Alabama suffered its first-ever loss to South Carolina, dropping a 37-36 decision to the Gamecocks here this afternoon. USC scored the last two touchdowns, rallying from a 36-24 deficit in the fourth quarter. Alabama now leads the all-time series 10-1.
Alabama/South Carolina game notes:
Gary Ness, who was athletics director at New Mexico and hired Dennis Franchione as head coach for the Lobos in 1992, is in attendance today as a guest of Franchione. Ness is now retired and living in Lynchburg, Virginia. He teaches part time at Lynchburg (Va.) college.
Redshirt freshman Evan Mathis (Homewood, Ala.) made his first career start today. He replaced Dante Ellington (junior from Leighton, Ala.) who had started 27 consecutive games prior to today.
Today's game also marked the first career start for the Tide's Cornelius Wortham (sophomore, Calhoun City, Miss.). He started at strong linebacker in place of Victor Ellis who had started 14 career games and the first three of this season.
When Alabama marched 79 yards on its opening drive, it marked the first time this season that the Tide had scored on its opening possession.
Tide quarterback Tyler Watts rushed 22 times for 162 and scored two touchdowns in today's loss to South Carolina. Watts is the first Alabama quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game since Walter Lewis rushed for 156 yards against Cincinnati in 1982. Only 12 Alabama quarterbacks have ever rushed for 100 yards in a game.
In addition, Watts 162 rushing yards are the second-most rushing yards by an Alabama quarterback in school history. The single-game record is held by Steadman Shealy, who rushed for 190 yards in a win over Miss. State in 1979.
Watts also had an excellent day throwing the football, too. The junior completed 20 of 25 passes for 231 yards. He added one TD and threw one interception.
Watts completed 80 percent of his passes in the game against South Carolina to set the Alabama single-game record for completion percentage, with a minimum of 20 completions. The previous record was held by Jay Barker (24-for-36), who completed 76.5 percent of his passes in a 29-28 win over Georgia in 1994.
In terms of total offense, Watts accounted for 393 total yards in today's game. Watts ran 47 total plays, including 22 rushes (162 yards) and 25 pass attempts (231 yards). Watts' 393 yards of total offense is the second-most in a game for a Crimson Tide player. The single-game record is held by Scott Hunter, who had 457 yards of total offense (484 pass, -27 rushing) against Auburn in 1969.
Wide receiver Freddie Milons had seven receptions for 49 yards at halftime of today's game, tying the total receptions he had in three previous games. He had 7 catches for 177 yards and 2 TDs prior to today's game.
The Alabama receiver finished the game with eight catches for 72 yards. He now has 131 career recpetions, one shy of David Bailey's (1969-71) all-time record of 132 career receptions.
After getting just 50 offensive snaps last week against Arkansas, the Tide had 49 in the first half today against the Gamecocks. Alabama finished the game with a season-high 83 total snaps.
Junior tailback Ahmaad Galloway had 22 rushes for 75 yards ane one TD. He became the 40th player in Alabama history to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark. Galloway now has 1,050 career yards. He broke the 1,000-yard mark with a 3-yard TD run with 8:39 left in the third quarter.
With 13:54 left in the fourth quarter, Matt Lomax saw the first action of his collegiate career. He entered the game when Marico Portis turned his ankle and had to leave the game.