Gamecocks defeat #1 Alabama - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Gamecocks defeat #1 Alabama

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Stephen Garcia threw three touchdown passes and Marcus Lattimore had two clinching TD runs as No. 19 South Carolina stunned No. 1 Alabama 35-21 on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide had won 19 straight game since losing the Sugar Bowl after the 2008 season to Utah.

But the Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference), who beat a top-ranked team for the first time in five tries, used the Alabama formula of cashing in chances and shutting down the run to pull off the upset and make themselves a factor in the SEC title chase.  

South Carolina shredded the country's top-rated scoring defense, putting up the most points on Alabama (5-1, 2-1) since a 41-34 loss to LSU in 2007. The Gamecocks scored four touchdowns when they got inside the 'Bama 20 — double what the Crimson Tide had allowed all season.

Alabama drew first blood with a field goal early in the game, but Carolina took over after that, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter and another in the second.  Stephen Garcia set a career game record with three touchdowns in the first half as the Gamecocks racked up an early lead on the nation's top ranked team.

Alabama finally found the end zone for a touchdown with less than a minute left in the half, but the kicker missed the extra point, putting the score at USC 21, Alabama 9.

On the opening drive of the third quarter, Garcia tried to avoid a fumble and threw the ball out of the back of the end zone, costing Carolina two points and cutting their lead to 10. That lead was cut even more with 9:39 left in the quarter, when Alabama's Jeremy Shelley kicked a 39-yard field goal.

With 1:42 left in the quarter, Marcus Lattimore scored his second touchdown of the game after a long drive by the Gamecocks. Spencer Lanning's extra point was good, bringing the score to 28-14 Carolina.

This is USC's first win against a top-ranked team, putting the Gamecocks 1-4 against number one teams.  Before Saturday's loss, Alabama had won 19 straight games, including last week's 31-6 victory over Florida.

Saturday's win is Coach Steve Spurrier's 107th SEC win, moving him out of a tie for second with Ole Miss great Johnny Vaught. Alabama icon Paul "Bear" Bryant is the all-time leader with 159 league wins.

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

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