In South Carolina's first two decades of keeping rushing statistics, one player ran for 900-plus yards in a season: legendary Steve Wadiak, with 998 yards in 1950.
Until, that is, Warren Muir. The player whom coach Paul Dietzel in 1969 called "the toughest inside runner in college football" led the Gamecocks with 969 yards, his best season in a 2,234-yard career that ranks 11th at USC.
Not bad for a guy who never intended to set foot in Columbia.
Muir saw Army football as a way out of his Massachusetts mill town. He endured his plebe year at West Point, but George Terry, the assistant coach who recruited him and "was like a second father to me," followed Dietzel south, and Muir transferred to USC in the fall of 1966.
"I left my snow shovel behind," said Muir, now with Gillam & Associates, an Aiken construction company that builds Wal-Marts.
He led USC in rushing with 805 yards as a sophomore but ceded primary duties to tailback Rudy Holloman in 1968. In 1969, the duo gave the Gamecocks a solid complement to Tommy Suggs' arm.
Surprising, then, that Muir's best yardage game that season came when USC debuted its "Carolina Spread" attack - a precursor of the run-and-shoot - against No. 3 Tennessee in Knoxville.
"We kind of caught (the Vols) by surprise," Muir said. "We had success moving the ball, but they caught us off guard with long passes late and turned it around" in Tennessee's 29-14 win.
Still, the Gamecocks trailed 16-14 early in the fourth quarter. With USC's players taking wide splits, Muir found room inside to rush for 159 yards and a 1-yard touchdown that gave USC a 7-3 lead.
Two things remain vivid, Muir said: Tennessee's large stadium (62,868 fans saw the game) with its cutting-edge AstroTurf field - "it was like a pool table; I imagined a guy leaning over the stands with a cue stick," he said - and the delicate condition of his stomach.
"We called the turf 'Doug's Rug' (for UT coach Doug Dickey)," Muir said. "I had a flu bug, wasn't sure I'd play, and I spent most of my time on the bench ruining part of 'Doug's Rug.'
"I felt like crap, but I played pretty good."
- Bob Gillespie