South Carolina is already no stranger to adversity this year. In its opener against East Carolina the Gamecocks trailed by 17 points before roaring back by posting 28 points in the third quarter to take the lead. In a shootout that saw seven lead changes at Georgia, the Gamecocks were able to seal the victory in the waning minutes of the game 45-42. In a hard fought SEC showdown South Carolina got outstanding help from senior defensive end Melvin Ingram who scored off a 68-yard fake punt run as well as a 5-yard fumble return that helped the Gamecocks seal the lead for good.
In their latest game against Navy, Garcia tried to help share some of the load with Lattimore the nation's top rusher. Garcia completed 18-of-25 passes for 204 yards and one pick. That alone wasn't enough to stop Lattimore from running for 246 yards and 3 TDs on 37 carries. Head coach Steve Spurrier stuck with what worked and that was Lattimore who averaged 6.6 yards per carry. The close Navy and Georgia games marked the first time Spurrier has ever won back to back 3-point games in his 26 year coaching career.
Garcia will look to continue the high completion percentage this week and that will start with receiver Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery has 12 catches on the year for 212 yards and one touchdown. After holding the leading receiver title for the first two games, Navy was able to hold the 6-4 receiver to just two catches for 35 yards.
Sophomore Ace Sanders, who has the Gamecocks only other touchdown reception, has five catches for 49 yards. An injury to D.L. Moore has given redshirt freshmen Nick Jones an opportunity at playing time this year. He has caught four passes for 55 yards. The junior Moore is now healthy and may get back into the receiving corps mix this Saturday.
On the defensive side no one has had a better nose for the ball than spur linebacker Antonio Allen. Allen leads the team with two interceptions on the year one of which was brought back 25-yards for a touchdown. Allen also leads the team in tackles with 32 on the year.
The highly touted defensive end prospect, Jadeveon Clowney has 12 tackles including three for losses this year. He also holds the Gamecocks only two sacks of the year, each coming against Georgia.
Spurrier noted that redshirt freshmen cornerback Victor Hampton would get some playing time against Vanderbilt this weekend after being suspended for three games for breaking unspecified team rules. Hampton will back up junior Stephon Gilmore who is third on the team with 16 tackles. Free safety D.J. Swearinger started eight games in 2010 and played in all 14 at the free and strong safety position. After week three Swearinger is the second leading tackler on the team with 19. Towering at 6-7 on the opposite side of Ingram is Devin Taylor, who has a tackle for a loss and a pair of quarterback hurries.
There are a pair of playmakers at the will linebacker slot with Reginald Bowen and Quin Smith. Bowen will get the start but Quin has proved himself to have a nose for the ball with 15 tackles on the year.