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December 10, 2013

Top five plays of 2013...No. 4

This week, Gamecock Central is counting down the top five plays of 2013 as we prepare for the Capitol One Bowl against Wisconsin on Jan. 1.

Today, No. 4, Mike Davis' 75-yard touchdown run against North Carolina. It was the final points of the game for the Gamecocks and the kind of breakout, explosive play that USC just hadn't had in recent years. Marcus Lattimore's longest run at South Carolina was 58 yards, and the longest rush of the 2012 season was a 64-yard run by Connor Shaw at the Outback Bowl.

In one play, Davis showed he was going to be something special indeed, something not even the coaches knew they had - a bona fide, elite SEC rusher with breakaway speed not see in Columbia for a long, long time.

Davis would go on to break 1,000 yards (1,165) and lead the SEC in rushing almost the entire year (he finished fourth at 103.1 yards per game). But before Davis became one of the best backs in the country, before anyone really knew what they had on their hands, there was this simple handoff on first-and-10 at the USC 25 with 7:51 left in the third quarter.

North Carolina had just gotten a field goal to cut the lead to 20-10, and the Gamecocks needed a spark with so much football left to play. It got it when Davis took a handoff up the middle, bounced off a couple of defenders to find some open space on the right side then showed the speed that would define his season as he electrified the USC crowd and began his march to a 1,000-yard season.

The play:

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