September 22nd, 2012.
Yes, you read the date right. The 2012 matchup between South Carolina and Missouri will always have a special place in my heart. To this day I remember walking out of the stadium grinning ear to ear after the Gamecocks beat down the Tigers that Saturday afternoon.
The two foes met that day for the first time as SEC opponents. The previous meeting between the two teams resulted in a 38-31 comeback win for the Tigers, in the 2005 Liberty Bowl, a game that would make any South Carolina fan sick to their stomach.
Those who remembered were looking for revenge against Mizzou, although, revenge wouldn’t be a “gimmie.”
Missouri was seeking their first SEC win after losing their matchup with Georgia (in the 4th quarter) two weeks prior.
The Tigers made fans nervous coming into the game as they had certainly proved themselves worthy while in the Big XII. Out of Mizzou and Texas A&M (both teams joined the SEC in 2012), Missouri, at the time, certainly appeared to be the more intimidating opponent.
As kickoff neared, Carolina fans began to become a little nervous, that the Tigers, hungry for a bounce back, would upset Carolina on their own field.
South Carolina struggled early offensively, as they fumbled, and were stopped on 4th down on the tiger one yard line. That was until the mighty Ace Sanders, returned a punt for 49 yards, breaking a tackle from almost the entire Missouri punting team in the process.
Afterward the Gamecocks had little difficulty scoring, as they put up 21 points in the remainder of the first half. During halftime, Carolina fans chanted “S-E-C S-E-C” to all the Missouri players and fans.
During the game, Connor Shaw, had one of his most sensational performances as quarterback for the Gamecocks. He ended up with a near perfect 20-21 COMP 249 yds and 2 touchdowns. Shaw later received SEC honors.
After going up 31-3 South Carolina began to take their foot off the gas and threw on the cruise control. Missouri would score another touchdown before time expired to make the final score 31-10.
Carolina fans left Williams Brice that Saturday relieved but also excited for the future. This was the first game of the season the team proved they were dangerous, and that plenty of distinguished wins were to come for them (which there were). Also… “Damn! That Shaw kid is something else!”
Although this game is looked over by many, at its time it was a very significant win for the team at the time. It proved that Carolina was a team to fear and that Sheldon Richardson (stated the SEC was a bunch of “old man football”) and the Missouri Tigers were a terrible , at the same time. And boy was it a fun one for Carolina fans.