The South Carolina football team will travel to Jacksonville on Friday, Dec. 30 to play in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. The Gamecocks will face No. 21 Notre Dame with a chance to finish with nine wins for the first time since 2017.
“What an opportunity for our players to play a team like Notre Dame, a fantastic opponent,” head coach Shane Beamer said. “I know our fans are excited, as they should be playing in the Gator Bowl for the first time, I believe, since 1987 — one that our players are excited about, I’m excited about.”
Coming off two wins against highly ranked college football programs, Beamer said the Gator Bowl will be a great opportunity for the team to grab the national spotlight.
“All eyes are going to be on us,” Beamer said. “We know that what we’ve done the last couple weeks, there’s a lot of excitement nationally about us, and then certainly, we all know what Notre Dame brings from a TV ratings standpoint also, so it’s going to be an awesome time, awesome trip, and we’re looking forward to getting down there.”
South Carolina’s first bowl game appearance in program history came at the end of the 1945-1946 season on New Year’s Day 1946 in the Gator Bowl against Wake Forest. The Gamecocks were Gator Bowl regulars in the 1980’s, playing Pittsburgh, Oklahoma State and LSU in 1980, 1984 and 1987 respectively.
South Carolina lost all four of those Gator Bowl appearances and has never scored more than 14 points when playing its bowl in Jacksonville.
The Gamecocks hold a 10-14 record from 24 major bowl game appearances across program history. This is the second bowl selection for head coach Shane Beamer’s Gamecocks in as many seasons.
South Carolina’s 2022 football season was a year of highs and lows. After a season-opening win, the Gamecocks fell short in early season SEC contests to Arkansas on the road and No. 1 Georgia at home before going on a four-game win streak to move to 5-2. The streak led to a season debut in the AP poll at No. 25.
Missouri marched into Columbia following the ranking and dashed Gamecock dreams with a 23-10 win. The performance and result were disappointing, but the team pushed on, winning on the road in Vanderbilt before suffering another setback in a 38-6 loss to Florida in the Swamp.
Already bowl eligible at 6-4, expectations for the Gamecocks’ final two regular season games were not high. Facing then-No. 5 Tennessee at home followed by then-No. 8 Clemson on the road was a daunting task in Beamer’s second season at the helm, but the Gamecocks were resilient.
South Carolina’s offense was electric in its final home game of the season, leading to a 63-38 victory over the Volunteers. The Gamecocks rode that momentum to a 31-30 rivalry win to finish the regular season at 8-4 and make Beamer the first coach in program history to claim back-to-back wins against top-10 opponents.
The win over Clemson broke a seven-game losing streak in the rivalry and ended the Tigers’ 40-game home winning streak in Memorial Stadium.
South Carolina finished No. 20 in the final AP rankings ahead of bowl season. The College Football Playoff Committee ranked the Gamecocks No. 19 in the CFP rankings.
This is a developing story.