Garcia throws 2 TDs as No. 13 USC beats Furman 38-19

Steve Spurrier
Steve Spurrier

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Stephen Garcia threw two touchdown passes and No. 13 South Carolina beat Furman 38-19 on Saturday night. Freshman tailback Marcus Lattimore added 97 yards and his fifth rushing touchdown this season for the Gamecocks, who opened 3-0 for the first time in three years.

FCS Furman has a history of success against the big boys. The Paladins beat the Gamecocks 28-23 the last time the schools met — in 1982 — and lived up to that reputation at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Tersoo Uhaa threw halfback pass to Adam Mims for a 72-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that cut South Carolina's lead to 31-19. Furman reached the Gamecocks 30 on its next series, but corner back Stephon Gilmore sealed the game with an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown.

South Carolina has become a fairly popular pick to win the SEC Eastern Division and make the title game for the first time. Quarterback Stephen Garcia completed 13 of 20 passes for two touchdowns and two interceptions, and backup Connor Shaw completed four of five attempts for 42 yards.

Freshman running back Marcus Lattimore had 19 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey also had 97 yards, spread over five catches.

Furman quarterback Cody Worley completed 17 of 29 passes for 189 yards and two interceptions. Wide receiver Adam Mims finished with 10 catches for 202 yards.

The Gamecocks had to punt off their opening drive, but recovered to score their first touchdown with 7:41 left in the first quarter off a 15-yard pass from quarterback Stephen Garcia to Tori Gurley. It was Garcia's first passing touchdown of the season, and combined with Spencer Lanning's extra point to put the Gamecocks up 7-0 over Furman.

With just 12 seconds left in the quarter, freshman running back Marcus Lattimore ran four yards for another touchdown which put USC up by 14 going into the second quarter. Furman responded by giving Garcia his first interception of the season, turning that into a 37-yard field goal to put the Paladins on the board 14-3 with 12:12 left in the first half.

Furman kicked another field goal with 3:41 left in the half to cut USC's lead to eight, but the Gamecocks responded with a nine-yard touchdown run by Brian Maddox to put USC up 21-6 going into halftime.

In the second half, the Gamecocks led off with a six-yard pass from Stephen Garcia to D.L. Moore with 8:50 left in the third quarter, extending USC's lead to 22. Four minutes later, Garcia had another interception that led to a Furman touchdown. That put the score at USC 28, Furman 13. With 1:54 left in the quarter, Spencer Lanning kicked a 51-yard field goal to extend the Gamecocks' lead to 18.

In the fourth quarter coming off a failed third-down conversion by USC, Furman running back Tersoo Uhaa let loose a 72-yard Hail Mary that ended up in a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, however, leaving the score at 31-19.

Furman seemed to be mounting a rally, but an 80-yard interception return by USC's Stephon Gilmore with 6:38 left in the game sealed the score at 38-19 for the Gamecocks.

Furman coach Bobby Lamb remembers coming to Williams-Brice Stadium 28 years ago not thinking much of the Paladins chances to beat South Carolina. Lamb was a freshman backup quarterback for the Paladins then and still had the bad taste of his team's 26-0 loss at North Carolina State only weeks before when they came to play South Carolina. Furman, though, left with a 28-23 upset still talked about by the purple Paladin faithful.

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Copyright 2010 WIS and All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.