ORLANDO, FLA. – Alshon Jeffery, in what might be his final game at South Carolina, caught a hail mary to end the first half, picked up the game’s MVP award, to help the Gamecocks (11-2) defeat the Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-4).
The win secured an 11-win season for the first time in Gamecocks history, and all but assures a finish in the top-10 in the postseason polls.
QB Connor Shaw passed for 230 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 42 yards and a touchdown.
“It is really neat that these seniors can say they played for the best team ever at South Carolina,” said South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier.
Nebraska got the scoring started in the first quarter, with a 30-yard touchdown pass to WR Kenny Bell from QB Taylor Martinez.
The extra point by Brett Maher was blocked and returned for two points by Stephon Gilmore, making a 6-2 Cornhuskers lead.
The Gamecocks followed that up with a touchdown drive of their own, capped off by a one yard run by QB Connor Shaw.
Nebraska countered with a one yard run from Ameer Abdullah out of wildcat formation, to re-take a 13-9 lead.
Then came the fireworks. On a hail mary, Jeffery caught the ball and dove into the end zone for the touchdown, giving the Gamecocks a 16-13 lead heading to the half.
“The guys didn’t do what they coached to do, period, end of story,” said Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini.
Mid-way through the third quarter, Jeffery and CB Alonzo Dennard got into a fight, resulting in both players being ejected. Both players are projected to be taken in the first two rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Both Spurrier and Jeffery said that Jeffery did not punch the guy, only shoved. Spurrier added that Jeffery had never punched a guy before, and probably would not do it.
South Carolina iced the game in the fourth quarter with Kenny Miles’ first two touchdowns of the season. First a nine yard reception, followed by a three yard run to finish the 30-13 victory.