South Carolina and Missouri will meet for the third time as conference brethren on Saturday.
Much of the conversation on Tuesday was about the second time.
Steve Spurrier, Dylan Thompson and Sharrod Golightly each spoke about the Gamecocks’ incredible comeback at Missouri last year, a 17-0 fourth-quarter lead disappearing as an injured and ill Connor Shaw came off the bench to lead USC to a double-overtime win. The memory lingers, especially now that it’s been announced that Shaw will return as the Browns have a bye week.
Perhaps it will be a psychological edge – can you imagine Shaw coming out to do the “Game-Cocks” cheer before the game, especially if Missouri is already on the field? The expressions on their faces would be priceless. Missouri’s players spoke at SEC Media Days about how that game felt strange, that even with a 10-point lead after USC scored its first touchdown, there was an uneasy feeling on the Tigers’ sideline.
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That game defined Shaw and also defined USC’s run over the past three seasons. Spurrier said it again on Tuesday – “Somehow or another, it’s been working out for us. I don’t know if it will continue, though.”
The 2013 game was grand, but it’s 2014. The Gamecocks can play much better than they have, although they’ve won three in a row.
Memories are great, but even with the guy that made so many coming home, memories won’t win the next game.