Basketball runs fueling Gamecock football

Collyn Taylor, GamecockCentral.com
Gamecock Central

After watching the women’s basketball team beat Stanford Friday night and gearing up for the men’s team tipping off in the program’s first Final Four, the Gamecock football team is ready for their moment in the sun.

The women’ downed the Cardinal last night, using a second-half rally to vault the program to it’s first National Championship game in history where they’ll play Mississippi State Sunday night.

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The men took down Florida last weekend to advance to their first-ever Final Four and play Gonzaga at 6:09 p.m. in Phoenix, Arizona.

With all of the accolades on the court, the football team is itching for their chance at athletic accomplishment this year.

“It’s great to see the girls win last night,” quarterback Jake Bentley said. “I think we’ve already beat Mississippi state before, so we’ll do it again and win a National Championship. The guys do it and then it’s our turn.”

Also see: Spring Game recruiting notes

The football team hosted its annual spring game Saturday, moving kickoff to noon so fans and players could catch the start of the men’s game around 6 p.m.

Receiver Bryan Edwards said watching both teams make historic runs in the NCAA Tournament only fuels the football team’s fire to make national headlines again. And head coach Will Muschamp is tapping into that.

“It’s awesome,” head coach Will Muschamp said, congratulating Dawn Staley and Frank Martin. “Our guys totally embrace it. I told our guys it’s time for us to do something around here for our football program. I think it’s great.”

Also see: Spring Game visitor notes

With watch parties stretching across Columbia from dorm rooms to office buildings, Five Points to the Vista and everywhere in between, football players will find a crack to watch the game.

And, as tradition serves, could be jumping around their dorm or taking a swim in the Thomas Cooper or Five Points fountains.

“There are so many things going on,” Edwards said. “Campus is buzzing because of the game with all the excitement and all that. There’s too many to pick one.”

Linebackers Skai Moore and Bryson Allen-Williams both have the Gamecocks winning tonight by 10 points, and Allen-Williams had a blunt reason why.

“Defense wins championships,” he said, smiling.

Also see: Muschamp call-in show notes

The football team wrapped up spring practice with Saturday’s game, a 35-24 victory for the Bentley-led Black team, and will have 120 days before resuming practice.

Before they focus on offseason workouts to try and get back to national prominence, they first have to help pull their men’s and women’s basketball teams to national championship glory.

“I might go hang out with Hayden. He said he might have some guys over there to watch the game. it’ll be fun,” Bentley said. “The excitement they’re bringing to our school is great for us. Now it’s our time to shine and time to make something happen.”

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