Fiesta on the football Field; Mojo Rising

The first game of the season is always a nail-biter: No matter how good your team has historically been, you can never be sure what will happen.

When you're a South Carolina Gamecock and your team is not exactly reliable, the tension is even worse. I'm proud to say that my Gamecocks showed up for their debut 2010 performance, with the offense, defense and special teams performing with panache. It was a statement win: After a shaky first possession, the Cocks pulled it together and smoked Southern Mississippi in convincing fashion. The final score? 41-13.

Mojo rising

I was nervous about the game, because my favorite talisman - a globe-shaped glass pendant filled with red earth from my home state of South Carolina - shattered minutes before kickoff, when I accidentally banged it on a brass doorknob. As I swept up the jagged pieces, I wondered: Was it a portent of doom for my team's season? A sign that the dreaded Chicken Curse was about to rear its ugly and familiar head?

Doug Jolley, football beat writer for and a dear friend, assured me it wasn't.

"The Chicken Curse died the day USC won the baseball national championship," he said. "As a memento from the Chicken Curse days, it was necessary for your pendant to shatter before the football season officially began, so as to not carry any negative mojo forward. Sorry, Ronda, but those are the mojo rules."

The game in a nutshell

Late in the first quarter, Carolina was up 7-3 over Southern Mississippi. But the Cocks make chicken scratch of the Eagles with a 27-3 on-field fiesta than included drives of 92, 83, 62 and 48 yards.

Stephen Garcia, our good-looking junior quarterback, not only scored on a 22-yard run; he also overcame his predilection for dangerous tosses that result in interceptions. He completed 16 passes for nearly 200 yards. And did I mention that he's good-looking?

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