ATHENS, Ga. — Ray Tanner paced the north sideline at Sanford Stadium as the fourth quarter of South Carolina’s SEC matchup against Georgia on Saturday turned into overtime. To the South Carolina athletics director, the Gamecocks’ former baseball skipper (1997-2012), it felt like the bottom of the ninth or extra innings. Except this time he had no influence on game’s outcome.
Nerves soon turned to jubilation, when Parker White kicked a game-winning field goal and the Gamecocks (3-3, 2-2 SEC) knocked off the No. 3 Bulldogs (5-1, 2-2 SEC) 20-17 in two overtimes.
“I’m just so happy for our university and coach Muschamp and the players and coaches who have worked so hard,” Tanner told Spurs & Feathers outside South Carolina’s locker room after the game. “They’re tireless. They have a great approach to what they do.
“And it’s difficult in this league to win, especially on the road against a team that’s as good as Georgia. So it’s, no doubt, a signature win for us.”
When the game went final, Tanner and South Carolina president Bob Caslen met with Muschamp.
“And president Caslen, I’ll say what he said this morning at breakfast. He said we’d win by three,” Tanner relayed. “Maybe he knew something we didn’t know.
“This is very special.”
But it did not come easy.
“I was looking for a closer,” Muschamp said. “I really did become emotional in the last few moments of the game and the overtimes. I did pace a lot, so I got some good exercise out of it.
“It was just a classic, classic game. This is really what it’s supposed to be like when we’re playing Georgia or Florida or anybody else. It’s hard for either team to lose, and I know that coach Muschamp and [Georgia head coach] Kirby [Smart] are great friends. And there’s a part of that that’s not perfect for either one of them.
“[But] it was a great win for us, no question.”