With just over three minutes remaining in the first half and trailing 13-7, South Carolina needed to do something to grab the momentum and do something to slow down a Georgia offense that had racked up nearly 200 yards. Facing fourth and seven from their own 32 the Gamecocks lined up in a punt formation.
That's when the word "Garnet" came in from special teams coach John Butler. The word may mean as much to fans as it did the Georgia return team – nothing. It meant something completely different to defensive lineman Melvin Ingram.
Ingram took the snap, sprinted left, picked up a block from Byron Jerideau and raced to daylight.
"I was supposed to read the block and I saw Jerideau kick him out and I was home free," Ingram said.
The result was a 68-yard touchdown that gave Carolina a 14-13 lead heading to the locker room in an eventual 45-42 win over the Bulldogs in Athens.
""We had it in the playbook all year," Ingram said. "We called it a couple times earlier in the game but they were in a different look."
"That fake punt run, gee, someone's probably going to ask why he hasn't played tailback the last few years," Spurrier said. "He's a heck of an athlete. I thought their return man (Brandon Boykin) might have gotten him, but he jumped right over him – he went low and Melvin looked like a hurdler right there. I'm sure we'll watch that the next few days on ESPN."
That would have been plenty to earn some recognition, but Ingram didn't stop there. After Carolina had just taken the lead back, 38-35, on a Marcus Lattimore touchdown run, freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney broke free and hit Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, forcing a fumble. Who was there to pick it up?
Ingram picked it up at the Georgia five and ran in for the eventual game-winning touchdown.
"Give Melvin Ingram credit for some huge plays," Spurrier said. "A defensive tackle scores two touchdowns."
It was the first time a South Carolina defensive lineman has scored two touchdowns in a game since Eric Norwood scored two against #8 Kentucky in 2007.
Ingram also recovered Georgia's onside kick attempt with two minutes left in the game to allow Carolina to run out the clock and preserve the win. Ingram's day was good enough to earn him the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week award.
Marcus Lattimore has been virtually unstoppable through the first two games of the season. After rushing for 112 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries in the season opener against East Carolina, Lattimore followed it up with 176 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries against Georgia. Lattimore's 288 yards and four touchdowns has him sixth in the nation among running backs.
Early in the game Lattimore was almost a forgotten man. He ran the ball 10 times for 63 yards, an average of 6.3 yards per carry in the first half.
"They were tough – they had a nice little inside scheme," Spurrier said of the Georgia rush defense. "We probably should have tried more sweeps like we did down on the goal line and at the end."
As he normally does, Lattimore broke lose in the fourth quarter. Lattimore carried the ball 13 times for 94 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter alone.
"As I get more carries I get more comfortable to run the ball effectively," Lattimore said. I think I get stronger."
Lattimore's performances have given him an early lead over his two biggest competitors for the Heisman Trophy, Alabama's Trent Richardson and Oregon's LaMichael James.
Through two games Richardson has rushed for five touchdowns, but only 148 yards.
After rushing for just 54 yards and a touchdown against LSU, James had a bigger day against Nevada. James now has rushed for 121 yards and a rushing touchdown, touchdown reception, and punt return for a touchdown.
"We were either ahead or barely behind so we had to keep running," Spurrier said. "We're not a great passing team. We've got to work on it somehow. He's a very good back – he has that forward lean and a great team player. He gives us hope."
Allen another big game.
Following the biggest game of the year in which he had a career-high 16 tackles, forced two fumbles, recovered two fumbles, and scored a touchdown, Antonio Allen had another great game against the Dawgs. Allen had six tackles, but his biggest play was an interception that he returned 25 yards for a touchdown to give the Gamecocks a 28-20 lead in the third quarter.
"Antonio Allen had another score - two scores in two games," Spurrier said. "That's having a big year."
Going back to the 2010 season, Allen now has three touchdowns in the last three regular season games.
Another strange Saturday in Athens
The last two games between the Dawgs and Gamecocks in Athens have been strange to say the least. In a series that has been filled with low-scoring games in the last 10 years, the last two games in Athens has been everything but low-scoring.
In 2009, behind the returns of Boykin, Georgia won a 41-37 contest between the two teams. Carolina missed an extra point that would come back to haunt them as they were forced to go for a touchdown on fourth down inside the Georgia red zone late in the game. Georgia knocked down Garcia's pass to escape with the win.
