to Chris Corley with 2:47 left in the second quarter. 21-10 Gamecocks.
Another Pirate punt. ECU fans say "aaarrrrrrggghhh."
South Carolina with a chance to build a three-score lead before halftime, but Hagood fumbles on an 18-yard completion.
East Carolina runs out the clock and South Carolina heads to the locker room with a 21-10 lead.
THIRD QUARTER: "Bury them! Now! Ok……..now! Now!"
East Carolina begins the second half with the ball, but can't get on the board. Another punt for ECU gives South Carolina the ball at the Gamecock 11.
Hold takes the Gamecocks on a 10-play, 89-yard drive. Dendy caps it with a 7-yard scamper around the right side to give South Carolina a 28-10 lead. 7:45 remaining in the third quarter.
South Carolina's defense is bored with forcing turnovers. James Seawright forces a fumble and Bryant Gilliard recovers at the Gamecock 27.
The Gamecock offense can't stand prosperity. Dendy fumbles the ball back to ECU on the third play of the drive. Pirates take over at the South Carolina 42.
East Carolina can only drive 14 yards, but Jeff Heath, the busiest Pirate on the field, connects on a 44-yard field goal. 28-13 Gamecocks, 2:44 left in the third quarter.
South Carolina goes three-and-out, as the Gamecocks continue to fail to put the Pirates away.
East Carolina is threatening at the Gamecock 30 as the third quarter ends. South Carolina up 28-13.
FOURTH QUARTER: "The world makes sense again."
The defense comes to the rescue again as Rick Rabune intercepts Speed's pass in the end zone.
Finally, the Gamecocks put the game away. Hold and the offense cover 80 yards in just six plays, as Quinton Lewis goes up the middle from 1-yard out to extend South Carolina's lead to 35-13 with 11:47 to go.
ECU is coming apart at the seams. Another interception from Speed, this time by Gilliard. South Carolina takes over at its own 45.
Jim Desmond takes over at quarterback. Behind the ground game, the Gamecocks move deep into Pirate territory, where Desmond sneaks in for a 1-yard touchdown. 42-13 South Carolina. 5:27 remaining.
After a 47-yard kickoff return, East Carolina uses a reverse to help drive to the Gamecock 9. Backup quarterback Ron Jones finds Nichols for a touchdown, cutting South Carolina's lead to 42-20 with 2:28 left.
An onside kick is recovered, as those pesky Pirates just won't go away. East Carolina tries for a garbage time touchdown, but Jones is intercepted by Rabune in the end zone.
Kevin White comes in for a 7-yard quarterback keeper as time expires.
South Carolina 42 East Carolina 20
P.S. East Carolina wouldn't win another game for the rest of the season, finishing 2-9. Next week, South Carolina hits the road to take on the N.C. State Wolfpack.