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 6th, the Gamecocks hosted the Wildcats of Kansas State.
FIRST QUARTER: "So. Many. Touchdowns."
Kansas State receives to begin the game and goes three-and-out. Wildcats appear to know how a Homecoming opponent is supposed to behave.
Gamecock ball. Kent Hagood goes 34 yards on the first offensive play for South Carolina and Thomas Dendy picks up 23 on the next snap. Hagood goes for 4 yards on 1st-and-goal and Dendy goes around the right side for a 1-yard touchdown. A four-play, 61-yard drive that takes all of 52 seconds. South Carolina up 7-0 with 12:19 to go in the opening quarter.
Kansas State's kick returner steps out of bounds at his own 3 on the ensuing kickoff and the Wildcats punt after another three-and-out. Such a nice team.
South Carolina is set up at the K-State 33. Dendy rumbles up the middle for 27 yards, then goes 6 yards around right end for a touchdown. Six offensive plays, 62 seconds of possession, 14-0 lead for the Gamecocks with 10:42 left in the first quarter.
Wildcats have had enough. K-State drives 78 yards in seven plays to set up a 1st-and-goal from the 2. Tony Jordan sweeps to the right and fumbles, but Rick Lewis recovers in the end zone for a Wildcat touchdown. Even Kansas State's scores aren't pretty. 14-7 Gamecocks, 7:14 remaining in the first quarter.
South Carolina's offense continues to click. Starting at the 20, Quinton Lewis gains 14 and then Dendy goes for another 20 yards. A personal foul against the Wildcats puts the ball on the K-State 29. Lewis gains 8, but on third down, Raynard Brown loses 5 yards. Scott Hagler's 44-yard field goal attempt sails wide and South Carolina's quest to score 140 points in the game takes a big hit.
Three-and-out for the Wildcats. There's that Kansas State offense we know and love.
Starting from their own 40, the Gamecocks get 5 yards from Brown. Allen Mitchell then finds Eric Poole for a gain of 13. That, by the way, is South Carolina's first completion of the game. 18-yard run from Lewis and two plays later, Mitchell connects with Chris Corley for a 25-yard touchdown. The Gamecocks have scoring drives of four plays, two plays, and five plays. 21-7 South Carolina with 2:12 left in the quarter.
Kansas State drives from its own 20 to the Gamecock 37 before the clock runs out on the first quarter with the Gamecocks leading 21-7.
SECOND QUARTER: "Hold to the rescue"
K-State starts the quarter by pushing to the South Carolina 15. On first down, Willie McIntee brings down the ball carrier for a 3-yard loss. A pass completion sets up a 3rd-and-3 from the 8, but the Wildcat running back slips in the backfield to bring on fourth down. Steve Willis drills a 29-yard field goal to cut South Carolina's lead to 21-10 with 11:08 left in the half.
Gamecock offense tries to give itself a challenge. Mitchell pitches the ball wildly on first down to lose 10 yards, then fumbles the ensuing snap to set up 3rd-and-21. So, obviously, Kent Hagood goes for 22 yards up the middle. However, Mitchell fumbles two more snaps on the drive and the Gamecocks punt for the first time. Those sneaky Wildcats probably greased the ball.
Three-and-out for Kansas State. Yawn.
Now South Carolina goes three-and-out. Oh my gosh it's contagious! And Tom O'Connor's punt is tipped and only goes 10 yards. Kansas State ball at the Gamecock 41. Homecoming was more fun in the first quarter.
Wildcats with a huge drive. On fourth-and-six from the Gamecock 26-yard line, Bryant Gilliard comes up with the stop to end the K-State threat.
South Carolina takes over at its own 23 with 1:13 to go before halftime. A completion to Poole puts the ball at midfield, but Mitchell is sacked on the next play. Mike Hold comes in at quarterback and Kansas State is called for pass interference, putting the ball on the Wildcat 43. As time expires, Hold finds Poole in the end zone for a touchdown to end the half. They go to the locker rooms with South Carolina leading 28-10.
THIRD QUARTER: "Thank you for punting"
Gamecocks drive into Wildcat territory, but are forced to punt.
Kansas State has to punt, but the kick is blocked by Chris Major and returned to the 1-yard line.
It takes three plays, but Hagood scores from one yard out. 35-10 South Carolina, 8:26 remaining in the third quarter.
Another Kansas State punt. Wildcat kicker earning his scholarship (can not verify that he was actually on scholarship).
Hold in at quarterback as the Gamecock offense pays tribute to its overwhelmed opponent by going three-and-out.
Another Kansas State punt is blocked, this time by Bryan Gilliard. Ball recovered at the Wildcat 16.
You know where this is going. Hold keeps it for an 18-yard touchdown. South Carolina's two touchdown drives in this quarter have covered 19 yards. 42-10 Gamecocks, 2:35 to go in the third quarter.
Kansas State opens up the offense and drives the ball down South Carolina's thro---totally kidding, they punt again. The Gamecocks are cruising as we head to the final 15 minutes with South Carolina up 42-10.
FOURTH QUARTER: "Turn out the lights, the party's over"
South Carolina punts out of pity.
Kansas State fumbles a pitch because of course and South Carolina gets it at the Wildcat 33-yard line. This is almost not fun anymore. Almost.
Jim Desmond is in at quarterback, so it takes South Carolina six plays to go 33 yards. Jerry Dunlap takes it in from 7 yards out for his first touchdown of the season. 49-10 Gamecocks, 9:08 left in the contest.
Kansas State's offensive unit fails to pick up the necessary yardage in order to maintain possession of the football, thus forcing the kicking unit to take the field in hopes of pinning South Carolina's offense in less than favorable field position. Translation: Wildcats punt.
Now Kevin White gets to play quarterback. He drives the Gamecocks to the K-State 17, where he promptly fumbles and John Welch picks up the loose ball and goes 90 yards for a Wildcat touchdown. And you just know the spread on this game was probably 35 points. Gamecocks up 49-17 with 1:20 to go.
White fumbles again, but the Gamecocks manage to keep the ball. Two plays later, it's all over.
South Carolina 49 Kansas State 17
P.S. The Wildcats would beat in-state rival Kansas the following week and finish the season with a record of 3-7-1. Next week, the Gamecocks host the Pitt Panthers. Pittsburgh enters the game with a 1-4 record.