USC’s latest win was a seesaw affair that once again saw Carolina score touchdowns in a variety of ways. Just as they did in their season opening win over East Carolina, the Gamecocks battled from behind to get a win. To the uniformed, the 45-42 win for the Gamecocks appears to be an old fashion offensive shootout. Except that the Gamecocks’ defense and special teams scored as many touchdowns as the offense.
Stephen Garcia passed for one score to Alshon Jeffery and ran for another, and Marcus Lattimore rushed for a touchdown. But the Gamecocks don’t beat the Bulldogs without Melvin Ingram scoring on a fake punt and a fumble recovery, and Antonio Allen returing an interception for a touchdown for the third straight regular season game.
Garcia never did get into a passing rhythm completing just 11 of 25 for 142 yards and 2 interceptions. But he did direct the Gamecocks to a fourth quarter, come from behind SEC road victory. Trailing 35-31 with 6:23 to play, Garcia hit Ace Sanders for 30 yards to the Georgia 38. Marcus Lattimore then broke off a 36 yard run, and he finished off the drive two plays later with a three yard touchdown run. Lattimore finished with 176 yards on the night. That’s the 21st best single game rushing effort in school history. Lattimore also owns the 8th and 16th best rushing nights in Gamecock history.
It took Ingram to seal the deal. He scored earlier in the game on a 68 yard run off a fake punt. This time he picked up an Aaron Murray fumble and rumbled five yards for a touchdown with 3:12 to play that put the Gamecocks up by ten.
The Gamecocks would need that touchdown because Georgia came flying down the field and scored a quick touchdown to get back to within three. But then Ingram recovered the onsides kick, and the Gamecocks ran out the clock for the win. Antonio Allen also scored a defensive touchdown with a 25 yard interception return, and Stephon Gilmore nearly scored on a 56 yard fumble return to the Georgia five. Those were highlight moments for a defense which still game up 4 touchdown passes for the second consecutive game. On the night, associate head coach for defense Ellis Johnson, who coached from the sideline instead of the booth, watched his unit give up 436 total yards.
The Gamecocks finished with 395 total yards, 253 on the ground. Jeffery had 5 catches on the night and Ace Sanders, making his first career start, had 3 receptions. No other wide receivers caught a pass.
LB Quin Smith led the defense with 8 tackles unofficially. DJ Swearinger added 7. And Jadeveon Clowney, who did not start but came in early in the opening series, had two tackles, both sacks, and he forced the fumble that Ingram recovered for the touchdown.