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December 29, 1980 • Jacksonville, Florida • 72,287 Attendance


Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Pittsburgh 10 7 17 3 37
South Carolina 0 3 0 6 9

South Carolina’s second trip to the prestigious Gator Bowl was not much better than the first trip — 34 years before. The Pitt Panthers, gunning for a national championship, poured it on the Gamecocks, 37-9.

The game matched two nationally-ranked teams. Pitt came in with the #4 national ranking and South Carolina was ranked 17th. In addition, two of the nation’s best athletes, South Carolina’s George Rogers and Pitt’s Hugh Green, were showcased. Rogers, who rushed for 113 yards, had won the Heisman Trophy while Green, who recorded five tackles, was honored as the nation’s finest lineman with the Outland Trophy.

An unusually cold evening with temperatures in the 40s and 15 mph winds greeted the teams and South Carolina didn’t react to the adverse conditions from the word go. Rogers broke open for a nice seven-yard gain on the first play, but fumbled with the Panthers recovering on the South Carolina 29 yard line. Seven plays and four minutes later Pitt scored to take a 7-0 lead, a lead they would not relinquish.

South Carolina finally got on the scoreboard before the half on a 39-yard Eddie Leopard field goal. At the half Pittsburgh led 17-3 and led 34-3 by the end of the third quarter as turnovers and an inability to move the ball plagued the Gamecocks.

Pat Bowen picked off a pass and returned it 31 yards to the 14-yard line with 3:34 left to play in the game. Quarterback Gordon Beckham then connected with Tim Gillespie for South Carolina’s lone touchdown.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter
PITT Trocan 1-yard run (Trout kick); 10:57
PITT Trout 35-yard field goal; 1:11

2nd Quarter
USC Leopard 39-yard field goal; 7:05
PITT Collier 3-yard pass from Marino (Trout kick); 2:05

3rd Quarter
PITT Trout 25-yard field goal; 8:00
PITT McMillan 3-yard run (Trout kick); 4:34
PITT McMillan 42-yard pass from Trocan (Trout kick); 0:39

4th Quarter
PITT Trout 29-yard field goal; 5:32
USC Gillespie 14-yard pass from Beckham (kick failed); 3:26

Game Statistics


First Downs 22 17
Net Yards Rushing 165 116
Rushing Attempts 40 40
Net Passing Yards 233 168
  Cmp.-Att.-Int. 17-35-3 11-27-3
Total Offense Yards 398 284
Total Offense Plays 75 67
Fumbles: No.-Lost 1-1 3-2
Penalties: No.-Yards 11-73 3-12
Punts: No.-Yards 3-91 7-210
Punt Average 30.3 30.0
Possession Time 32:33 27:27
Third Down Conversions 7-14 5-15

South Carolina Statistics

Passing: Harper 16-7-1-116; Beckham 10-4-1-52; Reeves 1-0-1.

Rushing: Rogers 27-113; Wright 4-23; Harper 4-7; Reeves 3-(-2); Beckham 2-(-11).

Receiving: Scott 7-109; Gillespie 2-32; Cornett 1-14; Gettel 1-13.

Tackle Leaders: Baxley 16; Kater 14; Ellis 10; Allen 9.