Sunday, October 10, 2010

Carolina Pride: Gamecocks Defeat No. 1 Alabama

University of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia celebrates as he leaves the field following their win over the University of Alabama following their NCAA college footballl game in Columbia, South Carolina October 9, 2010.  REUTERS/Tami Chappell (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
For the first time since November of 2007, the Alabama Crimson Tide have lost a regular season game.

Courtesy of three Stephen Garcia touchdown passes (two to Alshon Jeffery) and a three touchdown effort by Marcus Lattimore, the South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide, 35-21.

Prior to Saturday afternoon, the Gamecocks had never defeated a No. 1 team in football. However, once the day was done, the Tide had been “rolled”…and South Carolina was the talk of the nation.

In a game which reminded many Alabama fans of the contest with Arkansas, the Tide fell in a hole during in the initial period of play.

Alabama kicked an early field goal to take a 3-0 lead, but South Carolina would quickly take control of the game thanks to an amazing effort by quarterback Stephen Garcia and a rocking crowd at Williams-Brice Stadium.

The Gamecocks led 21-9 at the half, but in typical and certainly expected fashion, Alabama rallied.

Following a safety and a Tide field goal, the lead was cut to 21-14, however the biggest opportunity for Alabama would come in the latter stages of the game.

South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was “all world” against the Crimson Tide, however a pass he should have caught, turned into an interception by Alabama defensive back Will Lowery.

University of Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy (12) walks off the field after being sacked in the closing minutes of their NCAA college football game against the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, October 9, 2010.  REUTERS/Tami Chappell (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
With the Gamecocks leading 28-21 early in the fourth quarter, Alabama was given a short field courtesy of the interception with a chance to tie the game and gain the momentum.

However, the Tide scoring attempt would stall and a fake field goal would prove unsuccessful.

In retrospect, the inability of Alabama to produce after forcing a critical turnover certainly proved to be a major factor in the final result.

After the missed scoring opportunity for Alabama, the Gamecocks would orchestrate a 75-yard drive which would culminate in a Marcus Lattimore 2-yard touchdown run.

When the game was over the Alabama 19-game winning streak had been
snapped…and the No. 1 team had been trampled.

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-Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson combined for only 64 yards rushing.

-As a team, the Tide only rushed for 38 yards (obviously counting sacks as minus yards) which is the third fewest in the Nick Saban era.

-Greg McElroy threw for a career-high 315 yards, but was sacked a total of seven times.

-South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns, going 17-of-20 for the game.

-Julio Jones caught eight passes for 118 yards and one touchdown, while South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery caught seven passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

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