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 this day, September 22nd, the Gamecocks hosted the Blue Devils from Duke.
FIRST QUARTER: "We score! And by score, I mean 'repeatedly shoot ourselves in the foot'"
South Carolina wins the toss and receives. The Gamecocks start at their own 25 and Allen Mitchell runs on the first four plays of the game, gaining 32 yards. South Carolina has a first down at the Duke 27, which turns into a 4th-and-28 after a tackle for loss, a penalty, a sack, and an incompletion. Hangover from that big Citadel win? Gamecocks punt.
Duke drives to the Gamecock 38, but the Blue Devils are stuffed on a 4th-and-1 attempt. I'm willing to bet they weren't in the shotgun.
Gamecocks move the ball to the Duke 21, first down. 10-yard sack, loss of one, incompletion. 4th-and-21. Didn't we just see this movie? Scott Hagler misses a 49-yarder.
Duke mocks the Gamecock offense by getting backed into a 4th-and-26 and punting. Jerks.
Gamecock ball at the Blue Devil 49 and South Carolina now has Kevin White in at quarterback. He loses three yards on his first play and the first quarter ends with the score tied 0-0. Splendid.
SECOND QUARTER: "Bad, bad, bad, good, bad, bad, good"
South Carolina's offense has the decency to go three-and-out instead of giving their fans false hope.
Duke is pinned at their own 17 and quarterback Drew Walston is picked off by Joe Brooks. South Carolina has their best field position of the night, first down at the Blue Devil 33.
Allen Mitchell is back in at quarterback. He rewards the coaching staff for their decision-making by fumbling the ensuing snap and falling on it for a loss of one. On the next play, Mitchell fumbles again and Duke recovers. If at first you don't succeed, and all that.
Four plays later and Duke is at the Gamecock 24. Did I mention this Blue Devil team went 3-8 in 1983? On second down, Carl Hill forces a fumble and Roy Hart recovers for South Carolina. There have been three turnovers in the first four minutes of this quarter.
South Carolina drives from its own 27 to the Blue Devil 29. Gamecock fans avert their eyes. However, Mitchell keeps right side for a gain of 21. Kent Hagood takes the next two runs and the Gamecocks are at the two-yard line. On third and goal, Mitchell runs right and finds the end zone. 7-0 Gamecocks, 7:26 to go in the half.
Another three-and-out from the Duke offense and South Carolina has a chance to make it a two-score lead. The Gamecock drive stalls out at midfield and, after the punt, Duke gets the ball at their own 20. Will the Blue Devils take to the air and try to tie things up before halftime?
Nope, they're going conservative. Simple handoff. Which is fumbled. James Seawright comes up with the ball, first down for the Gamecocks at the Duke 17. Blue Devils have 86 total yards and three turnovers in this half.
The Gamecocks don't mess around on this drive. Raynard Brown takes the sweep around the right side and goes in for the touchdown. 14-0 South Carolina, 1:17 left in the half.
Duke can't move the ball and they go to the locker rooms with the Gamecocks holding their biggest lead of the young season, 14-0.
THIRD QUARTER: "Read this for information about Mike Hold and punting"
Duke opens the half by driving to the Gamecock 37 and throwing an interception, this time to Bryant Gilliard. South Carolina ball at their own 18.
The Gamecocks somehow manage to put together a 10-play, 15-yard drive. Punt.
Duke's offense is all aboard the struggle bus. Punt.
Allen Mitchell is injured and the third Gamecock quarterback of the evening, Mike Hold, enters. This is the first action of his South Carolina career. He redshirted in 1983 after transferring from Mason Junior College in Arizona. The Gamecocks go three-and-out. Punt.
Duke finally puts a drive together and the Blue Devils have crossed midfield as the quarter ends. South Carolina leads 14-0 and the Gamecocks are 15 minutes from their first shutout since 1980.
FOURTH QUARTER: "Why can't we be friends?"
Duke pulls a South Carolina, driving to the 25 and losing 11 yard on third down. A 51-yard field goal attempt is short and the shutout is still intact.
The Blue Devil defense is wearing down and the Gamecocks take advantage. Quinton Lewis runs for 21 and then for 12. At the Duke 31, Allen Mitchell fires a touchdown strike to Eric Poole. 21-0 Gamecocks, 11:15 left in the game.
Duke fumbles the kickoff and has the ball at its own five-yard line. The Blue Devils pass their way out to the Gamecock 40, but Tony Guyton comes up with a sack on 4th-and-10 to end the threat.
Kevin White back in at quarterback for South Carolina. The Gamecocks go nowhere and Tom O'Connor's punt pins the Blue Devils at their own 13.
The game is out of hand now, but things are getting chippy. Both teams are hit with offsetting personal fouls as the Blue Devils desperately try to get on the scoreboard. Four personal fouls have been called in the last three possessions. Duke drives to the Gamecock 21, but a pass on 4th-and-6 is stopped after a gain of two.
Hold comes in to finish the game. South Carolina runs out the clock and the Gamecocks have their first winning streak in over a year.
South Carolina 21 Duke 0
P.S. Duke would end the season at 2-9, as the loss to South Carolina was the start of an eight-game losing streak. Next week, the Gamecocks welcome in 12th-ranked Georgia. The Bulldogs are now 2-0 and have just upset 2nd-ranked Clemson in Athens.