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November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

We here at Gamecock Girl wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving full of leisure and lots and lots of food!

We are thankful for the growth of this blog, to our sponsors for keeping us going, to our guest bloggers who provide great content, and of course to University of South Carolina.

But we are also thankful for you, our readers, who make the effort to keep this site going totally worth it!

We are also thankful for an in-state rivalry, that no matter how each team has played each season, always ends up being exciting to the very last minute. A rivalry that always makes your loyalty to your team that much stronger in the end.

An in-state rivalry that dates back to 1896.

Enjoy this excerpt from the Carolina vs. Clemson rivalry history book A State of Disunion:
Six years earlier, when Clemson and Carolina played "foot ball" for the first time, the game was an undercard to the horse races. But by 1902, the rivalry occupied center stage.An article in Tuesday's edition of The State chronicled pomp and circumstance in its primitive stages:

The friends and alumni of the respective colleges flock to the fair grounds on the day of the great game, and the college colors of each institution are very much in evidence on the day of the game. The garnet and black and the purple and orange cause no little comment when seen on the jackets of the fair ones who seem to take as much interest in the game as any one else. The college girl, the society girl -- all the girls -- turn out in full force on Thursday, and very few are seen without the college colors of one of their rivals. 

Clemson has become a power under coach John Heisman, a University of Pennsylvania graduate who was coaching at Auburn when Walter Riggs lured him to the foothills of South Carolina for a hefty salary of $1,800 a year...

Carolina players and supporter weren't comfortable with domination at the hands of an opponent that was already being classified as an "old rival" by the press. Since a 12-6 Gamecock victory in the inaugural clash in 1896, Clemson had taken four consecutive games by a combined score of 127-6. But Carolina fielded a strong team in 1902, coached by Bob Williams and Christie Benet, and had outscored the opposition 98-0 coming in. The game was viewed as a tossup, in part because Clemson returned just two players from the previous year's varsity squad...

There was abundant excitement about the trip among cadets in anticipation of a rare trip to the city, a respite from the strict, regimented day-to-day existence at the remote school. In Columbia, an air of hospitality accompanied the imminent arrival of the guests from the upcountry. A story ran in The State six days before the game with the headline: "Coming of Clemson Cadets...Society will do its part to make stay a pleasant one."...

What was forecast as a "battle royal" drew an estimated three thousand people to the fairgrounds on Elmwood Avenue. Two open carriages, one representing Clemson and the other Carolina, were positioned on each sideline and filled with women supporting each team. The weather was unseasonably warm as fans gathered for the 11:00 a.m. kickoff and placed bets on the score...

Before the game, Carolina's side chanted, "Heisman's day is at end" and "We'll twist the tiger's tail." The Gamecocks backed up those boasts with a victory that sparked relief and jubilation. A special defensive formation by coach Bob Williams was credited with derailing Heisman's offensive machine.

"Clemson tried every trick play in their catalogue and failed utterly at all of them," The State observed. "Carolina started out with her eye on the ball and never lost sight of it from start to finish."

A day later, Heisman would tell the press that Carolina was equal to any team in the South. He also said he believed the interruption of his team's dominance over the Gamecocks was good for the rivalry and would lead to more interest in future games between the two teams.
And here, 106 years later, this game still generates the same buzz and excitement -- and all of us Gamecock Girls "turn out in full force on" Saturday.

Happy Thanksgiving and Go Cocks!!

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