History Lesson: Missouri (or certain October openers)

The back-to-back SEC East champions have only faced off with South Carolina five times. 

The Gamecocks are 2-3 all-time against Missouri, notching their only two wins in the series in 2012 and 2013. The Tigers topped South Carolina in 1979, 2005 and 2014. 

Although the Gamecocks have little history with Mizzou, South Carolina has had some memorable outings facing SEC opponents in road games to open October after battling a non-conference foe. Stick with me...

Downing the 'Dawgs

After a disappointing 5-5 campaign in 1957, South Carolina was looking to bounce back strong in 1958. The Gamecocks opened the season with an 8-0 shutout over conference foe Duke, but then had to travel to West Point to face No. 8 Army in the final week of September. The Knights humbled South Carolina 45-8 and the Gamecocks had little time to lick their wounds. The following week would mean a trip to Athens. 

South Carolina had not beaten Georgia in 10 tries, a losing streak that dated back to 1908. Alex Hawkins intercepted a Bulldog pass in the opening minutes and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown to give the Gamecocks an early lead. Georgia fumbled a punt minutes later, which set up a 3-yard touchdown run from fullback John Saunders. The early 16-0 deficit was too much for the Bulldogs to overcome and the Gamecocks picked up their first victory over Georgia in over 50 years, winning 24-14. 

South Carolina would go on to have one of its finest seasons ever, upsetting 10th-ranked Clemson  26-6 and winning its final four games of the season to go 7-3 on the year. The Gamecocks finished the season ranked 15th in the final AP poll, marking the first time South Carolina had ever been ranked by the AP to end a season. 

Rolled Tide

Lou Holtz had taken South Carolina to new heights, but a 5-7 record in 2003 had fans eager for a big season in 2004. The Gamecocks were off to their best start since 2001 with a 3-1 mark through September. The only loss of the season for South Carolina had been a 20-16 defeat against No. 3 Georgia and the Gamecocks were coming off a 17-7 home win over Troy. However, South Carolina would open October in a place they had never won before.

The Gamecocks were 0-8 all-time against Alabama on the road, but the Crimson Tide was reeling after a season-ending injury to starting quarterback Brodie Croyle. While Alabama's backup quarterbacks sputtered, South Carolina's shone. Syvelle Newton, splitting time with starter Dondrial Pinkins, rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter at the Gamecock rushing attack rolled up 203 yards. The Gamecocks completed just four passes on the day in a convincing 20-3 win over Alabama, just the second victory against the Tide in school history.

South Carolina sputtered down the stretch, winning just two of its final five contests. The Gamecocks were bowl eligible, but an ugly brawl with Clemson in the regular-season finale caused the school to impose a postseason ban. Holtz would not coach another game in Columbia.

Sweet Smelley

After a crushing collapse to end the 2007 season, South Carolina entered 2008 trying to erase the bitter memories of a season-ending five-game losing streak the previous year. The Gamecocks were 1-2 after conference losses to Vanderbilt and Georgia, but picked up non-conference home wins over Wofford and UAB. However, against the Blazers, starting quarterback Chris Smelley had been replaced by backup Stephen Garcia. The Gamecocks headed to Oxford, Mississippi, the following week, where they had only one win in program history. 

Ole Miss had upset No. 4 Florida the previous week, but the Rebels had no answers for Smelley. The Alabama native threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns, while South Carolina's top-ranked defense limited the Rebels to just three points in the second half. The Gamecocks forced a pair of fumbles, one which was returned for a touchdown by Nathan Peppers, and intercepted Jevan Snead on the game's final drive to seal a 31-24 win. 

South Carolina would rebound from the slow start in conference play to finish 4-4 in the SEC and 7-6 overall. However, the season would be marred by the final three games; a 50-point loss to Florida, an ugly performance against Clemson and a blowout defeat at the hands of the Iowa Iowa in the Outback Bowl.