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TIGER KICKOFF: 10 Things you didn't know about South Carolina

Friday, October 25, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:12 a.m. CDT, Saturday, October 26, 2013

Founded in 1801, the University of South Carolina has plenty of interesting history. From "Forrest Gump" to Hootie and the Blowfish to an odd obsession with trees, we break down the essential things you need to know about the Tigers' next opponent.

10. South Carolina’s mascot is the Gamecock, which Merriam-Webster describes as a “rooster of the domestic chicken trained for fighting.” The mascot’s namesake is General Thomas Sumter, a famous American Revolution guerrilla fighter whose nickname was “The Fighting Gamecock.” The school’s on-field mascot is the costumed “Cocky,” a rotund, cross-eyed red thing that was installed in 1980.

9. Gamecocks hate Tigers. While Missouri is a new rival, the team from the “other” Columbia loathes the Clemson University Tigers. The inter-conference rivals first played each other in 1896 (a 12-6 South Carolina victory), and a scalding tradition began six years later. Every year on the night before the Clemson game, South Carolina students set a 20-foot tall Tiger ablaze as the band leads school cheers. A victory Saturday, and the Missouri Tigers might start getting the same treatment.

8. 1994 Academy Award Best Picture winner "Forrest Gump" has several connections to South Carolina. The hospital dedicated to Gump near the end of the film is actually the university’s Beaufort Performing Arts Center, and the movie’s iconic Vietnam scenes were filmed in Fripp Island, S.C. The simulated Vietnam “jungle” is now a golf course.

7. There are 22 real train cabooses behind the south end zone stands at South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium. Each “Cockaboose” provides a luxurious “Railgating” experience to Gamecock fans, with sun decks where fans can grill and debate whether or not Jadeveon Clowney will play in that night’s game.

6. South Carolina’s pre-game theme song is “Also Sprach Zarathustra, Opus 30,” which is better known as the primary score from “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Fans go ballistic as the first notes of the song echo through the stadium and the team runs onto the field. No one is sure why this happens.

5. All four members of Hootie and the Blowfish were freshmen at South Carolina in 1986. The quartet was formed after guitarist Mark Bryan heard vocalist Darius Rucker singing in one of the dorm showers. Eight years later, the band’s 1994 debut "Cracked Rear View" sold more than 10 million copies and dominated MTV.

4. The folks from the other Columbia are tree people. Their football field features a palmetto tree logo — added to the state flag after South Carolina’s secession from the Union in 1861 — and the school is annually lauded by an organization called Tree Campus USA. The state even salutes the foliage in its salute to the flag (“I salute the flag of South Carolina and pledge to the Palmetto State love, loyalty and faith.”)

3.  Those trees serve as one of the centerpieces of campus, especially around The Horseshoe, a group of buildings that surround a horseshoe-shaped drive near Sumter Street. Ten of the 11 buildings in The Horseshoe — considered the heart of campus — are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2. Former U.S. Congressman Preston S. Brooks was expelled from the university days before his scheduled graduation in 1839. His crime? Threatening to shoot up a police station. Brooks had heard rumors that his brother had been arrested and abused by local police, so he loaded two pistols and hustled to the jail to settle his score. The police disarmed him, and the school’s trustees hastened his expulsion.

1. The university has only had one fatal duel between students, and it began as a squabble over seafood in 1833. James G. Adams and A. Govan Roach were supposedly best friends, but when both reached for a plate of fish at the same time, they decided to settle their standoff with a bullet-aided showdown. Both were wounded; Adams died within a few hours of being shot, and Roach was physically handicapped and passed away a few years later.


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