"We lost one here two years ago where we probably had 500 yards of offense, then we had two touchdowns called back by penalties," Spurrier said. "(We) Didn't have anything called back tonight so that was good for sure. Maybe the football gods are smiling on us for a while."
This year's game was even more strange than 2009. In a game filled with big play after big play, it resembled more of an Arena League game than a college football game. The 87 points was the most combined yards in the series between the Gamecocks and Dawgs, one point more than a 52-34 Georgia win in 1970.
"I've never won a game like this that I can remember," Spurrier said. "To have two defensive scores, pick up a fumble and run it down to the five yard line, and have a defensive player (score) on a punt. That was basically four of the touchdowns and the offense got a couple or so."
South Carolina appealing NCAA decision on Byrd
South Carolina is going to appeal the NCAA decision on freshman receiver Damiere Byrd. The NCAA ruled Friday that Byrd would be suspended for the first four games and pay $2700 he received from the SAM Foundation, a Delaware-based organization that provides underprivileged, inner-city athletes with help in getting scholarship offers and meeting academic eligibility requirements.
"We're trying to appeal that," Spurrier said. "If that is what it is then that's what it is. We don't agree with it, but we live by what the NCAA tells us."
• Saturday's win gives the Gamecocks a 2-0 start for the third time in seven years under head coach Steve Spurrier.
• Saturday's win gives the Gamecocks back-to-back wins over the Bulldogs for the first time since the 2000 and 2001 seasons and for just the sixth time in the history of the series, which dates back to 1894. South Carolina also defeated Georgia in back-to-back years in 1903-04, 1958-59, 1978-79 and 1988-89.
• Saturday's win moved Steve Spurrier into sole possession of second place on the all-time wins list at South Carolina with 46 moving him past Jim Carlen who owns 45 career wins. Rex Enright is the school record holder with 64 career wins over 15 seasons.
• The 45 points for the Gamecocks ties for the fourth highest point total by the Gamecocks by a team coached by Steve Spurrier.
• South Carolina has totaled 101 points in the first two games of the 2011 season. In the combined games, South Carolina has scored three defensive touchdowns as well as two touchdowns on special teams to go along with nine offensive touchdowns.
• Melvin Ingram became just the third player in college football since 2006 to score a touchdown on both offense and defense in the same game.
• Sophomore wide receiver Ace Sanders made his first career start at wide receiver for the Gamecocks. Saturday's game was the 16th of Sanders' career.
• Junior wide receiver Alshon Jeffery's touchdown reception in the second quarter for 34 yards gives him 16 career touchdown receptions moving him past Phillip Logan (1974-77) for seventh all-time in career touchdown receptions at South Carolina.
• Senior quarterback Stephen Garcia's eight-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was his third rushing touchdown of the season.
• Sophomore tailback Marcus Lattimore tallied his sixth 100+yard rushing game of his career and his second straight of the 2011 season. Lattimore finished the game with 27 carries for 176 yards with a touchdown vs. Georgia. It was the third highest rushing game of his career at South Carolina. For the season, Lattimore has 50 carries for 288 yards and four rushing touchdowns. In two games vs. Georgia in his career, Lattimore has carried 64 times for 358 yards for the Bulldogs. Lattimore went for 37 carries for 182 yards on Sept. 11, 2010 in Columbia as a freshman vs. Georgia. Lattimore has 1,485 career rushing yards, he is five shy of Alex Hawkins (1956-58) for 24th all-time in USC history in yards rushing.
• South Carolina rushed for a total of 253 net yards in Saturday's win vs. Georgia. That is the second highest total of rushing yards by the Gamecocks under a team coached by head coach Steve Spurrier.
• Junior defensive tackle Aldrick Fordham made his first career start for the Gamecocks. Saturday's game was the 22nd of Fordham's career.
• Freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney registered his first career sack in the second quarter. He would also get credited with a sack in the fourth quarter that resulted in a fumble return for a touchdown by Melvin Ingram.
• Junior cornerback Stephon Gilmore had a fumble recovery that went 56 yards in the third quarter. It is the second consecutive season that Gilmore has had a fumble recovery against the Bulldogs. He has four fumble recoveries in his career with the Garnet & Black.
• Senior spur Antonio Allen's 25-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter was his third consecutive regular season return for a touchdown. Allen had a 37-yard interception return at Clemson on Nov. 27, 2010, the last regular season game of 2010 and a 25-yard fumble return vs. East Carolina in the first game of the 2011 regular season on Sept. 3, 2011.
