Oral history: Georgia-South Carolina 2014 -- missed opportunity, fourth-and-1

Last year's Georgia vs. South Carolina game came down to a missed opportunity on offense by the Bulldogs, followed by late a fourth-and-1 conversion by the Gamecocks that sealed the game. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The scene: A rain-soaked field in Columbia, South Carolina, where No. 24 South Carolina leads No. 6 Georgia 38-35 inside Williams Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks are clinging to their lead after Georgia's Damian Swann intercepted South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson at the Gamecocks' 24-yard line and is tackled at the 6-yard line. After a penalty, Georgia lines up at the 4-yard line with 5:24 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The play, Part 1: Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason gets the snap, fakes the toss sweep to All-SEC running back Todd Gurley to his left and rolls right. South Carolina's Gerald Dixon breaks free and charges, forcing Mason to fling the ball into the dirt toward his line in the middle of the field. Intentional grounding is called and the Dawgs are pushed back to the 14. Three plays later, kicker Marshall Morgan misses a 28-yard field goal wide right.

South Carolina wide receiver Pharoh Cooper (on the sideline): "I figured they were going to give [Gurley] the ball inside the 10, inside the 5, being it was Todd Gurley. They didn't, and that's the way the game turned out after they didn't give him the ball. They probably should have, but it's over with now, we won."

Georgia offensive lineman John Theus (from the field): "When you get penalties like that, the biggest thing is that you have to keep moving along. You can't blame one person. Obviously, that play ended up making a difference in the game, but you have to overcome it and forget about it."

Surprised Gurley didn't touch it on first-and-4? "I trusted our offensive coordinator -- Coach [Mike] Bobo. He makes the call, he makes the decision and we have to execute it. When they make a call you have to live with it and make the best of it."

South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore (from the field): "When we came out with the victory, it felt great -- probably one of the greatest feelings I've had at Carolina. We contained Gurley as much as we could and made them throw the ball."

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier: "Fortunately, they missed two field goals [during the game]. Somehow or another, [Georgia's kicker] missed two. We had some good breaks, and when we threw the interception I thought we'd wasted a pretty good day of offense. But somehow or another we got it back and made a couple first downs to run out the clock."

The play, Part 2: With 1:26 remaining, South Carolina is at its own 49-yard line on fourth-and-1. Thompson takes the snap and plunges just left of the middle of the line. It's unclear if he has enough for the first down. Georgia players are waving their arms, signaling that he didn't get it. The referees come out to measure the spot and decide Thompson barely gets the first down. Georgia coach Mark Richt challenges the call, but it isn't overturned.

Spurrier: "Yeah, very close, very close just depending on the spot. I guess we got it by about an inch or something like that."

Cooper (from the field): "I was on the field and we did a quarterback sneak and we tried to get the best surge we could on the O-line. We didn't know if we had gotten it or not, so the chain gang came out and everybody surrounded them. We got the first down by a fingernail. Once [the ref] signaled first down, we just went crazy. I turned around and yelled out the crowd, tried to fire up the crowd. We got really hyped after that first down."

Were you worried it might not be first down? "Yeah, a little bit, but we kinda had a feeling we got the first down by just a little bit -- it was really close. Then, the game was over just like that."

Georgia linebacker Jordan Jenkins (from the field): "At the end of the game, I remember a lot of anger, a lot of sadness and a lot of, me personally, I feel like the way I played against South Carolina last year was one of the worst showings I’ve had against South Carolina in the last three years I’ve played them. It’s something that’s been in the back of my mind going into this practice. That’ll be something I’ll be thinking about while we get ready for them."