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South Carolina vs. Clemson: Top 10 Moments in the History of the Palmetto Bowl

Lee SchechterContributor IIINovember 25, 2013

South Carolina vs. Clemson: Top 10 Moments in the History of the Palmetto Bowl

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Saturday marks the 111th meeting between South Carolina and Clemson in the Palmetto Bowl. 

    The Gamecocks own a four-game win streak against Clemson and will look to extend their winning ways under the leadership of head coach Steve Spurrier

    Clemson brings in a potent offense led by quarterback Tajh Boyd as the seniors try to pick up their first win against South Carolina. 

    The game goes down at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday, and it is the first time that both teams are ranked in the top 10 at the time of the matchup. 

    There are big BCS implications for both teams and neither wants to leave without the Hardee's Trophy. 

    Picking the top 10 moments in a rivalry that dates back to 1896 is no easy task, so here goes. 

    Here are the top 10 moments in the history of the Palmetto Bowl. 

10. The Brawl

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    Don't get mad. 

    I am in no way saying this is actually a top-10 moment in the rivarly. 

    It is a low point. 

    Brawls and fighting like this have no place in sports, but it is a heated moment in the rivalry and shows just how intense the Palmetto Bowl and rivalry games in general can be. 

    Clemson dominated the game and won 29-7, and this marked the last time Lou Holtz would coach the Gamecocks. 

    Yet, a brawl like this one deserves a place on the list because it shows the history, intensity and ridiculousness of the rivalry. 

    Remember that this is football, and it can get ugly. 

    Let's hope the Palmetto never sees an incident like this one again. 

9. The Teams Make Nice

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    Both teams needed to put the brawl behind them. 

    South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier and Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden met and shook hands with Spurrier saying that this year's game would be a lot friendlier than the last one. 

    The players also "made nice" after the infamy of last year's disgrace of a game. 

    A gesture like this set the series back on track as one that is about hard-nosed football and genuinely focused on the game. 

    On a side note, Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst earned his fourth win against South Carolina, the first quarterback to do so in school history.  

8. Trickery with the Return

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    Everyone loves some trickery, especially one that involves a cross-field pass on the return. 

    The 1994 Palmetto Bowl was highlighted by trickery by the Gamecocks. 

    On this kick return, South Carolina running back Brandon Bennett laterals the ball across the field to defensive back Reggie Richardson. Richardson takes off to the races and goes 85 yards all the way down inside the Clemson 10-yard line. 

    South Carolina goes ahead and secures the huge 33-7 victory in a major Palmetto Bowl win. 

     

7. Signing the Paw

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    So, the title of this slide should be South Carolina quarterback Steve Taneyhill's mullet. 

    Seriously, that thing is glorious. 

    But, in all seriousness, Taneyhill was as incredible as his mullet in this win. 

    South Carolina started the year in terrible fashion with an 0-5 record. 

    Enter Taneyhill. 

    The freshman phenom at the time brought his team to four wins in five of his starts, including this 24-13 Palmetto Bowl victory. 

    And Taneyhill famously "signed the paw" at midfield.

    Talk about style! 

6. Black Magic

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    At the time, "Black Magic" became the greatest season in South Carolina school history. 

    With a 9-1 record going into the Palmetto Bowl, South Carolina knew how big this game was for them—bigger than any year prior. 

    The Gamecocks felt the pressure early as they struggled to get going and fell behind 21-3 to the Tigers. 

    South Carolina fought back valiantly but still needed a final push at the end to pick up the win. 

    Gamecocks quarterback Mike Hold took the helm at the end and led the last charge, an 86-yard touchdown drive. 

    The game had to have one final touch, and Clemson committed a penalty on an extra-point try leading to a re-kick and the game-winning extra point. 

    This Palmetto Bowl went down in the record books as an all-time great one for South Carolina. 

5. The Last-Second Win

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    For a rivalry that has 110 battles under its belt, it is shocking that only one game has ended with a last-second, game-winning play. It took until 2007 for a game to end in this fashion. 

    South Carolina had the lead 21-20 with just seconds left on the clock.

    Clemson, then ranked No. 21, needed to pick up the win and also wanted to extend head coach Tommy Bowden's record, especially against the old ball coach Steve Spurrier. 

    Spurrier opted not to call a timeout and attempt to ice the kicker.

    The field goal was only a 35-yarder off the foot of Clemson kicker Mark Buchholz as time expired, leaving Clemson celebrating and South Carolina crushed at the hands of defeat. 

     

4. It's the Law

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Football. Football. Football. 

    It brings about some crazy rules, but hey, this is football we are talking about. 

    In 1952, amid the potential end to the rivalry series, South Carolina's General Assembly organized a law that passed stating that Clemson and South Carolina must play a football game every year. 

    Well, the law still stands today. 

    South Carolina obtained bragging rights in the first game of the series that will last forever by shutting out Clemson 6-0. 

3. The Prank

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    Clowney was not around at the time of the Prank, but I'm sure his teammates would have enjoyed watching it go down.
    Clowney was not around at the time of the Prank, but I'm sure his teammates would have enjoyed watching it go down.Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

    In 1961, a non-football moment of the Palmetto Bowl occurred and will live on forever. 

    Some frat stars of South Carolina's Sigma Nu pulled the greatest prank in the history of the rivalry. 

    Before the game, the Sigma Nu frat boys stormed the field wearing Clemson uniforms for some pregame warm-ups. They made a fool of themselves, creating a mockery of the Tigers in front of a large crowd of fans. 

    From missing passes to pathetic workouts, the frat boys fooled everyone by even getting the Clemson band to play "Tiger Rag." 

    The situation nearly got hostile, but in the end, South Carolina got the last laugh. 

2. The Catch II

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    Clemson quarterback Woody Dantzler heaves the ball down the field in total desperation and look who comes down with it.

    Tigers wide receiver Rod Gardner, infamous for what could have been called a push-off (you be the judge), hauls in a 50-yard catch as the clock ticks down below 10 seconds.

    Gardner's catch sets up a game-winning 25-yard field goal by Aaron Hunt, and Clemson fans erupt in a chorus of cheers for the miraculous victory.

    It was an infamous win that was in style for Clemson and heavily disputed by South Carolina.

    To this day, Clemson calls it "The Catch II," whereas South Carolina calls it "The Push-Off." 

1. "The Catch"

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    The only play that can outdo "The Catch II" is the original, known as "The Catch." 

    It's once again the fourth quarter, in the 1977 Palmetto Bowl. Clemson is down 27-24 with under a minute to go. Clemson is knocking on the door, though. 

    Clemson quarterback Steve Fuller tosses one up into the end zone and a sprawling wide receiver by the name of Jerry Butler makes a dive and lures in the ball for the go-ahead touchdown. 

    Clemson wins the game 31-27 on this memorable play. 

    While South Carolina fans may still be upset about the play, this is one of the most memorable Palmetto Bowl plays. 

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