USC wins record-setting Senior Day 69-24

After South Carolina's 41-13 season-opening win over Southern Miss, the only thing Steve Spurrier could find wrong was that his Gamecocks couldn't seem to score 50 points on anybody. Spurrier couldn't even say that Saturday afternoon as Carolina passed that number in the first half and cruised to a 69-24 victory on a record-setting Senior Day in front of 74,117 fans in Williams-Brice Stadium.

Spurrier assured fans earlier this week that freshman Marcus Lattimore was going to get the ball early and often. Lattimore got the ball early but didn't need it often. He scored touchdowns on three of his first four carries and needed just seven carries to get 102 yards. The freshman running back, who now has 1,066 yards on the season, became the Gamecocks first 1,000-yard rusher since Derek Watson passed the century mark in 2000.

Not to be outdone, sophomore receiver Alshon Jeffery's 5-catch, 123-yard outing gave him 1,230 receiving yards on the season breaking Sidney Rice's record.

"A lot of guys played super," Spurrier said after the game. "I am really proud of our team being ready to play. Marcus (Lattimore) ran about like he always does. Stephen Garcia had an excellent game going 9-of-12 with a bunch of yards and hitting some big passes. He was real good today. Alshon (Jeffery) was also very good today as usual, and Ace sanders got his first touchdown of the year. We had some good things happen today. We are happy to get the win and we are glad that a lot of guys got to play."

While Lattimore and Jeffery were phenomenal as usual, the entire South Carolina team seemed to have everything go its way in a 56-point first half outburst that was keyed by multiple Troy miscues.

"The first half was certainly one of the worst halves of football I've ever experienced as a coach or a player," Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said. "We acted like we had never seen a football field. But we were playing against a very good football team and they displayed some good attributes offensively and defensively. We gave them enough to beat us."

And South Carolina took full advantage.

After Troy fumbled the game's opening kickoff, Lattimore raced untouched 17 yards to put South Carolina up 7-0 on the first offensive play of the game. Just two minutes later, Lattimore set up his own 8-yard touchdown run with a 58-yard scamper out of the I-formation.

After Troy dropped the snap on a punt attempt in South Carolina territory, Lattimore's 5-yard run put South Carolina up 21-0 with 8:36 still left on the first quarter clock.

Just three minutes later, Stephen Garcia found Ace Sanders on a deep corner route that the freshman caught and cut up field for 51-yard and the first touchdown of his career.

Garcia finished the day 9-for-12 passing for 198 yards and 2 touchdowns before he, Lattimore and Jeffery spent the entire second half watching from the sideline.

Senior tight end and fullback Patrick DiMarco caught a 7-yard pass from Garcia for a touchdown to push the lead to 35-0, before Troy finally broke its drought on a double pass from 25 yards out.

South Carolina wasted little time in going right back down the field. After breaking the school record on a 26-yard catch, Jeffery set up the score with a 44-yard reception to the Troy one-yard-line. Two plays later, Garcia snuck it over the goal line for a 42-7 lead.

"That was awesome to see," Garcia said of the early offensive touchdowns. "We came in with a game plan to run Marcus and have a lot of play action passes, and it worked to perfection. That is what we try to do every week, and it was good to see especially after a big win last week."

With the first half clock finally running down, the South Carolina defense got in on the scoring. Safety D.J. Swearinger broke on a short Troy pass and glided untouched into the end zone. Moment later, defensive end Chaz Sutton, intercepted a deflected pass and raced 56 yards as time expired to put the Gamecocks up 56-7. It was the first time South Carolina scored two defensive touchdowns since Eric Norwood scored two against Kentucky in 2007. Troy turned the ball over five times on the day while Carolina had just a lone fumble.

"It was good to get a bunch of turnovers," Spurrier said. "That is how you score a lot of points quickly. We started over there on their end of the field several times.

"The defensive guys enjoy scoring just like the offensive guys do."

The 56-points are thought to be the most scored in a half in school history, though box scores from the 1902 and '03 seasons were not readily available.

Spencer Lanning opened the second-half scoring with a 32-yard field goal.

The Trojans refused to quit, rattling off 17 straight points against mostly South Carolina back-ups in the 3rd and early 4th quarters.

"We scored a whole bunch of points in the first half and I was hoping we would play well in the second half with our backup guys," Spurrier said before later mentioning that the Gamecocks have won without having much depth this season.

The South Carolina offense – playing mostly backups – bogged down at times in the second half, but several young players and veterans playing their last game in Williams-Brice Stadium got valuable minutes. Freshman quarterback Connor Shaw was 5-for-8 passing for 36 yards and also added 17 yards rushing. Senior running back Brian Maddox was able to chip in 67 tough yards on 12 carries.

But the Gamecocks closed out strong with another Lanning field goal and a Seth Strickland 15-yard touchdown pass to Sanders with 2:53 to go in the game.

The 69 points is the most scored by South Carolina since it put up 77 on Kent State in 1995.

Much like a blowout loss, Spurrier says the Gamecocks have to forget this one faster than usual.

"We will start on Monday getting ready for Clemson," Spurrier said. "We will enjoy this one tonight in an appropriate manner and realize that the next two games will pretty much determine our fate of what kind of year 2010 is going to be.

"We have a few more weeks ahead of us to see what we can do for the University of South Carolina."

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