Published September 26, 2010 - 11:13am
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The Auburn vs South Carolina game was a huge game pitting two undefeated teams with a lot of momentum against each other. Auburn beat South Carolina at home 35-27 showing the nation that they indeed are the real deal, and will compete for the SEC West against in-state rival Alabama.
The Auburn Offense
This is the Cam Newton show. What a stud. Newton had 176 yards rushing on 25 carries with three rushing touchdowns; Newton threw for 158 yards in the air on 16-21 passing including 2 touchdowns. On a day where Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett somewhat struggled, Newton is making the case that he is the best quarterback (and maybe offensive player) in the conference.
Running back Michael Dyer also ran for 100 yards on 23 carries. South Carolina’s defense going into the week had been dominant against opponent’s running games, but not tonight. Auburn torched them with 334 yards on the ground.
Word is that Chizik was brutal with his offensive line personnel this week, challenging them to get more physical and help Auburn win after a close-call last week with Clemson. The O-line indeed responded allowing Auburn to thrive on the ground.
The South Carolina Offense
Freshman beast Marcus Lattimore was kept in check by the Auburn defense, rushing only for 33 yards. With the dominant run game that we have seen in the first three games kept in check, South Carolina needed to turn to the air. When QB Stephen Garcia is forced to make plays, unfortunately, turnovers tend to happen. Garcia took some serious hits and fumbled twice.
Spurrier eventually pulled Garcia despite Garcia having over 200 yards passing and three touchdowns. Connor Shaw led the Gamecocks twice into Auburn territory but ended both drives with an interception.
Spurrier’s post-game comments hinted that we can expect to see more of Shaw in the days ahead giving more credence to the idea that Spurrier just does not trust Stephen Garcia to lead this team – a theme that we’ve seen played out for multiple seasons now.
South Carolina has a bye week to recover from a physical game and regroup before hosting the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 9th. Spurrier will need to sort out his passing game as he can expect Alabama to key in on Marcus Lattimore and the running game and make the Gamecocks beat him in the air. Spurrier can be thankful that he’s catching Alabama after a bye week and after Alabama must play Arkansas and Florida.
The Gamecocks are still very much in contention in the SEC East in what is essentially a two horse race between South Carolina and Florida, but a second SEC loss against Alabama will definitely put them behind (especially if Florida can somehow win in Tuscaloosa next Saturday).
Auburn has shown through two tough wins at home that they can beat quality football teams. Cameron Newton is showing he is one of the best offensive threats in the conference and in the country. They have a slightly easier schedule ahead versus Alabama so there is a significant chance that the Iron Bowl between Auburn & Alabama on November 27th could determine who wins the West. This could be a heck of a game.