It's always been said that a little of something is a good thing, but more is better. For the Gamecock football team the saying should say; "If a little of Lattimore is good, more is better." That was the case on Saturday afternoon as the freshman sensation rushed for a career-high 182 yards on 37 carries and scored twice as the #24 Gamecocks beat #22 Georgia 17-6 inside a rocking Williams-Brice Stadium.
"We finally smarted up and said 'run Marcus Lattimore every play,'" South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said. "Obviously Marcus is a very good running back. He can hit a crack, break tackles, run forward and holds onto the ball."
Lattimore, coming off a 14 carry, 59 yard performance against Southern Miss, was the focal point early and often. Facing a 3rd and 12 on the first possession of the game, Lattimore took the hand-off on a draw play and sprinted left for a 16-yard gain and a first down. Lattimore would gain 50 yards on the drive, finishing with a touchdown from 2 yards out.
"We knew coming into the game that their ends were playing wide and we could just gash them up the middle," Lattimore said. T.J. (Johnson) did a good job of moving that nose guard and we just kept gashing them because they were playing wide."
"He was running very, very well," Spurrier said. We look back and thought we should have given it to him 47 times with all those pass plays we attempted that didn't go far. We had tremendous confidence in Marcus. He's obviously a big time running back."
On South Carolina's final drive of the half, it was the Lattimore show once again. Lattimore had 5 carries on the drive, running for 17 yards and another 2-yard touchdown run to give the Gamecocks a 14-3 lead heading into the locker room.
"Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what the story of the game was," Georgia coach Marck Richt said. "Number 21 Marcus Lattimore was certainly the most dominating player in the game. They just kept feeding him the ball. Twenty-one carries in the first half for over 100 yards, the kid was outstanding. I think history will prove that he is one of the best."
The second half proved to be more of the same for the Gamecock offense. They continued to pound the ball with Lattimore every chance they got, particularly on the final drive that iced the game. The Gamecocks ran 11 plays on the 57-yard drive that ate up over 7:00 off the clock. Lattimore ran it 8 times on the drive and gained 56 yards. Lattimore said that Spurrier let him know prior to the drive that the ball was going to be in his hands.
"He (Spurrier) said that," Lattimore said. "I knew I had to get ready to get the ball every play."
During that drive chants of "Latt-i-more" began in the West Stands. Lattimore said he heard the fans chanting his name and that's what kept him going.
"I heard them chanting my name," Lattimore said. "I was tired, but that got me up. I was going only on adrenaline on that drive because I was dead."
The question Georgia fans will be asking for days to come: How did we give up so many yards to a freshman running back? The answer is a simple one. Georgia just could not stop the zone read, Lattimore's bread and butter play.
"That's all we ran," Lattimore said of the zone read at Byrnes. "I ran it for four years. That's my favorite play. When they're playing a 3-man front, someone's over T.J. (center). We try to push him to the right on an inside zone right, and I just read off him."
"Everybody is running (inside zone)," Spurrier said. "Our guys just blocked it well. Marcus has a knack of finding that crease. His shoulder pads are almost always square when he hits the hole. He's never upright when guys hit him inside. He has a knack of running low and square to the ground. If you can fall forward you gain three more yards. Marcus rarely gets knocked back."
No one in the stadium expected to see Lattimore get the ball 37 times and run for as many yards as he did. Marcus himself didn't expect to get it that many times.
"I wasn't expecting that, but it pays off from all the hard work we've put in during the summer," Lattimore said. "Our offensive line was in better shape than their defensive line.
"I just want to play and produce and help the team any way I can," Lattimore said. If today was any indication, Lattimore is well on his way doing all three.
Home Field Advantage
With the win, the Gamecocks are 10-1 in its last 11 games in Columbia, including 6-1 in SEC games.
Back to .500
With the win, the Gamecocks are now back at .500 all time with a record of 536-536-44.
Return of the Fire Ants?
The Gamecocks have now won five straight games in garnet jerseys and pants.
A Long Time Coming
The Gamecocks' win over Georgia is the first home win against the Bulldogs since 2000. Ironically, it was also an 11-point win.
Lattimore 1 Shy of Gamecock Record
Lattimore's 37 carries was 1 short of George Rogers' all-time record of 38, set twice in 1979 against Duke and again in 1980 against Wake Forest.
