It’s had a prank, a brawl, two catches (one that is often called a push-off) and nearly a war.
The last never happened, but it sowed the seeds for The Rivalry.
South Carolina and Clemson have played each other in football 112 times, the second-longest uninterrupted college football rivalry in the country behind Wisconsin-Minnesota (1906-present; Gamecocks-Tigers 1909-present). A six-year streak (1903-08) where the schools didn’t play each other after armed Clemson cadets marched on armed USC students after a Gamecock win in 1902 was one of the only times where there’s been peace and mutual respect among the two schools.
Simply, the football winner gets to crow about it all year. After a 56-20 demolition of Clemson in 1975, the Gamecocks ceded serious ground to their in-state brethren, usually losing four straight before winning one. That changed when the Gamecocks won five straight from 2009-13, all under Steve Spurrier. It’s the longest winning streak USC has had in the series.
Clemson broke it in 2014.
Throughout, The Rivalry has had several memorable moments. USC’s Sigma Nu chapter so thoroughly impersonated the Tigers in pre-game warm-ups in 1961 that Clemson fans were fooled until the Nu’s broke into “the most prissified dance you’ve ever seen.”
That led to a fan melee that the teams despicably mimicked in 2004, costing each squad a bowl berth.
There was also Jerry Butler’s catch to beat USC in 1977 and Rod Gardner’s push-off/catch over Andre Goodman to win in 2000. There was Mike Hold presenting the ball to William “The Refrigerator” Perry at the conclusion of the 1984 USC win and the effervescent Steve Taneyhill in 1992, arms outstretched at Clemson and signing his name in the Tiger paw at midfield.
Made and missed game-winning field goals and individual moments of glory or goat, all because of The Rivalry game. What happens this year?