The Gamecocks get a huge break early in the third quarter as they recover a fumble on a completed pass at the ECU 34. Garcia got the Gamecocks into the endzone with a 25 yard pass to Alshon Jeffery and later a three yard scoring pass to Ace Sanders. With 12:28 left in the third quarter, ECU leads 24-21.
The Gamecocks forced another turnover on ECU’s next possession recovering a bad snap at the Pirate ten yard line. Two plays later Garcia ran in from the ten for his second touchdown of the night. It’s the third time in his career Garcia has scored two touchdowns in a game. USC leads 28-24 with 10:40 left in the third quarter.
The Gamecock defense came up big again on ECU’s next play. Antonio Allen stripped the ball from Michael Dobson and ran it back 25 yards for a touchdown. It was Allen’s second touchdown in his last two regular season games. He returned an interception against Clemson. And it was USC’s first fumble return for a touchdown since 2007. USC leads 35-24 with 10:29 left in the quarter.
ECU finally stops the bleeding putting together a quick scoring drive highlighted by a 30 yard pass from Davis to Lance Lewis who once again beat Stephon Gilmore on a jump ball at the USC seven. Davis ran in on the next play. USC 35-ECU 31 with 8:35 left in the third quarter.
The Gamecocks answered with a 10 play, 59 yard drive eating up over five minutes. The Gamecocks gave the ECU defense a steady diet of Marcus Lattimore on the drive. He carried seven times for 38 yards including a one yard touchdown run. That put USC up 42-31 with 3:13 left in the quarter and that’s how the quarter ended.
USC had 109 total yards in the quarter. Lattimore had 46 rushing yards giving him 86 for the game.