Chris Culliver was angry. His memory was short, and the long kickoff return in the first quarter already was erased from his memory.
He wanted another one.
And the USC junior got it.
Kentucky had just taken a 10-7 lead in the second quarter of Saturday's game, and the USC free safety was blaming himself. He felt his coverage on a key play had led to the touchdown.
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"I was really mad, and I was like, 'I'm gonna return this kick.' I had it in me, and I tried to make a big play," Culliver said.
Never mind that he already had a 69-yard kick return to his credit, which had put him in the USC record books.
Culliver followed it up in similar fashion, returning the next kickoff 49 yards to the Kentucky 39.
This one may have been 20 yards shorter than his first-quarter return, which gave the Gamecocks the ball at the Kentucky 34. But it was more spectacular, as Culliver shook four tackles during the run.
Each long kickoff seemed to breathe air back into the Gamecocks. That's the nature of a kickoff returner, especially one like Culliver, who plays defense and is on the unit that usually gives up the preceding score.
"I was mad," Culliver said. "So I just tried to make a play and get in their end zone."
While he didn't, the Gamecocks ended up in the end zone after each return.
Without those long returns, they might have been down 17-0 at the half to Kentucky. Given the final score of 28-26, either could be credited as game-saving.
"We were struggling early in the game, as we often do," Spurrier said. "And those kickoff returns put us in good position."
The first long return was enough to give Culliver the school record for kickoff return yardage. He finished the game with 2,039, moving him into sixth on the SEC's career list in that category.
And the junior has done it without a touchdown.
On that 69-yard return, Culliver got a hole to the left sideline, then wiggled out of two tackles before being brought down from behind. Special teams coach Shane Beamer smiled as he said the return "wasn't exactly the way we drew it up, but it worked out well."
The second one was a bit more conventional.
"They like to kick it to the boundary and get all their guys over there," Culliver said. "So I knew if I make one cut and then hit it to the field, I knew I could outrun a couple guys."