All over the field on Saturday, you saw some names making plays that will go down as the winningest senior class in South Carolina history.
From D.J. Swearinger to Devin Taylor to Byron Jerideau to Kenny Miles, these veterans came to play in the final home game of their careers and they all performed at a high level when they needed it the most.
Take a look at the players who were the top tacklers for the Gamecocks on Saturday – D.J. Swearinger (12 tackles), Shaq Wilson (10 tackles), Byron Jerideau(10 tackles), Devin Taylor(eight tackles) and Reginald Bowens(six tackles). Recognize those names? You should. They all took part in today's Senior Day activities.
Swearinger led the way with 12 total tackles for the Gamecocks including a big forced fumble with the Terriers driving late in the third quarter. Wofford had mounted a 14-play drive and found themselves on the South Carolina 27-yard line. The Terriers' Octavius Harden rushed for two yards to the South Carolina 25-yard line where Swearinger was waiting. The senior safety from Greenwood laid a big hit on Harden and forced a fumble that was recovered by Brison Williams.
It was a 7-7 tie game at this point in the game and as it would turn out, it basically sealed the game for South Carolina. The Gamecocks went on a 15-play drive the following series and capped it off with a field goal by Adam Yates from 23 yards. South Carolina went out front 10-7 and remained there the rest of the way.
After a three-and-out the next series by Wofford, the Gamecocks would drive down the field thanks to a few nice runs from Kenny Miles. Miles had 14 yards on three carries on the five play drive that South Carolina's Connor Shaw finished with a eight-yard touchdown pass to Ace Sanders for a 17-7 lead.
With the game seemingly getting in control for South Carolina, it was time for another pair of seniors to make their mark in today's game. Wofford started the next drive of the game on the South Carolina 25-yard line. After a two-yard run by Donovan Johnson, the Terriers would call on star fullback Eric Breitenstein. Breitenstein, who finished the game with xx yards, would carry the ball only to meet senior linebacker Reginald Bowens. Bowens forces the fumble and another senior would find it. Akeem Auguste picked up the loose football and raced to the end zone for a 31-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
Auguste picked up his first interception of his long career last week against Arkansas. It was the most playing time he had received since he was a starter at safety in 2010. Auguste has suffered from various injuries throughout his career but luck may finally be on his side. This week, Auguste earned the start at cornerback and picked up another first of his career – defensive touchdown.
Auguste was asked after the game what he had in store for next week. His response?
"Wait and see."
Coach Spurrier talked after the game about how proud he was of the defense. He went to talk about the accomplishments of some of his defensive players from Saturday's game.
"We got some turnovers and got the defensive score by Akeem Auguste. D.J. Swearinger had a heck of a game again. I think Byron Jerideau had 10 or 11 tackles inside there."
All three are – you guessed it – seniors.
This senior group has been able to accomplish a lot of firsts and near impossible feats for the Gamecocks. First 11-win season. First SEC championship. Three straight wins over Georgia and Clemson. These players will be remembered for their accomplishments on the field and will forever be known as a group that did the unthinkable at South Carolina.
You can consider these young men trailblazers. They've been able to show that coming to South Carolina – and playing football here – is something you can be proud of.
Coach Lorenzo Ward summed it up best Saturday afternoon.
"We have a great group of young men, we have been very blessed that they have been a part of this South Carolina team. The senior leadership we have had all season has just been tremendous. I think they are going to go down as one of the best groups that ever played at South Carolina and I believe that title is well deserved."
Seniors lead the way
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