Published October 12, 2010 - 7:50am
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South Carolina 35, Alabama 21, the greatest win in school history. It was an upset according to the rankings, but for those who watched the game, South Carolina outplayed Alabama in every aspect and at every position. The Gamecocks were the better team. It isn’t often fate smiles on South Carolina, but this past Saturday the Gamecocks made their own fate when they dismantled the Crimson Tide, and with seven games remaining I cannot wait to see where fate takes us next.
I want to first offer a sincere apology and congratulations to Stephen Garcia. After the Auburn game, I exclaimed that you needed to be benched for the season. I have never been so happy about being 100% wrong. That showcase of skill, leadership, and pure heart Saturday afternoon was truly jaw dropping. The best game of your life came at the right time, thank you. 17-20 passing, three touchdowns, one turnover that wasn’t your fault, and no fumbles. The way you cut up Saban’s supposed “unbeatable” defense for 35 points was a thing of beauty. Garcia is having a career year this season in all statistical categories, but the real difference this year is attitude. After the Auburn game, the previous Garcia would’ve thrown in the towel, perhaps gotten into trouble, and blocked off the coaching staff. Instead, he rebounded with the game of his life and almost left Spurrier speechless. Fate has given Garcia a second chance and he has seized it with a stranglehold.
Congratulations Ol’ Ball Coach. I have doubted you, the fans have doubted you, the country has doubted you, but on Saturday you proved everyone how wrong they were. You took Nick Saban to the woodshed and proved that visor still has some magic in it. In fact, Saban’s ego was disassembled so well he could barely give credit to the Gamecocks after the loss. Spurrier outcoached Saban in every facet of the game. Last week I wrote Coach had never wanted to a win a game more than this one, and I think that motivation pushed Carolina over the edge. His game plan was flawless, adjustments were flawless, and the players executed it perfectly. Spurrier’s fate of bringing glory to Columbia became a lot brighter Saturday afternoon and his next opportunity to prove he still has it comes against the Kentucky mild cats, a team he has never lost to.
Alshon Jeffery is the best wide receiver in the country. Feel free to dispute that fact, but you will have no argument if you do. There isn’t a player or team who can stop him. If you must, ask Alabama’s Dre Kirckpatrick about Jeffery. Dre attempted to stop Alshon by holding his jersey, and grabbing his facemask, yet Alshon made a one handed catch, pushed Dre to the ground and ran for about 30 yards more. (Glad to see the referees were on our side, how did they miss that call?) Alshon is a true sophomore and a future first round draft pick. Fate has decided he has at least one more year in Gamecock garnet.
Has there been a more impressive freshman in the country than Marcus Lattimore? 21 is a man amongst boys, but he is a freshman, he is supposed to be the boy amongst men. Marcus wore out the Tide on Saturday by bruising every defensive player on their team. I don’t have an exact count, but I would wager every Alabama player had a missed tackle in regards to Lattimore. His talent level is truly unbelievable and fate has decided he will be in Columbia for the next two and a half seasons. I am willing to argue now, that both Alshon and Marcus will be legitimate Heisman contenders next season.
Aside from our star players, the two main reasons we won on Saturday was the play of the offensive and defensive lines. Garcia was sacked one time, Lattimore rushed for 93 yards and two touchdowns, and they gave Garcia time to let the plays develop. Our defensive line sacked McElroy six times, and held a Heisman trophy candidate and his NFL counterpart to 64 yards and zero touchdowns (McElroy, that turtleneck sweater you displayed after the game, and your Tebow-esque interview were shameful, you are not a good quarterback). I have never watched a South Carolina game where the two lines were a deciding factor in our favor. Maybe, however impossible it seems, fate has decided that our offensive line will finally exist and win us ballgames.
2010 can be the season South Carolina has been seeking since its inception. The Gamecocks are in the driver seat of the SEC east and their realistic aspirations of reaching Atlanta seem more possible with each passing Saturday. During halftime against Alabama, Spurrier told his players to give fate a chance, and we proceeded to steamroll the number one team in the land. There are seven games remaining this season and South Carolina will likely be favored in each remaining game. It is time for the Gamecocks to make their own fate, the 2010 season can belong to South Carolina, and it is up each player and coach to seize what has eluded Columbia for the past 118 years.