Most Notes From SC Game Are Negative
Alabama was not the team of the past two-plus years on Saturday at South Carolina, and as a result the fall will be hard, though probably not too far. The Crimson Tide was blasted by the Gamecocks, 35-21, Bama's first loss since the end of the 2007 season.
The 35 points allowed by Alabama is the most scored by an opponent since LSU scored 41 in a 41-34 Alabama loss to the Tigers in Tuscaloosa on November 3, 2007.
One looking for a positive could take this. The Crimson Tide defense continues its streak of not allowing an opposing runner to have 100 yards rushing in a game. That streak is now 39 games. But it was a hollow success as South Carolina freshman tailback Marcus Lattimore had 23 carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns against the Tide.
Meanwhile, Alabama's outstanding tailbacks had a lackluster day, in part because of Bama being behind most of the game. Mark Ingram had 11 rushes for 41 yards and Trent Richardson six carries for 24 yards.
Crimson Tide quarterback Greg McElroy had what appears to be an outstanding game. He completed 27 of 34 passes for 315 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. But he was sacked seven times and he had 12 carries for minus 28 yards.
It was the first loss ever suffered by McElroy as a starting quarterback in college. He is now 19-1.
The loss ended all sorts of good streaks for the Alabama team that won the 2009 national championship.
Alabama had won five straight games and two Southeastern Conference games to start this season and was near-unanimous number one in the nation.
Alabama had won 19 consecutive games.
Alabama had won 29 regular season games in a row.
Alabama had won 18 consecutive SEC games.
Now Alabama is just one of many teams that will be trying to rebound from a loss next week.
The deficits in Saturday's game were almost unprecedented, and did not bode well for Crimson Tide success. Bama fell to 3-6 when trailing at halftime under Coach Nick Saban. South Carolina led Alabama, 21-9, at the half.
Alabama trailed South Carolina by 12 points (21-9) at halftime, marking the first time Alabama has trailed by more than 10 points at intermission since Utah led the Crimson Tide by 11 points, 21-10, at halftime of the 2009 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2, 2009, in an eventual 31-17 loss by the Tide to the Utes.
Alabama's 18-point (21-3) deficit in the second quarter was the largest faced by Alabama this season and the second-largest deficit Alabama has faced in any game since Saban took over the team in 2007 (largest was 21 points vs. Utah in the first quarter of the 2009 Sugar Bowl, 0-21). The previous largest deficit was a 13-point deficit in the third quarter at Arkansas on Sept. 25.
The 14 points scored by South Carolina in the first quarter is the most allowed by Alabama this season and the first time the Crimson Tide has allowed that many points in a single period since giving up 14 to Auburn in an eventual 26-21 Alabama victory on November 27, 2009.
South Carolina's 21 points in the first half is the most allowed by Alabama in a first half since giving up 21 vs. Utah in the first half of the 2009 Sugar Bowl, a 31-17 loss. It is the most points allowed by Alabama in any half since yielding 30 at Georgia in the second half on Sept. 27, 2008, in a 41-30 Alabama victory.
Senior tight end Preston Dial caught a career-high 5 passes for 29 yards against South Carolina, all coming in the first half. That eclipsed his previous single-game best for catches of 3 (for 39 yards) set on Sept. 18 against Duke.
Freshman linebacker C.J. Mosley started at linebacker, the first start of his Alabama career. Mosley became the first true freshman to start at linebacker for Alabama since Dont'a Hightower in 2008 and Rolando McClain in 2007.
With Mosley's starting assignment against South Carolina, a total of 20 Alabama players have made their first collegiate starts this season – 15 positional starters and 5 specialists. Three first-time starters have been on offense: LG Chance Warmack, RT DJ Fluker, RB Trent Richardson. There have been 12 first-time starters on defense: DE Damion Square, DE Luther Davis, NG Kerry Murphy, LB Chavis Williams, LB C.J. Mosley, LB Jerrell Harris, LB Ed Stinson, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, CB DeQuan Menzie, CB DeMarcus Milliner, FS Robert Lester and CB Phelon Jones. Five more have made starting debuts on special teams: DS Carson Tinker, K Cade Foster, P Cody Mandell and K Jeremy Shelley.
Despite the loss, Alabama leads the series with South Carolina, 10-3 (12-3 before NCAA vacations and forfeits). The Crimson Tide and Gamecocks first met on Oct. 9, 1937, with the Tide posting a 20-0 win. Saturday's game was the eighth meeting between Alabama and South Carolina since the Gamecocks joined the SEC in 1992. Alabama has won five of the eight meetings in SEC play. Alabama has won three of the five meetings with South Carolina in Columbia.
With the loss, Saban is 1-3 as a head coach against South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier. Both of Spurrier's two previous wins over Saban came during Spurrier's last two seasons at Florida before departing for the Washington Redskins, which coincided with Saban's first two seasons at LSU. In their first meeting, Spurrier's Gators took a 41-9 victory over Saban's Tigers in Gainesville on Oct. 7, 2000. The next season saw a similar result with Florida beating LSU, 44-15, on Oct. 6, 2001, in Baton Rouge. Last year Alabama was a 20-6 winner over South Carolina.
The loss to South Carolina drops Alabama to 12-3 against the Associated Press Top 25 over the past three seasons and 8-2 against AP top 10 teams. It also ended a streak by Alabama of nine straight wins against top 25 teams. Alabama is 3-1 against the AP Top 25 this season.
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