Jeffery Hits Century Mark Again
Alshon Jeffery had 100+ yards receiving for the second straight game and fifth in his career. He caught 7 passes for 103 yards. He is now 28 yards away from the 1,000 mark. His 40-yard reception was the second consecutive game in which he caught a 40+ yard pass. He had a 46-yard catch against Southern Miss.
"When my number is called, I just want to make the play," Jeffery said. "As long as we get the win, that's all that matters."
Opening Drive Makes History
South Carolina's opening drive was a 16-play, 79 yard drive that took 8:02 off the clock. It was the longest scoring drive in the Spurrier era at South Carolina, while the number of plays was second-longest in the Spurrier era.
"It was a way to set the tone in the game," quarterback Stephen Garcia said. "Unfortunately we couldn't do it every drive, but it set the tone and came out big for us."
"The offense did great," cornerback Stephon Gilmore said. "They kept us off the field. We were just on the field for one drive during the first quarter. They gave us a lot of rest."
Garcia Managing the Game
Stephen Garcia was only 12-17 passing for 165 yards. He is now 10-8 as a starter.
"As long as we win it doesn't really matter to me," Garcia said of only throwing 17 passes. "We can win and I throw 3 passes and it wouldn't matter to me. We can run the Georgia Tech offense and it wouldn't matter."
Running It All Day
The 52 rushes were second-most in the Spurrier era, behind the 58 against Clemson last year. A lot of that goes to the offensive line.
"They were able to block extremely well the whole game," Garcia said. Spurrier agreed.
"I think the biggest reason it was a good win for us is not so much in beating Georgia, but domination the line of scrimmage," Spurrier said. "We haven't been able to control the line of scrimmage the way we did today."
Gamecocks Shut Down Bulldog Offense
Georgia's 6 points were the fewest allowed by Carolina to a Bulldog team since a 2-0 victory in 1904. The Bulldogs have scored at least 7 points in every game since then.
"The defense played well," Spurrier said.
"It means a lot," strong safety DeVonte Holloman said in holding the Dawgs to just 6 points. "We pride ourselves on not giving up many points. We take a bend but don't break attitude."
"We were pretty much prepared for this game," Gilmore said. "We knew what they were going to run. We just came out and executed."
Devin with 2
Devin Taylor had 2 sacks in the game, giving him 4 for his career.
Holloman Causes Both Turnovers
DeVonte Holloman has caused both turnovers this season. He had an interception last week and forced the fumble against Georgia.
"Coach has been emphasizing turnovers all summer and we are starting to get them now," Holloman said. "We've got to capitalize; offense did a good job of trying to get it out of the end zone and score."
Culliver moving up charts
On his three returns on the day, Chris Culliver has moved into 4th all time in the SEC in return yards at 2,279. He moved 16 ahead of Vanderbilt's Mark Johnson. His 97 career returns to move him to 3rd in SEC history, ahead of Kentucky's Derek Abney and LSU's Domanick Davis. He is 10 away from 2nd, and 15 away from the all-time mark.
Lanning Booms It
Spencer Lanning continues to kick the ball well. His first punt traveled 53 yards, giving him three straight 50-yard punts. He had punts of 52 and 53 last week.
The Bulldogs lost for the first time in Columbia under Mark Richt. Richt is now 4-1 in Columbia.
"I think he (Spurrier) has a heck of a team," Richt said. "Of course he's got a great back, a veteran quarterback, his receivers are monsters. And Coach Ellis (Johnson), I've always had a lot of respect for him and his ability to caoch defense. They have a good team, they have a very good team. They handled us, and when we had a chance to get back in it with the score we turn it over and lose momentum, but they did a nice job.
Houston Racking Up
Justin Houston finished with 3 sacks. This was the most for Georgia since Marcus Howard also registered 3 back in 2008 against Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.
Freshmen twins Alec Olgetree and Alexander Olgetree became the first brothers to play at the same time since 1999. They took the field on special teams. Dustin and Miles Luckie played in 1999.
Walsh Gets Two More
Kicker Blair Walsh connected on a 26-yarder and 27-yarder. Walsh is now 4-4 on the season and 39-49 on his career.
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