USC Taken Outback for Whooping by Iowa, 31-10

South Carolina is in the midst of recruiting a top ten recruiting class. They'll need the new players; the current offense should have been declared dead on arrival at Raymond James stadium for the Outback Bowl on January 1st, mustering only 43 yards rushing and 10 4th quarter points. The Iowa offense took advantage of five USC turnovers and a tuckered out defense to win the game handily, 31-10.

Shonn Greene had already won the Doak Walker award as the nation's best running back before Thursday's Outback Bowl matchup between his Iowa Hawkeyes and the South Carolina Gamecocks. If he hadn't, he would have sealed the deal with his play New Year's Day, rushing for 125 yards and three touchdowns. Greene, a junior, announced after the game that he would be declaring for the NFL draft. He was the only FBS running back to rush for over 100 yards in all 13 games this season.

The only thing that really went wrong for Greene all day was the press box PA announcer continuing to call him "Moe Greene."

Iowa opened the game strong, driving 64 yards for six points, finishing with a six yard touchdown pass to Trey Stross. The Hawkeyes ate up almost one eighth of the entire game on the opening drive, taking 7:21 off the clock.

The potentially heartwarming story of redshirt freshman Stephen Garcia returning to his hometown as the starting quarterback and would-be hero for the Gamecocks was quickly snuffed as a story line when Garcia threw an interception on his first pass of the day, which Tyler Sash returned 29 yards to the SC 18. Five plays later Greene took a one yard dive in to the end zone, and Iowa was off and running, 14-0.

Garcia would be intercepted twice more in the first half, and was replaced by Chris Smelley at the start of the second half, not to be seen again. He completed 9 of 18 for 79 yards. He also fumbled the ball away once. Spurrier said after the game that he felt his offense was prepared to play coming into the game. "The Iowa team just kicked our tails today." USC was outscored 118-30 in their last three games of the season.

The quarterback controversy that dogged South Carolina all season is now likely to continue over the long off-season, as Chris Smelley came in the second half and outperformed Garcia. He threw 31 passes, completing 16 for 179 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions. Spurrier said, "Stephen struggled, Chris did a little better."

Iowa would score a third time in the first half after a touchback on Garcia's third interception gave them the ball at their own 20. They drove the ball 79 yards before Greene scored his second touchdown from the one. The key play of the drive was a 39 yard pass reception from Ricky Stanzi to Tony Moeaki. Greene had 77 yards rushing at halftime.

USC broke Iowa's streak of 86 straight points being scored without a point by the opposition when Chris Smelley hit Jared Cook in the end zone early in the fourth quarter to put the Gamecocks on the board.

Unlike South Carolina's previous two trips to the Outback Bowl, the stands were filled with far more Iowa fans in their gold and black than Gamecock fans wearing garnet and black. The only thing with garnet on that looked good this day was the seats in Raymond James stadium, many of which were visibly empty at the beginning of the game, and even more emptied as the Iowa storm continued to wreak havoc on the scoreboard.

Senior notes:

Kenny McKinley added to his many records at USC with another solid outing, but he was the lone bright spot for the offense on the day. He extended his school record receptions streak to 43 games; He ends his career as USC's all-time reception leader, and third in SEC history. USC tried to add to his touchdown total, but he came up empty on first and goal and second and goal attempts, and the ball was successfully thrown to Jared Cook on the third down attempt. McKinley, a quarterback in high school, completed a pass in the game as well that went for 12 yards and a first down.

Ryan Succop made one of two official field goal attempts. He made both, but a penalty added five yards and his second attempt on the second field goal was unsuccesful.

Mike Davis entered the game needing less than 40 yards to move into USC's all-time Top Ten in rushing, but rushed for two net yards for the game.

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