By Tori Gurley
For some odd reason Vandy would give us a hard time. We had the better team, coaches, fans and facilities, but the Commodores would give us a run for our money. Usually the games would come down to the last possession. Coach Spurrier would draw up plays for his star players like Marcus or Alshon, but guess who would end up with the ball? Yours truly! LOL
2009 we were back up at home on our 1-yard line and Coach Spurrier wanted to call 9 seam (All Go) to get us away from our own end zone. I went to Alshon and told him, “Hey Alshon, Coach wants me to take this play.” Just like a team player and true freshman he listened while I sprinted on the field. I can’t believe I had the gumption to disobey Coach, but that’s how much I believed in my abilities to make the play for the team
Thinking ahead I knew we used our second timeout in the 4th quarter, so Spurrier wasn’t going to burn our final timeout. Since the play was called on the sideline my fellow Gamecocks and I got lined up without a huddle. I remember hearing Coach Spurrier voice screaming about why AJ wasn’t in the game. I had the biggest grin on my face because I knew I was going to be either a hero or the biggest loser. In life I have always performed my best under pressure, so it didn’t bother me at all.
QB Stephen Garcia was under center. He went through the cadence and it’s unbelievable in a stadium of 80k fans, how I could be so focused on just him and the ball. I never ran so fast in my life. As I got closer, I could see the Vandy DB was assuming a run play until we were 15 yards downfield, and I didn’t look up until the 25-yard mark.
In football a term that is used a lot with WRs and DBs is, “if we are even, we are leaving”. I had a 1-yard advantage on him. I felt a tug on my jersey, but nothing could break my concentration on the ball. Instead of reaching out with both hands I reached with one. Caught the nose of the football while the DB was tackling me so he could give up a 15-yard pass interference. I was a greedy player. I wanted the catch and the 45 yards. When I got up, the entire stadium went crazy with me. I glanced over to the sidelines could see Spurrier cursing me from 50 yards away. LOL