With Tennessee at 0-4 in the SEC this year, the Gamecocks have to be thinking that a win here will put them in bowl eligibility (with a win over South Alabama, of course). But with every game in this series, it seems that Tennessee finds a way to make the contest interesting. This year, for the first time since the 2011 debacle against Auburn, the Gamecocks will be “back in black”. Here’s a look at some numbers that could make the difference in the game…or at least how Halloween-happy superstitious fans want to see.
7-23-2: This is the all-time record against Tennessee. Not good. The Cocks first win against the Vols came in the first meeting, in 1903. But since then, it’s been all Tennessee. From 1993-2004 the Gamecocks couldn’t buy a win against Rocky Top. But then, a magical thing happened… well, Steve Spurrier happened. Until the lost last season, the Gamecocks had notched 3 straight. That gives the Gamecocks a 6-16 record against the Vols on Halloween (since joining the SEC).
October 1, 2011: The famous Auburn cry-baby call. Apparently, the Auburn coaching staff didn’t like the uniforms the Gamecocks came out to play in. Carolina came out sporting an all-black Wounded Warrior jersey, with dark toned numerals. The coaches said it was too difficult to read, and the Gamecocks had to go back and change. Carolina lost the game, 13-16, and the black uni hasn’t been seen since.
Black helmet return?: Most likely not. But, anything may be possible at this point. At his press conference Tuesday, Spurrier said several times that he wanted the crowd to be fired up. The HBC has generally been complementary of the fan-base (and the student section) this year. So repeating this phrase several times for emphasis means something. Coming out in black, on Halloween could do the trick. But don’t get too excited. The last time the Gamecocks wore black helmets was the 2004 campaign which ended…in a brawl. Before that, the Cocks hadn’t donned the black dome since 1974.
Finally, a real stat: Just to throw it out there, Tennessee’s defense has actually played pretty well. Outside of linebacker A.J. Johnson, the Vols have the 2nd ranked pass defense (Carolina has the 3rd ranked) and 6th ranked overall (Carolina has the 7th ranked) in the SEC. Here’s the rub: Tennessee has the 10th ranked rushing defense. With the Gamecocks powerful run game, if the trinity of Davis, Wilds, and Carson/Williams have a big day, they should be able to keep the Volunteers in check.
The game is at 7:30pm on November 1, televised on the SEC Network.