Through the ups and downs, what a ride the 2021 football season was.
Shane Beamer’s Gamecocks proved to be a resilient bunch, fighting their way to a 7-6 overall record and a win the Duke’s Mayo Bowl over UNC to cap it all off.
Today, we look back at the season that was and reflect on the top plays from the 2021 season.
5. Dak Joyner Gets The Fireworks Going Early In Charlotte
We all saw the offensive outburst coming that took place in Charlotte, right?
After a much maligned career over his first few years at South Carolina, Dak Joyner finally got his shot under center for the Gamecocks.
And boy, did he ever deliver.
The opening touchdown pass to Jaheim Bell was arguably the best throw made by a USC quarterback the entire season and sparked a huge day as the real Carolina rolled to it’s first bowl win under Shane Beamer.
4. Big Man Touchdown Against The Gators
“Rumblin’, Bumblin’, Stumblin'”
Is there anything better than a “big man touchdown” in the game of football?
Jabari Ellis’ scoop and score provided what felt like the final knockout punch in one of the most fun games at Williams-Brice Stadium in quite some time.
It also couldn’t have happened to a better dude, as Ellis bleeds garnet & black and wanted to go out with a bang after returning in 2021 for his final season.
3. Only One Hand Necessary For Jalen Brooks
The challenge when it comes to making these lists is weighing “best football play” vs. “most impactful play”.
Brooks’ one handed catch on the sideline in Athens is not only arguably the play of the year for South Carolina, but one of the best catches seen in college football this season.
The Wingate transfer’s snag was seen all over ESPN/SportsCenter in the following days and is still one of the best pure plays of 2021.
2. The Tide Turns At East Carolina
Arguably the most underrated play of the Gamecocks 2021 season.
South Carolina was all but done for, staring at a two touchdown deficit on the road in Greenville, NC.
The Gamecocks had done nothing all day and it felt like all momentum was on the Pirates side.
Then, a spark. Staley’s pick six gave USC much needed good vibes heading into the locker room, sparking a gutsy come from behind 20-17 win that all but saved Carolina’s bowl chances early in the 2021 season.
1. Zeb Noland Saves The Gamecocks Season
So, when’s Disney coming out with their movie on Gamecocks QB Zeb Noland?
One of the best stories in college football, the former GA suited up for one final season after starting signal caller Luke Doty went down early in fall camp with a foot injury.
While he wasn’t perfect, Noland was instrumental in helping lead the Gamecocks to a bowl game in Shane Beamer’s first season as head coach.
Carolina found themselves staring at an embarrassing home loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores, a team South Carolina hadn’t lost to in over a decade.
Luke Doty’s day had been rough to say the least. Insert the unlikely hero Zeb Noland, who guided the Carolina offense on a eight play, 75 yard drive in which he went 4-7 for 66 yards.
It was all capped off by the game winner to Xavier Legette in the back of the end zone, a play that all but ultimately saved the Gamecocks season and kept postseason hopes alive.