Tight end Barry Hanna, who had not scored all season, turned Rusty Hilger's short pass into a 25-yard touchdown with 1:04 left to play, lifting ninth-ranked Oklahoma State to a 21-14 Gator Bowl victory over No. 7 South Carolina tonight.
The victory, before a record Gator Bowl crowd of 82,138, gave the Cowboys a 10-2 record. They became the first team in the school's 83-year football history to win more than nine games in a season.
The loss prevented South Carolina from winning for the first time in six bowl trips, although the Gamecocks, also 10-2, won more than eight games in a season for the first time.
The Cowboys were backed up at their 12 snf trailing, 14-13, with 3:41 left. But they drove 88 yards on a drive led by Hilger, who completed five of eight passes for 73 yards, with Hanna catching the winning pass on the right sideline at the South Carolina 10. He shook off several tacklers to get into the end zone.
Oklahoma State led, 13-0, at halftime. Freshman tailback Thurman Thomas scored on a one-yard run on the Cowboys' first possession and completed a 15-play drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Hilger on the second.
But the Cowboys missed their second conversion try when the snap sailed over the holder's head.
Although they had the ball for less than two minutes in the third period, the Gamecocks took a one-point lead in the quarter. Quinton Lewis combined with Chris Wade on a 24-yard halfback pass play for one touchdown and Mike Hold threw 57 yards to Ira Hillary for another.
The Gamecocks' only other possession in the third period ended with a fumble on the first play, one of their four turnovers.
South Carolina, whose offense was the nation's ninth-best during the regular season, was held to 71 yards in the first two periods by Oklahoma State's eighth-ranked defense. It was shut out for the first time in any half this season.