• Senior defensive lineman Melvin Ingram scored on a five-yard fumble return in the 4th quarter. It was his second touchdown of the game, his previous touchdown coming on a fake punt run for 68 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
• Melvin Ingram's 68-yard run on a fake punt marked the second straight week that South Carolina has scored a touchdown on special teams. In week one vs. East Carolina, the Gamecocks scored on a 68-yard punt return by Ace Sanders.
• Senior punter Joey Scribner-Howard's 59-yard punt in the second quarter was the longest of his career.
• Senior placekicker Jay Wooten's 49-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was the longest of his career with the Garnet & Black.
Boykin's Versatility: Senior CB/KOR Brandon Boykin saw action on defense, special teams and offense for the second straight week. He had two tackles, one interception, 14 rushing yards and 184 kickoff return yards on a school record seven returns. The 184 yards ranks third best in school history. In the fourth quarter, he had a key 58-yard kickoff return that setup a TD with 6:28 left for a brief 35-31 edge.
Crowell Scores First TD: Freshman RB Isaiah Crowell scored his first career touchdown at the 6:09 mark in the third period to give the Bulldogs a 20-14 lead. During the 43-yard scoring drive, Crowell accounted for all of the yards with two catches and two rushes. The receptions were also the first two of his career. Georgia's other #1, Branden Smith, set up the scoring drive on a 32-yard punt return. Crowell finished the game with a team-high 118 yard rushing and 40 yards receiving. This is the first 100-yard rushing game for the Bulldogs since Washaun Ealey accomplished the feat versus Georgia Tech last year with 118.
Murray Gets 4 TD Passes: Sophomore QB Aaron Murray (19-for-29, 248 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT ) set a career high with four touchdown passes against the Gamecocks.
Wooten, Bennett Comes Through: Junior FLK Rantavious Wooten hauled in a 26-yard touchdown from Aaron Murray at the 2:53 mark to give the Bulldogs a 13-7 edge. This was Wooten's first score of the year and the fourth of his career. In the fourth quarter, redshirt freshman SE Michael Bennett grabbed his first career touchdown. Bennett's three catches in the game marked the first in his career. Following Bennett's score, Murray connected with junior Tavarres King for a 2-point conversion to tie the game at 28-all. This was the first 2-point conversion for the Bulldogs since Murray completed one versus Florida in 2010.
Two More Picks: The Bulldogs tallied their second and third interceptions of the year in the opening half as junior FS Bacarri Rambo snagged a pick late in the first quarter. This is the sixth INT of his career. Georgia turned the INT into a field goal and has now scored three points on three turnovers. Senior CB Brandon Boykin grabbed his first pick of the year as the second quarter expired near the Bulldog goal line. Boykin now has seven in his career and is the team's active leader. Branden Smith had Georgia's first INT of the year against #5 Boise State last weekend.
Walsh Moves To Third Place in Scoring: Senior PK Blair Walsh tallied nine points to move into third place all-time in Bulldog history with 315 career points, passing Herschel Walker who had 314. Walsh connected on his first two field goals of the year after hitting a 37 yarder with 5:59 remaining in the opening period and another 39 yarder at the 3:09 mark in that quarter. However, he missed his third attempt at 33 yards. He is now 16-for-21 from the 30-39 yard range and 57-for-72 in his career.
Gamecocks' Fake Punt: South Carolina's DE Melvin Ingram ran a fake punt back 68 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter to put the Gamecocks up 14-13. This marked the first fake punt attempted versus the Bulldogs since Vanderbilt's Brett Upson ran a 7-yard rush to get a first down in 2009. Ingram added a 5-yard fumble return for a TD in the fourth quarter, the first against the Bulldogs since 2006 (Ray McDonald, UF).
Starters: The Bulldogs had three first-time starters. Redshirt sophomore OLB Chase Vasser, redshirt sophomore OG Dallas Lee and freshman ILB Amarlo Herrera all took the field as starters for the first time. Herrera is the second true freshman Bulldog to start a game this year after WR Malcolm Mitchell started versus #5 Boise State.
Captains: Georgia's captains on Saturday were senior C Ben Jones, junior ILB Christian Robinson, senior DE DeAngelo Tyson and senior TE Aron White.
Helmet Decal: The Bulldogs wore black #23 decals on the back of their helmets today with the initials "J.E." above the number. The initials stand for Valdosta native James Eunice. Eunice was expected to be a walk-on this fall, but drowned in an accident earlier this year.
Notebook: Ingram does it all in Gamecock win
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