USC Gamecocks Football

45 years later, this QB-TE duo is still producing touchdowns for the Gamecocks

Former South Carolina quarterback Jeff Grantz rolls out and throws a touchdown pass to Marty Woolbright during the alumni game at the Garnet and Black spring game at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC, Saturday, March 31, 2018.
Former South Carolina quarterback Jeff Grantz rolls out and throws a touchdown pass to Marty Woolbright during the alumni game at the Garnet and Black spring game at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC, Saturday, March 31, 2018. The State

Throw it high.

Jeff Grantz may be long past his playing prime, but a quarterback still knows how to find one of his favorite receivers.

Grantz, in a familiar No. 12 jersey, rolled right and tossed to his 6-foot-5 tight end for a touchdown. It was the 2018 South Carolina alumni game, but for Grantz and Marty Woolbright, it was 1973 all over again.

“Throw it high,” Grantz said. “If you miss, miss it high.

“Yeah, Marty Woolbright. I threw him one on fourth-and-20 against LSU my sophomore year. LSU was ranked No. 3. It was fourth-and-20 and I threw it high and he went up and got it.

“So that brought back some memories from a long, long time ago.”

On Oct. 27, 1973, in Columbia, Grantz hit Woolbright for a 36-yard score on fourth-and-21. The Tigers went on to beat the Gamecocks, 33-29, that afternoon, but a memory was forever cemented.

“We reminisce about it every year,” Woolbright said.

Grantz and Woolbright wereamong about 100 former Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday. The friendly alumni contest – which included scoring bombs from Stephen Garcia – took place prior to the Garnet and Black Game.

Current NFL players such as Oakland Raiders tight end Jared Cook participated, while a former Heisman Trophy winner (George Rogers) watched from the sideline.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Rogers said, “seeing all the old guys. Some of them, I’ve forgotten them. But they’ll look at me real good and I’ll figure them out.”

Rogers, owner of the 1980 Heisman, lounged on a bench while numerous USC alums and stadium workers came to greet him. His popularity was on full display.

“George is great,” said Grantz, an All-American in 1975. “I was George’s first coach. He reminds me of that all the time. I said to George, ‘You made me look great as a coach, I don’t know why I got out of it.’ His freshman year, I was a grad assistant at South Carolina and I was in charge of the offense.

“We’ve been great friends ever since. He’s just been a great ambassador for this university all his life. That’s what I try to do, too.”

Rogers, noticing a former teammate on the edge of the playing surface, bumped a reporter and said, “Bernard Grant.”

Grant, defensive back, was a two-time letter-winner for USC in the 1970s.

“That little short guy right there,” Rogers said. “He was one on of the first guys that I met at South Carolina when I got here.”

Steve Spurrier, the program’s all-time winningest coach, observed the game while wearing a white USC visor. J.D. Fuller, the program’s all-time leader in tackles, watched with “Carolina” across his chest.

Both had high praise for third-year Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp.

"I think Will Muschamp can have the most wins here someday," Spurrier said. "South Carolina's got all the facilities in place now. It's just a mater of getting it going."

Added Fuller: “I think he’s focused, I think he’s the best guy for the job. I’m pretty excited about it.”

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