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August 10, 2012
As the start of the 2012 season nears, GamecockCentral.com's David Cloninger takes a look back at the top plays of 2011, South Carolina's finest year. The No. 1 play from last year will be revealed on Aug. 30, USC's season-opener.
NO. 21: Magnet
The game: The Citadel at No. 14 South Carolina, Nov. 19
The scene: South Carolina 27, The Citadel 13, 11:16, fourth quarter
The cast: Quarterback Connor Shaw, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, The Citadel safety Joseph Boateng
The setup: Struggling to put away the feisty Bulldogs, the Gamecocks got ahead by two touchdowns and received the ball just before the third quarter ended. Shaw hit Jeffery for an 18-yard completion to end the period, but as the fourth quarter began, Steve Spurrier went back to what got USC to eight wins by that point - running.
Brandon Wilds, Shaw, Kenny Miles and a fourth-down run from Melvin Ingram controlled the clock and got USC to The Citadel's 32-yard-line, where Shaw spotted a matchup. Boateng, who had already been toasted by Ace Sanders for a previous touchdown, was about to be isolated with Jeffery.
The play: Shaw saw Jeffery cut toward the end zone and flung the ball, realizing that the pass was a bit too far, a bit too high and a bit too deep. It was headed out of bounds, which would earn Shaw an earful from the Head Ball Coach.
Or it would have, if thrown to anybody else but Jeffery.
The junior, with Boateng on him, leaped with right arm outstretched, the ball cradling into his elbow as Boateng frantically tried to take Jeffery's legs out. The Gamecocks' legendary receiver got his feet down, though, holding onto the ball, for yet another jaw-dropping touchdown in a career full of them.
The aftermath: The Citadel didn't give up, scoring a touchdown on its next possession, but USC wasn't fazed. The Gamecocks added another score and won 41-20, claiming their ninth win and setting up their championship game the next week - since the SEC Championship Game was out of the question, USC prepared for archrival Clemson.
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