For a moment Saturday night, as South Carolina’s students started packing the bottom of the Williams-Brice Stadium stands and moving toward the field, some on social media wondered if they might break through and rush the field.
Instead, as the game ended, the Gamecocks came to them, swarming toward a sea of outstretched arms in the afterglow of the program’s biggest win in years. South Carolina’s players and coaches called the atmosphere electric. The fans, numbering a listed 78,696, got on the Vols on every third down and showed up for the first Williams-Brice night game of 2016.
“Best fans in the world,” linebacker T.J. Holloman said. “They came out tonight rowdy, loud. You could see it in Tennessee’s faces, that our crowd was there. It was affecting them on offense.
“The crowd was just amazing tonight. We just want to give a big thanks to them.”
The senior called them a “major part” of the victory.
Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp has praised the fans after each game this season, often mentioning their patience. Saturday, he focused on something more.
“You could feel the energy when we pulled up for Gamecock Walk. Everybody’s lined up, ready to roll,” Muschamp said. “We appreciate that. Our fan base has a tremendous effect on us and how we go about our business.”
Moments before Muschamp arrived for his postgame duties, the noise outside could be heard in the bowels of the stadium. Fans in great numbers bellowed their volley back and forth, “GAME! COCKS! GAME! COCKS!” as they left the giddy scene and spilled into the Columbia night.