With its third straight appearance in a New Year’s Day bowl game, South Carolina is steadily building a reputation for quality.
A win over No. 19 Wisconsin (9-3) in the Capital One Bowl would give the No. 8 Gamecocks a third straight 11-2 record and Top 10 final ranking.
“We’re letting the world know that South Carolina has a great football program,” senior cornerback Jimmy Legree said. “We feel like we can compete with anybody we line up against. It feels great to be invited to all these bowl games.”
Legree called the team’s camaraderie an important aspect in their successful run, as their off-field friendships have helped their on-field play.
“The closer the bond that you have with your teammates, the more you trust each other and the better you play,” Legree said.
Junior guard A.J. Cann agreed.
“Most of these guys came in together, so we enjoy each other,” he said.
Sophomore running back Mike Davis turned his Saturday afternoon media appearance into a spectacle by inviting all the team’s running backs to join him in front of cameras and reporters. That crowd drew tight end Rory “Busta” Anderson, who grabbed a microphone and leaned in to ask Davis a question.
“Busta Anderson, I think he declared for the (NFL),” Davis said with a laugh, prompting Anderson to move in front of the cameras and refute Davis’ joke.
“Y’all, please don’t listen to nothing Mike Davis says,” Anderson said. “I will be here next year. Thank you, Gamecock Nation.”
Tailback George Rogers holds the record for most yards rushing by a USC player in a bowl game with 133 in the 1979 Hall of Fame Bowl, which ended in a 24-14 loss to Missouri, long before either school had joined the SEC. Rogers used the game as a springboard to win the Heisman Trophy the following season. Quarterback Blake Mitchell holds the record for most yards passing by a USC player in a bowl game with 323 against Houston in the 2006 Liberty Bowl. His bowl-record four touchdown passes helped propel USC to a 44-36 victory and gave Steve Spurrier his first bowl win as South Carolina’s coach.
“We’ve got to win the line of scrimmage. We’ve got to be physical up front. We’ve got to play hard. We’ve got to play fast. We’ve got to win the line of scrimmage. (Wisconsin is) big up front. They’re physical. We know they love to run the football, and that’s going to be a challenge for us. We’ve got to line up and play well. We want to be aggressive as possible like always.” – USC defensive line coach Deke Adams on what the Gamecocks must do to slow the Badgers’ ground game