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10/06/2012 11:43 PM EDT
No. 6 South Carolina dominates in 35-7 victory
SOUTH CAROLINA 35, GEORGIA 7
By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- In a career of special moments, Steve
Spurrier added another one in South Carolina's victory over
fifth-ranked Georgia. And there may be some even bigger ones
ahead for the Gamecocks and their ball coach.
Connor Shaw threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, Ace
Sanders had a dazzling 70-yard punt return touchdown and No. 6
South Carolina's defense dominated fifth-ranked Georgia in a
35-7 victory Saturday night.
"If we play like this, maybe we have a chance for a real big
year," Spurrier said. "Maybe."
Spurrier's caution is well placed. After all, this is the
The Gamecocks (6-0, 4-0 SEC) head to angry LSU, the defending
league champions who lost for the first time earlier Saturday,
next week night, then go to Florida - the undefeated Gators beat
LSU - for a game that should decide the Eastern Division.
South Carolina sure looks ready for the challenge.
"We definitely sent a message out to the whole country,"
Gamecocks tailback Marcus Lattimore said. "It's not the old
South Carolina. We can play with y'all. We can play with
The Gamecocks their school-record 10th straight game with a
performance that marked certainly marked them an Eastern
Division front-runner - and maybe showed they're capable of even
"This was a special one," said Spurrier, who has a national
title on his impressive resume from his time with Florida. "It
South Carolina grounded "Gurshall," holding Georgia's stellar
freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall to 76 yards combined.
The Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1) finished with 224 yards, less than half
their season's average coming in.
"First of all, the bad news is we took a whipping. The good news
is we all took it together. It was a team loss," Georgia coach
Mark Richt said.
Lattimore ended with 109 yards and a touchdown, the third
straight time he's gone past the century mark on the Bulldogs.
Coincidence the Gamecocks have posted their first-ever three
game win streak in the series that began in 1894?
The Gamecocks 10th straight victory surpasses a school best set
with their 9-0 start in 1984. That team reached No. 2 in the
country and were poised for the top spot when No. 1 Nebraska
lost, but South Carolina fell to Navy to lose perhaps its
best-ever shot at a national champion.
This South Carolina team showed the brand of championship
defense usually found on the SEC's best teams.
Georgia came in with a league-leading 48.2 points and 536 yards
a game of offense - and where shut down by the Gamecocks.
Gurley and Marshall kept pounding the line to little effect,
held scoreless after combining for 294 yards and five TDs in
last week's win over Tennessee. Aaron Murray was 11 of 31 for
109 yards. He was sacked twice and threw one interception.
The game figured to be a matchup of Georgia's explosive offense
against South Carolina's impenetrable D. The Gamecocks showed
early it was no contest, holding the Bulldogs to just 111 yards
of offense in the first half and taking control of the game.
South Carolina's offense set the tone at first, Spurrier once
again showing there are few better at calling plays. Damiere
Byrd outfought Georgia's Bacarri Rambo for a 42-yard catch on
the game's second snap. Two plays later, Shaw hit a wide-open
Bruce Ellington for a 20-yard TD catch that sent the record
crowd of 85,199 into a frenzy.
They had more to celebrate moments later when Kelcy Quarles
tipped Murray's pass high in the air and safety DeVonte Holloman
made a diving interception. Shaw cashed in again for the
Gamecocks, ending a 69-yard sequence when tight end Rory
Anderson came open in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown.
South Carolina used special teams - typically a Georgia strength
- to extend the lead a few plays later after a three-and-out by
the Bulldogs. Sanders bobbled the punt, got the ball back, broke
several tackles and outrun the punter to the left pylon for a
21-0 lead with less than nine minutes gone.
The Gamecocks defense took control after that.
Georgia "didn't move it very far when they were out there,"
Spurrier said with a grin.
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney sacked Murray for
a loss of 6 yards to stall one series. Gurley and Marshall were
continually swallowed up for minimal gains. The Bulldogs looked
as if they'd found their footing right before halftime, Murray
converting three third-down passes to get to the Gamecocks 4.
But on fourth-and-goal, Rantavious Wooten was stopped shy of the
end zone after catching a short pass by D.J. Swearinger and Shaq
First-year defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward thought his team
could put on a show against the high-powered Bulldogs. "I
believe in the young men that I coach every day, I believe in
the system that we run and I believe we can play with anybody,"
The biggest drama of the second half was whether Georgia would
leave with its first shutout since a 31-0 loss to Alabama in
1995. Spurrer kept his defensive starters in, yet the Bulldogs
drove 75 yards to score on Ken Malcome's 3-yard TD run with 1:55
Malcome finished as the team's top rusher with 45 yards, all on
Georgia's scoring drive.
"We hoped to make a play to change momentum but they never
allowed us to," Richt said.
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