No. 10 South Carolina 30, No. 21 Nebraska 13

South Carolina’s season was marred by the dismissal of its

starting quarterback, the loss of its star running back to injury

and an NCAA investigation for improper benefits.

Still, despite it all, the 10th-ranked Gamecocks won more games

than any team in South Carolina history.

”This is for all fans of South Carolina – always,” coach Steve

Spurrier belted out during the postgame celebration.

Alshon Jeffery caught four passes for 148 yards and a touchdown

before getting ejected for fighting, and the Gamecocks set a

school-record for victories in a 30-13 victory against Nebraska at

the Capital One Bowl on Monday.

The Gamecocks (11-2) also snapped a string of three straight

bowl losses. Spurrier said they will have rings ”with a big `ole

11 on them” made for the team to commemorate the milestone.

Connor Shaw, who took over at quarterback when senior Stephen

Garcia was kicked off the team, came up big, passing for two scores

and rushing for another in one of his best games. He finished 11

for 17 for 230 yards and ran for 42 yards.

”We didn’t play all that great at times, and Nebraska didn’t

play all that great either,” Spurrier said. ”But we made some

good stops here and there… We won the fourth quarter today

against them and our defense was sensational.

”The record speaks for itself as the best team ever.”

Jeffery was having a surprisingly productive day playing just

weeks after surgery on his hand for an injury he sustained in the

regular-season finale. He was called for a personal foul penalty

and ejected with just over two minutes left in the third quarter

along with Cornhuskers cornerback Alfonso Dennard when both were

caught throwing punches at each other after a play.

”Getting ejected, that is something that happened in the

moment,” Jeffery said.

He said winning 11 games became the mission for the Gamecocks

all season.

”Coach Spurrier, in the beginning of season six and in camp he

wrote the goal’s try to win 11 games and try do things we did the

first time. So that’s what we tried to do.”

The Gamecocks kept the pressure on even without Jeffery and went

up 23-13 with 12:25 to play on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Shaw to

Kenny Miles. Miles then added a 3-yard touchdown run with just over

three minutes left – his first of the season – to put the game out

of reach.

Miles was thrust into the starting role in October when

sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore was lost for the season

after tearing a ligament and sustaining cartilage damage in his

left knee.

”It means that no matter what we’ll always be in the record

book as the best team at South Carolina,” Miles said.

Nebraska (9-4) lost its second consecutive bowl game and drops

to 12-6 all-time in bowl matchups against SEC foes.

”I’m proud of the season we had,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini

said of a year that also included the Cornhuskers moving to the Big

Ten. ”Obviously we didn’t finish the way we wanted. It doesn’t

take away from where we are, where we’re going or what we

accomplished.

Pelini’s team came into the game having been plagued by

turnovers in its previous three losses. Pelini pointed to missed

opportunities – which included going 1 for 3 in the red zone – as

the culprit Monday.

”I’ll say it straight out – our football team, even after the

game felt we were a better football team than them,” Pelini said.

”But you’ve got to get out and earn it. It’s a humbling game. You

give them credit. They made plays…We’re a pretty good team, too,

but we didn’t execute at the times we needed to do it.”

Rex Burkhead kept Nebraska in the game with 89 yards rushing,

but South Carolina sacked Taylor Martinez six times.

”We got in the red zone plenty of times and couldn’t finish

it,” he said. ”It’s is tough when you have no minimum like that

and just don’t execute…We beat ourselves in a lot of phases of

the game.”

Jeffery out-jumped the Nebraska secondary in the end zone to

catch a 51-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass from Shaw at the end of

the first half to send the Gamecocks into the locker room with a

16-13 lead.

Shaw passed for 161 yards in the half, hooking up with Jeffery

on four of his five completions.

It helped pick up the slack for a stagnant South Carolina

rushing attack, which produced just 58 yards on 21 attempts in the

first half and only 121 yards on 40 carries for the game.

It also made up for an offensive line that allowed Shaw to be

sacked four times on Monday, including three in the first half.

Heading into the offseason Spurrier said he’s excited about what

he has to work with going forward.

”We’re different than maybe year’s past and to finish in the

top ten and all that kind of stuff…Gee, if you got a bunch of

guys playing like that, you can win against anybody,” he said.

”Got a lot of them coming back and we’re going to try to have a

big year next year.”

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at

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