South Carolina knocked off #1 Alabama 35-21 at home on Saturday.
Breaking it down…1st Quarter…Alabama won the coin toss and elected to receive. On their first possession they marched to the South Carolina 15 before settling for a field goal. Chris Culliver took the ensuing kickoff out to the 37 to give the Gamecocks good field position to begin. Stephen Garcia completed 4 out of 4 passes on the drive, the last of which was a touchdown pass to Marcus Lattimore to give South Carolina a 7-3 lead. Alabama started moving the ball again but got bogged down before midfield and had to punt. The Gamecocks took over at their 38. 7 plays and 62 yards later Garcia hit Alshon Jeffrey for a 26 yard touchdown reception to push the lead to 14-3. On the drive South Carolina converted a fourth down at the Alabama 33 rather than going for a 50 yard field goal.
2nd Quarter…On the first play of the second quarter Antonio Allen sacked Greg McElroy forcing him to fumble, and Travian Robertson recovered at the Alabama 43. The Gamecocks quickly took advantage of the mistake. A roughing the passer penalty on the first play moved the ball to the 26. Lattimore then ran the ball to the 15 for another first down. On the third play of the drive Garcia found Alshon again for another touchdown to push the lead to 21-3. Alabama’s offense seemed to get back on track on their next drive moving the ball to the South Carolina 7. They came away empty handed when kicker Jeremy Shelley pushed the field goal attempt wide right from 31 yards. The Gamecocks went three and out on their next possession and punted the ball back to Alabama. The Tide moved the ball well again, and Julio Jones caught a touchdown pass with 38 seconds left in the half. Kicker Jeremy Shelley then missed the extra point to leave the score 21-9 at the half.
3rd Quarter…The second half began disastrously for South Carolina. Chris Culliver fumbled and then recovered the opening kickoff and made it to the 19. The first snap sailed over Garcia’s head. Garcia recovered it and threw it out of the back of the end zone for a safety. Alabama moved the ball to the South Carolina 22 before settling for a field goal to make the score 21-14. South Carolina righted the ship on the next possession and did something teams don’t do against Alabama; they had a long sustained drive resulting in a touchdown. The Gamecocks covered 82 yards on 15 plays and took 7:55 off the clock. The drive ended with Marcus Lattimore scoring from one yard out to stretch the lead to 28-14. That lead would short lived because Alabama would score quickly on their next possession.
4th Quarter…The first play of the last quarter was a 51 yard pass from Greg McElroy to Darius Hanks to cut the lead to 28-21. Disaster struck again on the next USC possession. On third down Stephen Garcia’s pass deflected off Alshon Jeffrey and was intercepted b Alabama at the South Carolina 37. Alabama got one first down before having to settle for a field goal attempt. This time they faked the field goal but were unable to convert when they dropped the pass. South Carolina then went three downs without getting a first down. On fourth and one from his own 35 Stephen Garcia sneaked up the middle for a first down. An acrobatic Alshon Jeffrey catch and a couple of Marcus Lattimore runs later, South Carolina was facing a third and goal from the two yard line. Lattimore took a handoff on a dive play out of the I formation and scored up the middle. With the score 35-21 Alabama took over needing to score. They picked up a first down but were unable to do any more and had to punt. South Carolina took some time off the clock but also had to punt. Alabama got the ball back one last time and ran the clock out as they tried to move the ball downfield.
Stars of the Game…Stephen Garcia…17-20, 201 yards, 3 TD, 1 Int for a passing efficiency rating of 208.92…Alshon Jeffrey…7 receptions for 127 yards and 2 TD…Marcus Lattimore…23 rushes for 95 yards and 3 total TDs…the entire D line…held Alabama to 36 yards rushing and sacked McElroy 7 times…Stephon Gilmore…team high 9 tackles and 2 sacks…Melvin Ingram…2.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks
What to take from the Weekend…It’s a historic win; it should be enjoyed. Read everything ou can find, watch replays, talk about it, relish it. Be optimistic about every game left on the schedule. This is the Steve Spurrier offense we had hoped for when he got here. Keeping things in perspective, the sky’s the limit.
This and that…South Carolina is now 4-1 (2-1)…USC is now #10 in the AP Poll and #12 in the Coaches’ Poll…Alabama was giving up 9 points per game coming into the game…Alabama was 5-13 on third down and 0-5 in the second half…South Carolina was 6-11 on third down…The Gamecocks were 4 for 4 in the red zone with 4 TDs…Alabama was 2-4 with a field goal and a touchdown…
Up next…South Carolina travels to Lexington, Kentucky to play Randall Cobb and the Kentucky Wildcats. The game will be televised on ESPN2 at 6 pm.