South Carolina, Jeffery upset the No. 1 team in the nation.
By: Rob Doster | 10/12/10, 10:17 AM EDT
Stephen Garcia led South Carolina's upset of top-ranked Alabama.
The Stephens at South Carolina deserve apologies. Both Stephen Garcia and Stephen Spurrier were told they couldn’t win a big game with the Gamecocks. Garcia’s in his fourth year at the school, Spurrier in his sixth. But they finally managed to make it happen (with some help).
If the Gamecocks had beaten No. 1 Alabama in any way — quirky turnover, fluke touchdown, etc. — it would’ve been incredible. But the way South Carolina manhandled the Tide in the 35–21 win is what you really take away from the weekend. Sure, Bama’s 19-game win streak is over. So it its 29-game regular-season win streak. But the Tide should be more concerned about some specific in-game details.
Things like Marcus Lattimore’s 93 rushing yards, the most against the Tide since Nov. 24, 2007. Things like the 35 points allowed, the most since earlier in that 2007 season. Things like Alabama’s 36 rushing yards, unthinkable considering Mark Ingram (41 yards) and Trent Richardson (23 yards) are in the same backfield.
Give the Stephens credit. Spurrier dialed up a great offensive gameplan, and Garcia executed it. Alshon Jeffery has made, and will continue to make, Garcia look good. But watch those throws again: They were on the mark. Garcia’s only interception was a ball Jeffery caught, bobbled and lost to a Bama defender. Nobody’s being too critical of Jeffery, though. He’s earned some slack.
South Carolina turned a corner with the win. It’s now the favorite in a very weak East.
The question’s still out there, though: Will the Gamecocks close? It hasn’t been their strong suit. Then again, neither has beating top-ranked teams. That had never happened before in the school’s history.
How about its first appearance in the SEC title game? You know Bama would love to see the Gamecocks again.
• Let’s give South Carolina another segment, here. Ellis Johnson’s defense was completely embarrassed at Auburn two weeks ago. Cam Newton was unstoppable most of the night, and the Tigers rolled up 334 rushing yards (492 overall). Johnson got his guys to believe it was a fluke, and they sure played like it against Alabama. Greg McElroy was sacked seven times and, as mentioned earlier, Ingram and Richardson were turned into non-factors. That just doesn’t happen.
• Kentucky lost to Auburn at the final horn, but Joker Phillips must be doing something right up there. After getting drilled at Florida and Ole Miss, the Wildcats could’ve folded down 31–14 in the second quarter to the Tigers. But they kicked a field goal before the break and Randall Cobb willed UK to a 31–31 tie after catching a score and running for another in the third quarter. As long as Kentucky has Cobb, it’ll have a shot.
• Mississippi State put up 47 points and 538 yards on Houston. Yes, it’s Houston, but the Bulldogs could use the confidence. Florida had better look out this week. This is Mississippi State’s Super Bowl, with Dan Mullen returning to Gainesville. The Bulldogs hung with Florida a year ago, and they’re better and the Gators are currently in an offensive crisis (see, below).
• Don’t really know what to make of LSU’s win at Florida. At face value, you have to credit the Tigers for getting a win, by whatever means necessary, in a very tough place to win. But then there’s the man who acknowledges his own nickname, the Mad Hatter. Les Miles’ fake field goal call in the final seconds was so dumb it was genius. The Tigers, with kicker Josh Jasper running, converted the first down and won. When does Miles’ luck run out? Does it?
• Could someone teach Counting 101 to Tennessee’s football team? Another week, another instance of the Volunteers playing something other than 11 on a play (or plays) during a game. After 13 on the game-losing play at LSU, the Vols had 10 in to block a Georgia field goal. (Same thing happened against UAB, earlier in the season.) That field goal didn’t make a difference, obviously, in Georgia’s 41–14 beatdown of Tennessee. But it is indicative of the consistent issues plaguing the team in Derek Dooley’s first season. The Vol Navy is a sinking ship.
• Officially halfway through its season, Florida’s offense is still a mess. The lack of an in-between-the-tackles runner is killing the Gators. John Brantley tried to play through injuries Saturday, too, and he’s yet to really take hold of the position the way many assumed. Then again, he’s still struggling to consistently get the snap from Mike Pouncey. At this rate, the wait for Florida’s offense to break out might last into the off-season. Frankly, the Gators are underachieving. There’s too much talent there for this to be the case, week in and week out. The offensive coaches, Urban Meyer included, aren’t getting the talent in the positions to succeed.
Stud of the Week
Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina WR
As we’ve said before, the guy is just flat-out uncoverable. A.J. Green and Julio Jones are terrific receivers, but Jeffery’s name belongs among them. Because, with 625 yards and four touchdowns in five games, he’s playing better than them right now. Oh, and his Gamecocks have already beaten both of their teams, even if Green didn’t suit up for Georgia.
Dud of the Week
Jim McElwain, Alabama offensive coordinator
You’ve got Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. Use them. You trailed big early, but that didn’t stop you at Arkansas. Ingram and Richardson combined for 17 carries at South Carolina, about half of what they should’ve had. Why would Bama choose to get away from what it does, until it absolutely has to?
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