During his senior year of high school in Ohio, Ryan Brewer received the title "Mr. Football," given to the state's top football player.
He thought he deserved a scholarship to Ohio State, but the Buckeyes chose to pursue other players.
In Monday's Outback Bowl, Brewer exacted a measure of revenge against the school that spurned him, leading South Carolina to a 24-7 win over Ohio State. The Gamecocks finished 8-4, a far improvement over the school's 0-10 and 0-11 marks the previous two seasons.
Brewer, who was chosen the game's Most Valuable Player, scored each of the Gamecocks' three touchdowns, rushed for 109 yards and caught three passes for 92 yards, showing the Buckeyes (8-4) the error of their ways before a crowd of 65,229 at Raymond James Stadium.
"I couldn't have dreamed this any better," Brewer said. "This was a dream game for me and a dream come true."
Brewer played in place of suspended starter Derek Watson. Brewer had gained just 66 yards rushing and scored one touchdown during the 2000 season.
An Ohio State turnover early in the third quarter set the stage for Brewer's heroics.Defensive end Kalimba Edwards sacked Ohio State's Steve Bellisari, forcing a fumble. South Carolina's Cleveland Pinkney recovered the loose ball at the Buckeyes' 28-yard line.
Eight plays later, Brewer took a pitchout into the end zone from 7 yards out, and Jason Corse's extra point gave South Carolina a 10-0 lead.
Ohio State closed to 10-7 later in the quarter. A 65-yard pass play from Bellisari to Ken-Yon Rambo set up the score, giving the Buckeyes the ball at South Carolina's 1-yard line.
Tailback Jonathan Wells took a handoff and fumbled just short of the goal line, but offensive lineman Mike Gurr recovered the ball in the end zone for the score.
But South Carolina's defense toughened. Another sack by Edwards on the Buckeyes' next possession forced a punt.
A fair-catch interference penalty gave the Gamecocks the ball in Ohio State territory. A few plays later, Brewer took a screen pass from Phil Pettyand ran into the end zone for a 28-yard score.
Deandré Eiland's interception of a Bellisari pass on Ohio State's next possession gave South Carolina the ball again. Brewer capped the scoring drive with a 2-yard run.
"It was a total team victory," said South Carolina Coach Lou Holtz, who became the only coach to win bowls with five different teams. "We were a very good football team today."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times