Players of the game - ECU

In this new feature to GamecockAnthem.com we take a look at the player's of the game for each game. Each week we'll chose three Gamecock players and an offensive and defensive player from the opponent. This week we chose the player's of the game from the 56-37 win over ECU.

South Carolina

Antonio Allen

This was an easy choice. No player had a bigger game than Antonio Allen. Allen was all over the field finishing with a career-high 16 tackles, twice as many as his previous high of eight tackles.

Allen also recovered a fumble on a kickoff that was caused by Sharrod Golightly that led to South Carolina's second touchdown, and forced a fumble on ECU's opening drive of the second half that led to another Gamecock touchdown.

The biggest play of the game for Allen was when he literally took the ball right out of ECU's Michael Dobson hands and ran 25 yards for a touchdown that stretched the Gamecock lead to double-digits.

Stephen Garcia

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier refused to give Garcia a game ball after the game. Going off stats alone Spurrier is right. Garcia didn't have a great game, completing 7-of-15 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 56 yards and two touchdowns on five carries.

Football isn't played on paper and stats don't always tell the whole story.

Stats doesn't show that the Gamecocks were down 17-0 and in serious trouble when Garcia came in the game. It Garcia just five plays to lead the team 59 yards and the first score of the game. From then on, it was a completely different team.

Ace Sanders

I could easily choose Marcus Lattimore or Alshon Jeffery, but to be honest, they had the kind of game everyone expected them to have and will end up getting more than one Player of the Game award this season.

I'm going with Sanders, mainly for his punt return. Forget the fact that it made Spurrier's prediction of scoring a special teams touchdown this season. Forget that it was the first special teams touchdown in special teams coach John Butler's first game at Carolina. Forget the fact that it was the first punt return for a touchdown in nearly eight years. All of those are reason enough for Sanders to earn high praise, but forget all of that for a minute.

Just look at the actual return.

Sanders took the ball on his own 32 on the left hash. He immediately cut right to get past the initial sure of defenders, juking offensive lineman Steven Baker in the process.

Sanders then cut sharp to the left at the ECU 40, picking up a key block from Stephon Gilmore on linebacker James Craig, who might have been able to get Sanders from behind.

Sanders then cut back at the 10 towards the middle of the field and waltzed into the end zone. It was truly a thing of beauty

East Carolina

Justin Hardy

This time last year, Justin Hardy was on ECU's scout team as a redshirt freshman. Hardy made his debut Saturday night. All Hardy did was catch two passes on the third drive, including a 25-yard touchdown reception in which he dove and stretched for the goal line to barely break the plane of the end zone.

Hardy finished with 11 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. Very impressive for a freshman making his debut against a top 15 opponent. Hardy should be quite a compliment to Lance Lewis this season.

Daniel Drake

This was a tough decision. Drake didn't force or recover any of the four Carolina fumbles, but the one's that did had very little impact on the game other than the fumbles.

Drake was all over the field for ECU. The linebacker led the team with 14 tackles and was difficult to block up the middle.

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