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A football history lesson on Ole Miss and South Carolina

A lot of pain in just 16 meetings between the Rebels and Gamecocks!

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Mississippi and the University of South Carolina have met in the sport of American football 16 times, beginning with a matchup in Memphis in 1947 (because, sure, why not?).

The Gamecocks have been a part of the Southeastern Conference since 1992, which predates my birth by six years (yes, I’m youthful young fellow), and since the advent of the Cocks in the SEC, they have played Ole Miss seven times.

Since this whole “Ole Miss-playing-South Carolina” thing is fairly new, I wanted to recap some of the games between the two that I remember (since basically, like, 2003) since they play again this Saturday.

Throughout these games, you’ll notice a common thread: they’re all close, which means Ole Miss fans have come to expect inevitable pain when playing South Carolina recently. For the record, the Rebels haven’t topped the Cocks since David Cutcliffe was the head coach. How’s that for a stat?

Let’s dive in.

Nov. 1, 2003 — Ole Miss 43, South Carolina 40

God bless Eli Manning.

This game was tied at 14 at the end of the first quarter behind two passes from Manning to Chris Collins, and Ole Miss led 30-14 at the half. Surely this one was in the bag!

People forget, however, that the Ole Miss defense wasn’t great at this point in time, and although it was 43-21 at the end of the third quarter, the Gamecocks rattled off 19-unanswered in the final frame to make this game close in a very Ole Miss fashion.

That was Ole Miss’ seventh win in a 10-win campaign that included a Cotton Bowl victory. And, once again, God bless Eli Manning.

Oct. 9, 2004 — Ole Miss 31, South Carolina 28

This was an interesting time for Ole Miss football.

After the departure of Eli Manning (shall we forever bless his name), the Rebs went 4-7 in 2004, but one of their wins came in Columbia. In trying to find an answer for the gaping hole left at quarterback, the Rebels ran three guys out in the position: Michael Spurlock, Robert Lane and Ethan Flatt.

Ole Miss led 14-0 at the end of one, but, of course, the game was tied at 21 at the half. The Rebels trailed in the fourth quarter until Ethan Flatt got to cookin’ on the Gamecocks and threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Bill Flowers on fourth down to give the Rebs the win. Here’s a video recapping the majestic game.

Oct. 4, 2008 — South Carolina 31, Ole Miss 24

I actually don’t remember a ton about this game because I had a family gathering that day (which should be outlawed on football Saturdays), but Ole Miss held a lead in this one at the end of the first half but couldn’t close it out. What’s notable is that this loss came after knocking off Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators in The Swamp the week before, so this was the ultimate letdown game, I guess. We seem to do a lot of talking about that Florida win (and rightfully so), but we forget that the Rebs would lose the next two before going on a six-game winning streak to close out the year.

Sept. 24, 2009 — South Carolina 16, Ole Miss 10

“I hurt myself today

To see if I still feel

I focus on the pain

The only thing that’s real

The needle tears a hole

The old familiar sting

Try to kill it all away

But I remember everything

What have I become

My sweetest friend?

Everyone I know

Goes away in the end

And you could have it all

My empire of dirt

I will let you down

I will make you hurt”

— Johnny Cash and the 2009 Ole Miss football Rebels

Nov. 3, 2018 — South Carolina 48, Ole Miss 44

A winnable game that slipped away during the Matt Luke era? Surely, you jest!

Really that’s all I got on this one. It was indicative of an era awash in futility.