1984: The Year of Black Magic - Florida State

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 November 10th, the Gamecocks hosted the Seminoles of Florida State.

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

10/20/84 - @ Notre Dame - (W) 36-32

10/27/84 - vs. East Carolina - (W) 42-20

11/3/84 - @ N.C. State - (W) 35-28


Keith Jackson is on the call today, which means our ears are in for a real treat.

They're calling this a "Million Dollar Game" because the winner stays in the hunt for a big payday from a New Year's Day Bowl. Can't imagine why the NCAA wanted them to stop using that phrase. 

Florida State opens the game by returning the kickoff to their own 44 and Scott Hagler has to make the tackle. Not ideal. 

These ABC games used to do player introductions by simply having players stare straight into the camera. This means that, on occasion, you would get looks like this. 

After Jackson joked that they would need a three-digit scoreboard for the game, both teams start the day by going three-and-out. Thanks a lot, Keith. 

Florida State led the country with 38.6 points per game coming into this contest. Somewhere, Art Briles is laughing. 

Not a great drive for South Carolina's defense. Otis Morris and James Seawright both get injured and Roosevelt Snipes finds the end zone off the left side from 3 yards out. 7-0 Seminoles, 8:38 to go in the first quarter. 

Meanwhile, sideline reporter Tim Brant is giving injury reports while standing mere feet from the player laying on the training table in agony. Seems a little cruel.

outh Carolina answers with a four-play, 80-yard drive. Thomas Dendy takes the option, spins away from a Seminole at midfield, and goes 57 yards for a touchdown. 7-7 with 7:12 left in the first quarter. 

I'm not sure what Jerry Dunlap is doing after making a tackle on this kickoff, but I'm 100% certain it would earn him a 15-yard penalty today.

The Seminole offense appears to still be rolling, but a sack and a penalty thwart a potential scoring drive. Derek Schmidt misses a 39-yarder, his first miss inside of 40 yards all season. 

Tim Brant continues to do a stellar job. Calls James Seawright "Jamie." You're an arm's length away, Tim. He can hear you.

Seawright had 29 tackles against N.C. State. 29!

Allen Mitchell is starting to heat up. He connects with Quinton Lewis for a 22-yard gain, then finds Chris Corley down the sideline for 37 yards. The Gamecocks drive to the Seminole 5, but can't get in the end zone. Scott Hagler drills a 27-yard field goal with 16 seconds to go in the quarter. 

Folksy Bobby Bowden interview time. Asked about his health, Bowden responds "my offensive health is all right, my defensive health has not been so good." Never change, Bobby.

The first quarter ends with South Carolina leading 10-7. We are on pace for 1,140 yards of offense. 

Second quarter didn't get the memo. Teams exchange five consecutive punts. 

75,000 fans in attendance for this one, making it the largest crowd ever at Williams-Brice Stadium. 

This is Steve Nicklaus, son of Jack Nicklaus. He will have a son, Nick O'Leary, who will also play football at Florida State. Nick will be Jack's grandson, and this fact will be mentioned 82 times during every single broadcast of a Florida State football game during his career. 

With less than five minutes to go in the half, the Gamecocks put together a drive. Mike Hold hits Ira Hillary for gains of 24 and 44 to move South Carolina inside the Seminole 10. A toss sweep goes to Dendy, who once again spins out of traffic and finds the end zone. 17-7 South Carolina, 1:14 remaining in the half. 

Florida State had field goal issues way before the Miami games. Derek Schmidt misses another 39-yard attempt with time winding down in the half. 

Can we all take a moment to marvel at how ridiculously high Carl Hill jumped on this kick?

Yes, he is in the air. Jumped from two yards back, cleared the lineman and landed at the kicker's feet. That's absurd. 

Hold finds Bill Bradshaw for a 58-yard gain on the Hail Mary pass and the first half ends with South Carolina leading 17-7.


Bobby Bowden opens the second half with a "doggone." 

