The intensity of the situation was nearing as high as one might find in a college football game.
South Carolina’s defense was desperately trying to hold off Missouri’s offense in the late going Saturday. The Tigers needed to just get into field goal range. They’d already got as far as USC’s 38 before a holding penalty, with more than 2:30 on the clock.
Lightning struck — twice — and the teams had to quickly go from the fever pitch of that moment to waiting around, to almost starting again, to waiting around. And then they had to dive back into it.
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“You’ve got to get your juice back, man,” Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp. “You’ve got to get your juice back. No choice.”
That was the message South Carolina’s staff delivered. There’s likely something delicate about keeping a team even, yet ready to get hyped up again, but not so hyped up they try to do too much.
So the coaches opted for a simple approach.
“We go back in, go over the adjustments the first time,” Muschamp said. “We go back on the field. They tell us to go back in. I told the staff, let’s give them about eight minutes, let them eat a little bit, get some fluids back in their bodies. We’re going to go back and do it again.”
They ended up doing it again and then some. The defense held enough to force an absurdly long kick. Missouri’s Tucker McCann drilled it anyway from 57 yards, seven longer than any he’d ever hit.
So the offense had to ratchet up, execute a one-minute drive with a backup quarterback and pull out the 37-35 win.
During the break, Gamecocks players did different things, changed shoes or grabbed a sandwich. But as they hung out for more than an hour, they had the end goal in mind.
“We knew the situation,” defensive end Bryson Allen-Williams said. “We knew we had four plays. We knew we’re on the 48. We knew we had to go out there and make a stop, get the offense the ball back.”