George Rogers - 1980 Heisman Trophy
1980 Heisman Trophy winner and consensus first-team All-American
1980 NCAA Back of the Year and the ABC-TV 1980 Player of the Year
No. 1 overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints
1981 NFL Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl selection
1981 leading rusher in the NFL
1988 Super Bowl Champion with the Washington Redskins
1997 National Football Foundation Hall of Fame inductee
No. 38 jersey retired by South Carolina following his final home game in 1980
Member of USC Athletic Hall of Fame, South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame, Georgia Athletic Hall of Fame, and New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame
Other Career Figures: 113.1 rushing yards per game; 129.0 all-purpose yards per game; 202 points scored (31 touchdowns and two 2-point conversions); 12 kickoff returns for 339 yards (28.3 avg.)
The Gamecocks win the 1969 ACC Championship
Entering the 1969 campaign, South Carolina had not had a winning season since 1959.
Paul Dietzel was in his fourth season as the Gamecocks’ head coach.
Carolina opened the regular season with conference wins over Duke and North Carolina.
Wins over conference rivals NC State and Maryland highlighted the month of October. A 24-6 win at Wake Forest gave Carolina a 5-0 conference mark and the ACC title, its first championship in 75 years of collegiate competition.
In the regular-season finale, the Gamecocks scored the first three times they had the ball against Clemson, opening up a 17-0 lead. The Tigers cut the deficit to 17-13 by halftime, but Carolina tallied another 10 points in the second half to walk away with a 27-13 win.
A 7-3 regular-season record propelled the Gamecocks into the Peach Bowl where they met West Virginia. It marked Carolina’s first bowl appearance since 1945.
Warren Muir was a consensus All-American. Freddy Zeigler, who came to Carolina as a walk-on, broke all conference reception records and was named to the All-ACC team. Tommy Suggs, Billy DuPre, Jimmy Poston, Pat Watson and Dave DeCamilla were also named All-ACC. DeCamilla won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy.
Other standouts included Rany Yoakum, Jim Mitchell, Tyler Hellams, Billy Ray Rice, Don Buckner, Tony Fusaro, Rudy Holloman, Andy Chavous, Lynn Hodge, Dave Lucas, George McCarthy and Dickie Harris. Black Magic - The Gamecocks' winningest season ever
Joe Morrison was in his second year as the head coach at South Carolina and was coming off a 5-6 season in 1983.
A desperation trick play, a halfback pass, with Quinton Lewis tossing a 40-yard strike to Chris Wade in the final two minutes of the game, rescued Carolina from embarrassment in a 31-24 win over the Citadel in the season opener.
Easy wins over Duke and Kansas State sandwiched around an upset win over highly-favored Georgia gave Carolina a 4-0 record, its best start since 1928.
A second-half flurry lifted Carolina over mighty Pittsburgh, then an amazing 22-point fourth quarter in front of a national television audience propelled the Gamecocks to a 36-32 win at Notre Dame in what has been regarded as one of the greatest wins in school history.
Wins over East Carolina and NC State set up a showdown between the fifth-ranked Gamecocks and 11th-ranked Florida State. The “Fire Ants” were magnificent that night in Columbia, intercepting seven Seminole passes in a 38-26 win before another national television audience.
At 9-0 and ranked No. 2 in the nation behind only the Nebraska Cornhuskers, “Black Magic” became known throughout the land.
Despite a disappointing loss at Navy, Carolina rebounded with another heart-stopping, come-from-behind win, defeating Clemson, 22-21, to finish the regular season with a 10-1 record and earn an invitation to the Gator Bowl.