Published September 28, 2010 - 5:35am
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Official Statement: Auburn deserved the win and is a solid football team, and the season isn’t over yet.
A late September Saturday night, primetime game on ESPN, SEC matchup between two hungry and determined teams, and NFL talent on display all across the Jordan Hare gridiron, could a football fan ask for anything more? For three quarters the answer was no for the University of South Carolina. As the 4th quarter began the clock struck midnight for this Cinderella season and the inescapable past South Carolina has been trying to elude for 118 years appeared in the form of four 4th quarter turnovers. Our past showed no mercy and took no prisoners.
It was a fantastic football game and had I not pledged allegiance to the flagship university of the palmetto state I would’ve merely finished my beer and gone to bed. Instead, because of my decision to be a Gamecock fan and many tuition checks from my parents, I was left to witness and excruciatingly relive a quintessential South Carolina football game. There was more drama wrapped into the final fifteen minutes Saturday night than an entire collection of Keanu Reeves movies. It was if every year of South Carolina’s past was jumping up and down on the couch next to me yelling “told you so”, and right next to him was Nelson Muntz from The Simpson’s giving his signature “HA HA.” There was no escaping the pain. South Carolina fans know all too well that their beloved team will usually find a way to lose. However, each year, right next to Cubs fans and Redsox fans, we boldly believe this is the year. On Saturday night, the 2010 edition of the Gamecocks gave us another reason to relinquish hope, but it would be wrong of us to give up now, hell we’ve hung on this long, what is another year?
The season isn’t over. The goal of this team is to win the SEC east, and that destiny still lies in our hands. Of course, we were trying to believe this team was different than all of the rest and now fans, players, and coaches are second guessing everything. Let us now get to the point; what in the hell happened? Our first witness to take the stand is Ellis Johnson. You are our defensive coordinator; your goal is to stop the other team from doing exactly what they want. Newsflash, you failed. Cameron Newton, and the Auburn offense, ran basically the same four plays the entire game, and you my friend utterly failed at figuring it out. They ran the ball at will and were basically never faced with third and long situations. Please regroup, you have two weeks. The next witness; Marcus Lattimore. You didn’t have your best game Saturday night, but you were still a major factor because the entire defense was focused solely on you. You allowed our passing game to succeed and were a very valuable receiver. My only issue, you stopped getting the ball. Stephen Garcia next please. For three quarters you played the best game of your career. You made the big play, read the defense well, and delivered fantastic downfield passes. In the fourth quarter, you suddenly decided to be the same Stephen Garcia who has been arrested multiple times, fumbled multiple times, and lost football games multiple times. Thank you for your continued abysmal performances when it matters most, and I hope you aren’t allowed to be our quarterback again. You have had more chances to succeed than Obama, and yet just like him, you continue to make the exact same bad decisions. Connor Shaw, it is your turn. You came into an SEC road game, in the fourth quarter and performed like you had been there before. You one made a really bad throw, but as a freshman who was asked to go win the game, I can’t really blame you for forcing the issue. I believe you have enormous potential; it is now your time. Take the reins and learn the game on the job, we need you; you have four years, but preferably two weeks. Alshon Jeffrey, you are awesome, thank you. Next witness, Antonio Allen. When there is a fumble near the sideline, jump on the ball, possession is unbelievably valuable, remember this going forward because if you had recovered that fumble, victory could’ve been sealed. Finally, can the Ole’ Ball Coach take the stand? It is hard for me to say whether I disagree or agree with your decision to yank Garcia. You reserve the right to do what you want for two reasons, your ego is the size of Jupiter, and you are the head coach. I agree with your decision with one stipulation. Connor Shaw must remain the starter for the rest of the season. To me, your decision meant that you are fed up with Garcia and every grey hair he has given you over the last four years. To justify your move, you must let Connor Shaw remain the starter. If you try to give Garcia the starting position again, you will lose the team, and their attitudes, similar to years past, will express an absence of caring, and we will lose more often than we will win. Do the right thing Steve, you have two weeks.
On Saturday night, 118 years of Gamecock history delivered a letter to the Carolina football team. It read:
Dear 2010 Gamecocks,
118 years of dashed hope
The players, coaches, and fans have two options. They can make like Elvis Presley and return to sender, or give in, give up, and put that letter right next to the exact same one from last year. Time to see what this team is made of, prove the past wrong Carolina, keep your head up and rewrite history, your time is now.
Food for thought: Did Ryan Mallet just have a nightmarish second half Saturday, or was that meltdown voluntary?