Four in a row: Big then and now for the Gamecocks

11/25/2012 1:08 AM

11/25/2012 1:20 AM

If you are having a difficult time comprehending the significance of South Carolina’s four-game win streak against Clemson in football, let me help you by pointing out just how long it has been since this last happened.

The previous long streak in the series for USC ran from 1951 through 1954. Here’s how long ago it was in 1954:

• Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was 15 years away from being born.
• Clemson and USC were second-year members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
• Clemson was one year away from making the military optional for students.
• Elvis Presley paid $4 to a Memphis studio to record his first two songs, “Casual Love” and “I’ll Never Stand in Your Way.”
• The school of engineering opened at USC.
• Two-platoon football was eliminated in college in the second season of USC’s streak.
• A crowd of 35,000 attended the “Big Thursday” 2 p.m. game at the state fairgrounds, somewhat shy of the 82,000 announced for Saturday’s game.
• Both USC and Clemson ran the T formation after shifting away from the single wing set a couple of years earlier.
• The average cost of a gallon of gas was 22 cents.
• Mackie Prickett was the Dylan Thompson for USC in that game and Don King was the Tajh Boyd for Clemson.
• Just as Saturday’s win gave Steve Spurrier a 4-1 record against Swinney, USC’s Rex Enright ran his record to 8-3-1 over Clemson’s Frank Howard.
• Neither school had a black student enrolled.
• Six months before the big game, the United States District Court for the District of Kansas ruled that school segregation on the basis of race was illegal in Brown v. Board of Education.
• Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were married that year.
• The Billy O’Dell who played running back for Clemson was not the same Billy O’Dell of Clemson who later pitched in the major leagues.
• The average cost of a new house was $10,250.
• Steve Wadiak, who played in the 1951 USC win, had been dead for two years by the time the USC streak reached four.
• The Rose and Cotton bowls in January of that year were the first color telecasts of sports events on TV.
• Groundbreaking began on Walt Disney’s Disneyland in California.
• The Tiger mascot appeared on the sideline for the first time in 1954.
• Hank Aaron made his Major League Baseball debut in Milwaukee, 12 years before the Braves moved to Atlanta.
• Air Force One, the United States presidential airplane, was christened on November 24.
• The only current Clemson assistant coaches who were born at the time were Dan Brooks, who was 3 years old, and Robbie Caldwell who was nine months old.
• A movie ticket cost 70 cents.
• Donald Russell, who entered USC at age 15 and worked his way through school by pumping gas while rising to No. 1 academically in the 1925 senior class, was the school’s president.
• USC’s enrollment was 4,317, compared to 30,721 today.
• Clemson’s enrollment was 2,600, compared to 19,911 today.
• The first Burger King restaurant was a few days from opening in Miami.
• Spurrier, who broke Enright’s USC record with his 65th victory, was a 9-year-old fourth-grader growing up in Newport, Tenn. Spurrier’s father had just started a Little League baseball program for the city.

About Ron Morris

Ron Morris

Ron Morris

Morris has been employed at The State newspaper for 15 years, the last 11 as sports columnist. He is an Oklahoma native who was reared in Wyoming and graduated from UNC Charlotte. He previously worked for the Durham (N.C.) Morning Herald and the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat.Along the way, Morris has written a book, "An Illustrated History of ACC Basketball" and won numerous national and state awards for sports column writing, enterprise reporting and feature stories. He is a five-time sportswriter of the year winner in South Carolina by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Morris has run a marathon, hitch-hiked across the country and appeared in Sports Illustrated for counting the number of times the ball bounced in a men's basketball game between Catawba College and Appalachian State. Email Ron at or call him at (803) 771-8432.

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