The good news is the play of the defense, which sacked Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy eight times. On offense, the Gamecocks managed to remain one step ahead of the Crimson Tide thanks to the play of quarterback Stephen Garcia, receiver Alshon Jeffery, running back Marcus Lattimore and the offensive line.
"We played some ball today," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "We had to play ball today -- played to the end. Looked up and we had beaten the number one by a couple of touchdowns. ... We have to build on it. We're not a great team that we can just show up and play. We have to show up and play with fire, smarts, and then we're a pretty good team."
South Carolina used its bye week constructively as it rebounded from a disappointing road loss to Auburn in which it led for most of the game.
After somewhat getting away from its game plan of using Lattimore to set up the passing game, the Gamecocks returned to that plan of attack. The freshman running back rushed for 93 yards and two touchdowns, while also scoring one receiving, against Alabama.
Garcia completed 17 of 20 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, with two going to Jeffery, who finished with seven catches for 127 yards. That marked the fourth time this season he has topped the 100-yard mark.
"We devised a pretty nice game plan for them the past two weeks," Garcia said. "The bye week couldn't have come at a better time. We had a great game plan, and we executed the best we've executed any game plan this year. I can't really recall a time the offense played like this."
--Sophomore wide receiver Alshon Jeffery continues to make his case as the best wide receiver in the Southeastern Conference. His seven catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama gives him 34 catches for 625 yards and four scores in the five games.
--Freshman Marcus Lattimore continues to prove he's one of the top first-year players in the nation, as his 93 rushing yards were better than the Alabama duo of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson had combined.
--Coach Steve Spurrier moved into sole possession of second place on the all-time SEC wins list, breaking the tie with Ole Miss legend John Vaught with his 107th win. He trails only former Alabama head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, who had 159 career wins. "It's sort of neat to get that SEC record. I have to admit that," Spurrier said. "It's kind of neat to get it against Alabama. Alabama, Bear Bryant holds the record, which probably no one will catch. To be second to him against Alabama, number one in the country, I gave myself a game ball."
GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Stephen Garcia -- The redshirt junior quarterback has been in coach Steve Spurrier's doghouse virtually since enrolling at South Carolina. Following the win over Alabama, Garcia earned praise from the Ball Coach after managing the Gamecock offense almost flawlessly, completing 17 of 20 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns.
KEEP AN EYE ON: The Gamecocks' offensive line -- Considered the weak point of the team entering the season, the offensive line allowed only one quarterback sack against a stout Alabama defense and consistently opened holes for freshman running back Marcus Lattimore. Its performance prompted Steve Spurrier to call offensive line coach Shawn Elliott the best offensive line coach with which he has ever worked.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Coach (Steve) Spurrier said, 'Give fate a chance,' and we did. We did. We hung in there and we responded I think to every point they scored. Every point they scored, the offense came in there and scored right back. I think that's what won the game was us, responding." -- QB Stephen Garcia.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: While known for having passing teams, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier has proven he is more than willing to ride freshman running back Marcus Lattimore, who has gained 459 yards and scored eight touchdowns on the ground. He has also caught eight passes for 81 yards and a score. The defense, which allowed more than 300 rushing yards against Auburn, limited the Crimson Tide to 36 yards on the ground, while coming up with a season-high seven quarterback sacks(tie, Furman). The team must find a way to keep it going on the road against a Kentucky team that Spurrier has never lost to.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The South Carolina secondary allowed more than 300 passing yards, thanks to several busted coverages.
--South Carolina suffered no injuries in the game. Redshirt junior linebacker Shaq Wilson missed the game after re-injuring a hamstring against Auburn. The team now plans to redshirt him.