Oct. 26, 2003
Columbia, S.C. -
The University of South Carolina junior varsity team held off a late comeback by Georgia Military on Sunday afternoon to take the win 31-30 at Williams-Brice Stadium in front of 1,522 fans. The Gamecocks were slow to get started but the offense finally got started in the second quarter. The game was a back and forth battle all game long and it came down even after time had expired.
The Bulldogs (7-1) trailing 31-24 marched down the field and scored on a nine yard touchdown pass from Justin Tyler to Greg Pruitt to trail 31-30. Blake Bartol came in to tie the game with no time left on the clock but the extra point hit the right up-right and that preserved the Carolina JV team's victory.
"It was good to get the walk-ons and some of the younger players a chance to play," said JV Head Coach David Reaves. "Getting these guys playing time can help us out on the varsity and it's even a chance to prove yourself as you are battling to get playing time and maybe a spot on special teams. I think this was a very good idea for our team and I hope we start to do it every year but most of all we had a good time out there today."
The Gamecocks trailed early in the game after Georgia Military posted up two touchdowns by running back Greg Pruitt. Pruitt rushed for scores of 11 and three yards to put the Bulldogs up 14-0 before the Gamecock offense would even get on track.
Trailing 14-0, Bennett Swygert would trigger the offense and start looking at his wide receivers Noah Whiteside and Michael Flint. Swygert hit Whiteside in the end zone on an 11 yard fade pass to get the Gamecocks within seven.
Flint caught six passes for 103 yards, one a 43-yarder down the middle but the most important play of the day came on special teams when the sophomore from Mt. Pleasant blocked Demetrius Hodges punt. The ball landed in the arms of Jared Jeffcoat and he returned the ball eight yards to tie the game at 14.
Just before half time Bennett Swygert hooked up with Noah Whiteside once again on a 66 yard pass that put the Gamecocks up 21-14 at halftime.
The Bulldogs in the second half would not quit as they came out and scored 10 points in the third quarter to take a 24-21 lead into the fourth quarter. Bartol connected on a 21 yard field goal and Tyler hit Adrian Holloway on a 33 yard pass. Carolina would come back as Charlie Carpenter hit a 21 yard field goal to tie the game at 24. The Gamecocks would go ahead 31-24 on a 74 yard drive that took four minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter when Mike Rathe scored on a 3 yard bootleg.
The Bulldogs then came back to take the final minutes off the clock but come up short as Bartol's field goal hit the right up right after Tyler hit Pruitt in the end zone with no time remaining on the clock.
The Gamecock offense was led by their receivers Noah Whiteside who had eight catches for 175 yards and two scores while Andre Hemphill had three receptions for 44 yards. Rathe passed for 167 yards on nine of 19 with one interception while Swygert was eight of 15 for 162 yards and a interception.
"Our wide receivers did a good job today and our offensive line played well," said Bennett Swygert. "They blitzed every down and the receivers made big plays and the offensive line picked up the blitzes. When we were down 14-0 we didn't get down and then we started moving the ball so we got confident. We scored to cut the lead in half and then Flint blocked the punt the game was tied so we knew we could do it."
Carolina's defensive leaders were Jeff Mullis with 15 tackles and Rachiem Monroe had 11 stops.