After a very unusual start for South Carolina, the Gamecocks went on a 21-0 run to end the game to get the victory.
In the first quarter, the Cornhuskers were controlling South Carolina on both sides of the ball. They jumped out to an early lead of 13-9 and had more total yards than the Gamecocks. Quarterback Taylor Martinez had just two completions but they totaled for 44 yards and a touchdown. Running back Rex Burkhead was averaging 5.6 yards per carry.
Both teams slowed a bit in the second quarter until the very last play. South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw, who already had a 78-yard pass play earlier in the quarter, got the ball back with 38 seconds in the half. Shaw rolled to his left, broke a few tackles, dodged a diving Cornhusker then chucked it down the field to what seemed like one Gamecock surrounded by three Cornhuskers.
Luckily for Shaw, that one Gamecock was wide receiver Alshon Jeffery who leaped up, grabbed the pass and dove into the end zone as the time expired.
“We practice that all the time,” Jeffery said. “Normally I tip it to someone. Coach Spurrier told me if I got a chance to catch it, catch it and score, that’s what I did,” Jeffery said.
That play set the tone for the rest of the game. After that play South Carolina outgained Nebraska in yardage 132-64 and outscored them 14-0.
“We just didn’t execute well,” Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said. “Plain and simple, our guys didn’t do what they were coached to do.”
Shaw threw six completions for 69 yards and a touchdown in the second half with no interceptions. Running back Kenny Miles ran for nearly half of his yards in the second half and scored the only rushing touchdown on the day.
“We felt like we were better,” Pelini said. “Even after the game we all felt like we were the better team. We were our own worst enemy today.”
South Carolina had less first downs than Nebraska, more penalty yards and just one more third down conversion and yet they won by 17.
The win improves South Carolina to 11-2, their first 11 win season in school history and the best season by coach Steve Spurrier in his tenure at South Carolina.
This also ends a three game bowl-losing streak for the Gamecocks. Since 1992 the SEC is now 11-9 against the Big 10 in the Capital One Bowl.
(Article by Justin Kane)