Nov. 21, 2014
By Brad Muller | More Features
Running on to the field at Williams-Brice Stadium with "2001" blaring to 80,000 fans is always one of the most memorable parts about being part of the South Carolina football program. When the Gamecocks host South Alabama on Saturday, South Carolina's seniors will take their final sprint through the smoke as part of the most successful era in the program's history.
"It's going to be kind of shocking knowing that it's my last home game," said senior guard A.J. Cann. "I'm just going to be excited. I know the fans are going to be supportive and be real loud for the last home game."
"It's going to be fun to be playing here again in front of all the good fans," added senior quarterback Dylan Thompson. "We'll be excited and fired up to play."
The Gamecocks have 17 seniors playing in their final home game. This includes Rory Anderson, Damiere Byrd, A.J. Cann, Ryland Culbertson, Jordan Diaz, Patrick Fish, Cody Gibson, Sharrod Golightly, Tyler Hull, Nick Jones, Kadetrix Marcus, Connor McLaurin, Sidney Rhodes, Corey Robinson, J.T. Surratt, Dylan Thompson and Brison Williams. Several other players with a year of eligibility remaining, will also participate in "Senior Day."
This year's senior class has enjoyed three bowl wins and has been part of 38 total victories, which currently ties them with the 2012 senior class for the second most wins of any class in school history. South Carolina also won 11 games in each of the previous three seasons.
"Most of them were here the last three years," Coach Steve Spurrier said. "That was a pretty good impact right there. This year has been some heartbreaking losses as we know, but we can't do anything about it now but to try to finish strong. So that's what the challenge is for the entire team, especially the seniors. They've had wonderful careers, certainly."
"It's an honor because I've been able to play on so many good teams. I'm proud to have the second best winning record for my senior class."
The seniors won't be the only ones who want to make the last home game of the year special.
"They're still our leaders on this team," red-shirt sophomore Gerald Dixon said about his senior teammates. "They pick us up every day and every week; if we won or lost. They still want to finish strong against South Alabama and Clemson. We all told each other we all need to go out as hard as we can."
With the double digit win seasons, several victories over rivals such as Clemson and Georgia, and big postseason bowl wins, each has his own special set of memories.
"There are so many," Cann said. "Last week (win at Florida) was fun, but I will have to go with last year's Missouri game as one of the best. It's an honor because I've been able to play on so many good teams. I'm proud to have the second best winning record for my senior class."
"Good times with teammates," Thompson said of his best memories as a Gamecock. "Through the wins and the tough times, you have those relationships with the guys. It will always be something I remember. I feel good, but we're just trying to finish this year strong. That's our focus right now."
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