For those who viewed the football game between South Carolina and Missouri on television on Saturday, it will go down as one of the most memorable games they'll ever view. Gamecock fan or not, USC's 37-35 victory was filled with so many twists, turns and oddities that it will leave an indelible mark on one's memory.
For those who were within the confines of Williams-Brice Stadium though and went through the wildness of the game and the weather with those playing and coaching the game, it will be THE game the overwhelming majority will talk about having seen in person. Of course, USC fans will remember it with a sense of glee while Mizzou fans will remember it with disappointment or irritation, but it will take something outrageous to happen for another game to move to the top of their "having seen in person" charts.
From a monsoon of rain for the better part of the third quarter that no doubt played a part in allowing South Carolina to rally from a 23-14 halftime deficit to a 31-23 lead to a lightning delay that stopped the game for over an hour and set up a dramatic ending, the weather played a major role in this game becoming an "instant classic." Then there was the overturn of a 70-yard Missouri touchdown run when the replay showed the Tiger running back ever so slightly stepping out of bounds as a Gamecock defender made a last-gasp effort to stop him. Instead of trailing 30-21, Carolina still found itself behind just 23-21 and ended up getting the football back at midfield after a series of Missouri mistakes.
And for USC fans it will go down as the game in which redshirt senior Michael Scarnecchia put his stamp on the football program's history. Scarnecchia led the Gamecocks on a last-minute drive that led to a Parker White 33-yard field goal with two seconds left and a victory in his first career start.
Whether Scarnecchia ever basks in the spotlight again over the final seven or eight games of his South Carolina career, he will always be remembered for his performance in this game. He should, however, get another opportunity to add to his legacy.
Getting the chance to play because starter Jake Bentley wasn't healthy enough to play, Scarnecchia should be behind center for the Gamecocks' first offensive snap against Texas A&M on Saturday whether or not Bentley is completely healthy. He did more than enough to earn another start, even if he had not led the offense on the winning drive.
Scarnecchia played with composure throughout the contest and made very few ill-advised throws. He also threw a very catchable ball, something that Bentley struggles with at times as he is wont to overthrow receivers. Scarnecchia also did a good job of looking off defenders before going to the receiver he wanted to, and he had no issue throwing underneath to keep drives alive.
Perhaps Scarnecchia had his moment in the sun on Saturday and won't be able to ever duplicate that again, but he should get the chance against the Aggies. He may have to go again because Bentley isn't healthy enough, but even if Bentley is, let him sit and watch. If Scarnecchia struggles, go back to Bentley and there should be nothing lost.
Scarnecchia did nothing against the Tigers that should disqualify him from an opportunity to continue that wave of momentum.
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