USC Gamecocks Football

Will Muschamp’s message to his seniors entering their final game

Will Muschamp previews South Carolina’s Belk Bowl matchup with Virginia

South Carolina Gamecocks football coach Will Muschamp previews his team's Dec. 29 Belk Bowl matchup with the Virginia Cavaliers
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South Carolina Gamecocks football coach Will Muschamp previews his team's Dec. 29 Belk Bowl matchup with the Virginia Cavaliers

Will Muschamp’s final game as a player wasn’t in a bowl.

No, his 1994 Georgia Bulldogs didn’t make the postseason. They did, however, close with a 48-10 win against Georgia Tech in the Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate rivalry game, one week after tying No. 3 Auburn.

So Muschamp closed his college career with a couple pretty good memories, and that theme flows into the message he’s giving his seniors as they head into the Belk Bowl matchup against Virginia on Dec. 29.

“As much as anything, you’d like to go out with a win,” Muschamp said. “Your lasting memory of your last football game, you want to be in a situation where, a victorious locker room is a lot better than the other.”

His two seasons have seen both sides of it. His first team sent the seniors out with an overtime loss against South Florida. The Gamecocks rallied after falling behind by double digits, but couldn’t out-duel an explosive Bulls attack and Quinton Flowers.

That somber Birmingham Bowl was a stark contrast to the delirious, joyful players marching around the field after rallying from 16 points down and stunning favored Michigan in the Outback Bowl last season.

The Gamecocks are four-point favorites against the Cavaliers. Virginia isn’t close to as strong a team as Michigan was, nor does the program have that helmet cache.

But it’s one more game, one more shot for a small group of seniors that includes Bryson Allen-Williams, Jacob August, Steven Montac, K.C. Crosby and Rashad Fenton, to play. Allen-Williams is working back from ankle surgery to play.

So there’s a message to them to cherish it, and a message to everyone else to support that group.

“That, as much as anything, for the young player to understand, this is the last time that these young men will have the opportunity to wear a Gamecock uniform,” Muschamp said. “It’s important to send them out the right way.”

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