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The South Carolina Gamecocks have had a few close calls in bowl games in their history.
The most recent bowl game was the 2010 Chick-Fil-A Bowl against Florida State. USC lost to FSU by a score of 26-17 but mounted a comeback in the second half after trailing 13-3 at halftime. Four first-half turnovers by the Gamecocks, including three interceptions by quarterback Stephen Garcia, put the Gamecocks in a hole. They also lost freshman running back Marcus Lattimore to injury on the first possession.
Garcia lead the comeback in the second half, though, and had USC within two points in the fourth quarter with a score of 19-17. FSU would use a E.J. Manuel touchdown pass with about five and a half minutes left to take a 26-17 lead and wouldn't look back.
Another recent bowl game that comes to mind is the Gamecocks' bowl game in 2005 against Missouri in the Independence Bowl.
The Gamecocks built up a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter against Missouri. Brad Smith of Missouri had different plans, though, and mounted a comeback for the Tigers, as he accounted for 431 of the 504 total yards of offense for Missouri.
South Carolina had great performances from quarterback Blake Mitchell, running back Mike Davis and wide receiver Sidney Rice.
It wasn't enough, though, as Smith scored the game-winning touchdown with 2:13 left in the fourth quarter. South Carolina lost to Missouri 38-31 on the day, in another close matchup in a bowl game for the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks also came close in the 1984 Gator Bowl, against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys led 13-0 at halftime, but South Carolina pulled to a one-point lead in the third quarter by scoring 14 points in that quarter. Oklahoma State would score a touchdown in the fourth quarter and convert the two-point conversion to finish off the Gamecocks with a score of 21-14.
As you can see, there have been a few close calls for the Gamecocks in bowl games in their history. They certainly haven't had their luck in recent years, losing three straight bowl games. But the hope is the tide will turn in 2012 in the Capital One Bowl.
Things are looking up for the Gamecocks and a strong finish in their bowl game could lead to big things in 2012.