By Rixon Lane
To celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the first 10-win season in Gamecock football history, we will be recapping each of South Carolina's games during the 1984 season. On November 3rd, the Gamecocks traveled to Raleigh to face the Wolfpack of N.C. State.
FIRST QUARTER: "Slow starts on the road aren't fun."
N.C. State receives to begin the game. The Wolfpack convert a pair of third down conversions and, on 3rd-and-6 from the Gamecock 25, tailback Vince Evans goes up the middle for a touchdown. Evans carried the ball six times for 56 yards on the drive. The extra point is no good. 6-0 State, 11:17 to go in the first quarter.
The Gamecocks take over and drive to the Wolfpack 23, but have to settle for a 41-yard field goal from Scott Hagler to cut the lead in half. 6-3 State, 6:01 remaining in the first quarter.
On the second play of the ensuing drive, the Gamecocks intercept quarterback Tim Esposito, but are called for roughing the passer. However, the defense answers by forcing a punt from the Gamecock 34. The ball is downed at the 2-yard line.
South Carolina drives to midfield as the first quarter ends with the Gamecocks trailing 6-3.
SECOND QUARTER: "12-point deficits on the road are not fun."
A sack of Allen Mitchell on third down forces another South Carolina punt.
N.C. State can't answer on offense and punts the ball back. After two scores on the opening drives, the defenses are taking over.
Mike Hold, real-life superhero, enters the game at quarterback. On his second offensive snap, he fumbles and N.C. State recovers. We want Kevin White!
The Wolfpack take over at the Gamecock 47, but can only manage a 42-yard field goal from Mike Cofer. 9-3 State.
Three-and-out for South Carolina. Still no Hold magic.
The Gamecock defense racks up back-to-back personal fouls as the Wolfpack drive 60 yards. Mike Miller caps the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Two-point conversion is no good, but N.C. State leads 15-3 with 2:13 left in the first half. These road games aren't nearly as much fun as the home games.
A pair of three-and-outs end the half and N.C. State goes to the locker room with a 15-3 lead.
THIRD QUARTER: "OH MY GOSH STOP THIS NOW!!!"
The fourth drive is the charm for Mike Hold. Starting from the Gamecock 14, the offense converts a pair of 3rd-and-1 attempts before Raynard Brown goes 12 yards for South Carolina's first touchdown. 15-10 N.C. State, 12:23 left in the third quarter.
Once again, the Gamecock defense bends, but doesn't break. The Pack drive all the way to the 18, but Cofer is called on to kick a 31-yard field goal. The kick is good, increasing State's lead to 18-10 with 7:58 to go in the quarter.
South Carolina with a chance to tie the game. The Gamecocks bog down in the red zone and Scott Hagler's 34-yard field goal is no good. Is momentum shifting back to the Wolfpack?
Maybe not. N.C. State's offense has no answer and is forced to punt.
Gamecock ball at their own 40. A big 28-yard gain from Brown pushes the Gamecocks all the way to the N.C. State 15, where the third quarter ends. 18-10 N.C. State.
FOURTH QUARTER: "That was fun."
Once again, the offense is plagued by red zone blues. Hagler's 32-yard attempt is good, cutting State's lead to 18-13 with 14:51 remaining in the game.
Three-and-out from the Wolfpack offense. South Carolina's defense has gotten better and better as the game has gone on.
A golden opportunity for the Gamecock offense, but they appear to be squandering it. Facing 3rd-and-16 from the South Carolina 39, Hold connects with Chris Corley for a 61-yard touchdown pass, the longest play of the game. Going for two, South Carolina breaks out the halfback pass, as Quinton Lewis throws back to Mike Hold in the end zone. Hold breaks out a nifty, knee-knocking dance as the Gamecocks take a 21-18 lead with 11:04 to go.
N.C. State shows it can make the big plays, too. Esposito finds Haywood Jefferies for a 48-yard score, putting the Pack back on top, 25-21, with 9:56 remaining.
Now it's South Carolina's turn. Aided by a 36-yard run by Hold and a late hit penalty, the Gamecocks drive to the N.C. State 14. Thomas Dendy powers up the middle for a touchdown. Gamecocks lead 28-25, 8:36 to go in the game.
N.C. State's offense is rolling. They drive from the Wolfpack 11 to the Gamecock 10 in eight plays. However, on 3rd-and-1 from the 10-yard line, State is flagged for delay of game. A 4-yard pass completion leaves the Wolfpack short of the first down marker and they settle for a 28-yard field goal from Cofer. We've had four consecutive scoring drives in the fourth quarter. 28-28 with 3:26 remaining.
Gamecocks will start at their own 20. Hold keeps right for 4 yards, then Dandy goes around the end for a gain of 26. Hagood picks up 5. They give the ball to Hagood again and he picks up 4, but suffers a broken leg on the play. Facing 3rd-and-1 at the N.C. State 41, Hold fires to Corley for a gain of 18. Dendy goes left for 12 yards to the Wolfpack 11. Dendy plunges ahead for 1, then Lewis gains 4. 3rd-and-5 from the Wolfpack 6. Dendy gets the handoff and goes up the middle for a touchdown. Nine-play, 80-yard drive, and South Carolina leads 35-28 with 50 seconds left.
N.C. State has one last chance. The Wolfpack drive to midfield, but Esposito's final pass is broken up by Rick Rabune and the Gamecocks survive.
South Carolina 35 N.C. State 28
P.S. N.C. State would lose its final two games to end the season at 3-8. Next week, South Carolina returns home for a top-10 showdown against Florida State. The Seminoles enter with a record of 6-1-1.