By Rixon Lane
Prior to the 1912 "Big Thursday" matchup with Clemson, South Carolina had not scored on its rival in a decade.
Following a near melee between students in 1902, the series had been put on hiatus until 1909. From 1909-11, the Tigers had outscored South Carolina 57-0.
owever, the Gamecocks entered 1912 with a new head coach and a weapon.
N.B. Edgerton had been a well-respected coach at Davidson before coming to South Carolina. Edgerton took the previously 1-4-2 Gamecocks and led them to a 2-2 record entering the Clemson game. South Carolina's success was mostly due to the versatile Alfred "Fritz" Von Kolnitz, who starred at halfback, punter, place-kicker, and cornerback.
The dimensions of the college football field had changed that season, expanding from 100 yards to 110 yards, adding the 10-yard area past the goal line where a forward pass could now be caught legally for a score. The Tiger offense hoped to utilize the passing attack, but Von Kolnitz ended those dreams.
Von Kolnitz picked off a pair of Tiger passes and returned them both for touchdowns to give South Carolina a 22-7 victory and its first win over Clemson in 10 years. The Gamecocks ended the season at 5-2-1, the most wins for the program since 1903. Von Kolnitz would be inducted into the South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame and go on to play third base for the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox.