South Carolina overcame a rough offensive outing with some big time plays from it's star players to hang on to beat Georgia 45-42. USC got two touchdowns from defensive tackle Melvin Ingram with one on a fake punt run for 68 yards for the score and the other on a fumble return off an Aaron Murray sack. Marcus Lattimore picked up 176 yards on 27 carries with one touchdown and really wore down Georgia in the second half with his power running style. SPUR Antonio Allen had an interception returned for a touchdown and star freshman Jadeveon Clowney picked up the first two sacks of his young career.
This game had it's back and forth moments all night long. Georgia really seemed in control during the first half behind a power run game from freshman Isaiah Crowell and Richard Samuel. They gained big yardage and moved the ball fairly easily on the South Carolina defensive front seven. However South Carolina held strong and held UGA to two field goals over several possessions in the first half. USC's offense was lacking the punch but Stephen Garcia finally found Alshon Jeffery for a 34-yard touchdown on a perfect pass as he was forced out of the pocket. However UGA would answer back with it's own touchdown pass from Aaron Murray to Rantavious Wooten with less than 3 minutes left in the first half. The play of the game came next. USC was forced to punt with a little over 2 minutes left when new special teams coach John Butler called up the perfect fake punt. The ball was hiked to the upback who was Melvin Ingram and he found a seam on the left side and broke free. He had one man to beat in Brandon Boykin and put a nice juke move on him and ran all the way into the end zone. The big defensive tackle showed off impressive speed on this play. USC goes into halftime with a 14-13 lead.
Things got really interesting in the second half. Georgia would have two turnovers that USC would add points on the board including the Antonio Allen interception for a touchdown mentioned earlier. South Carolina began to settle down on offense and let Marcus Lattimore carry the load for the Gamecocks. Heading into the fourth quarter the score would be 28-20. Georgia would tie it up early in the fourth with a touchdown and two-point conversion to make it 28-28. Jay Wooten nailed a big 48-yard field goal for South Carolina for a three-point lead. UGA would then go ahead with a Isaiah Crowell 15-yard run to take the lead at 35-31. This is where South Carolina answered. USC would go on a 6 play, 79-yard drive ending in a Marcus Lattimore 3-yard touchdown run. The next series for UGA would be short as freshman Jadeveon Clowney sacked Aaron Murray untouched and forced a fumble that Melvin Ingram would return 5-yards for a touchdown. Carolina takes a 45-35 lead here and seemingly has a victory in hand.
But wait, this game's not over.
Georgia would go on a 4 play, 62 yard drive ending in an Aaron Murray touchdown pass to Tavarres King touchdown. 2 minutes and 15 seconds are left on the clock at this point and Mark Richt calls up the onside kick. Georgia takes the chance, hits the onside, and it's recovered. The player who recovered the ball? None other than Gamecocks star of the night Melvin Ingram. USC would be able to kill the clock to finish out this wild game and start 1-0 in the SEC.
Marcus Lattimore really took over in the second half for the Gamecocks and had added big run after big run to sustain some much needed drives for this Gamecock offense. Quarterback Stephen Garcia was ineffective passing most of the night and so it was key for Marcus Lattimore to perform and that's exactly what he did. Lattimore's offseason workouts to increase his strength and stamina have really paid off these first two games as he's gotten stronger in the second half. If South Carolina can fix some things on defense and get some consistency out of the passing game, they are headed for a big season.
Right now, though, they are 1-0 in the SEC and that's all that matters.