This isn't going to make him feel any better. Raynard Brown fields the opening kickoff with his knee on the ground and proceeds to go 99 yards for a school-record and one of the biggest touchdowns in program history. 24-7 Gamecocks, 14:45 left in the third quarter. 

And for the record, yes he was down. 

On Florida State's second play of the half, Kirk Coker is picked off by Bryant Gilliard. That will become a theme. 

The Gamecocks go for it on 4th-and-3 from the FSU 11, but Mitchell overthrows Dendy in the end zone. 

We now enter the "Turnover-geddon" portion of the ball game. Try to keep up.

Coker intercepted by Hinton Tayloe at the FSU 46

On the next play, Quninton Lewis fumbles and the Seminoles recovers at their own 43.

On the next play, Greg Allen goes up the middle and fumbles. Ball is recovered by Carl Hill at the FSU 44. 

We get a brief pause from the turnovers. The Gamecocks pull out the trickeration with a halfback pass for 36 yards. Mitchell then hits Bradshaw on an 8-yard slant for a South Carolina touchdown. 31-7 Gamecocks with 11:20 left in the third quarter. 

Back to turnovers. Second play of the drive and Roosevelt Snipes fumbles. Gilliard recovers at the FSU 31. 

By the way, the game clock has now stopped working. We've entered the twilight zone in Columbia. 

Two plays later, Lewis fumbles and the Seminoles get it back. Six turnovers in the quarter. 

Seminoles bring in Eric Thomas to play quarterback. Unfortunately, they have to try another field goal and Schmidt comes up short on a 56-yarder.

Gamecocks are rolling. Anthony Smith goes 34 yards up the middle, then Mitchell finds Danny Smith in the end zone to cap a seven-play, 60-yard scoring drive. 31-7 Gamecocks, still in the third quarter. 

Seminoles finally answer. 10=play, 83-yard drive, and Thomas finds Jesse Hester for a 16-yard touchdown and the two-point conversion. 38-15 Gamecocks, just under three minutes in the third quarter. 

We interrupt this game to bring you "Great Moments in FSU History" with Burt Reyonlds.

Gamecocks punt it away on the next drive.

FSU takes over in Gamecock territory, but Thomas is picked off by Bryant Gilliard at the Gamecock 2. 

And we end the quarter with Allen Mitchell fumbling the ball back to FSU because turnovers. 38-15 South Carolina.

Starting at the Gamecock 13, the Seminoles can't punch it in. Schmidt finally makes a field goal, as he connects from 27 yards. 38-18 Gamecocks, 13:30 to go. 

The Gamecocks let FSU recover the onside kick just so they can get another turnover. Major picks off Thomas at the South Carolina 43. 

Three-and-out for the Gamecock offense.

Now Coker is back in at quarterback. He picks up right where he left off, throwing an interception to Gilliard at the Gamecock 36. 

South Carolina punts again because the defense is playing too well to keep them off the field. 

Florida State brings in Danny McManus to play quarterback. He understands his role. On his first pass attempt, he's intercepted by Gilliard at the South Carolina 13. 

Offense gets bored with punting and decides to give up a safety. 38-20 Gamecocks with 4:42 remaining. 

Florida State's offense stops turning the ball over long enough to put together a 46-yard scoring drive. McManus completes a 3-yard touchdown pass to Pat Carter, but Hinton Tayloe breaks up the two-point attempt. 38-26 Gamecocks, 3:02 remaining. This is getting a little too close. 

Now South Carolina has caught whatever FSU had. Hold fumbles on the option and the Seminoles take over at their own 33. 

And the Florida State offense caps the night by throwing an interception to Joe Brooks. The Seminoles have turned it over nine times and have thrown seven interceptions. 

South Carolina runs out the clock and the Gamecocks have the first nine-win season in school history. 

South Carolina 38 Florida State 26

P.S. Florida State would go to the Citrus Bowl and tie Georgia to finish the year with a 7-3-2 record. Next week, the Gamecocks travel to Annapolis to take on the Naval Academy. The Midshipmen are 3-5-1.