HOOVER, Ala. (TheBigSpur.com) - HOOVER, Ala. – Nick Saban isn’t used to losing as the head coach at Alabama. In 2010 his team faltered for the first time in 20 games, a 35-21 defeat on the road against No. 19 South Carolina.
As he leads the Crimson Tide back to Williams-Brice Stadium in mid-September, the first meeting of the programs since that upset of the No. 1 ranked team, he still remembers the game.
“I remember a lot. We got the lining kicked out of our britches over there,” Saban said on Wednesday at SEC Media Days. “We’d won, I think, 19 games in a row, going into that game. They really took advantage of playing a great game against us, took advantage of a lot of situations and exposed us in a lot of different ways.”
The reigning national champions were held to 34 net rushing yards as tailbacks Mark Ingram had 11 carries for 41 yards and Trent Richardson had six carries for 23 yards. Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore totaled 109 total yards and three touchdowns, quarterback Stephen Garcia was an efficient 17-of-20 for 201 yards and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery beat out Julio Jones 127 yards to 118. Carollina got out to a 14-3 first quarter lead and added a touchdown each quarter.
It’s the biggest upset victory in South Carolina football history and contributed to the 2010’s season success of a SEC East championship, the first conference title opportunity since joining the league prior to the 1991 season.
"Memories,” then head coach Steve Spurrier said at SEC Media Days when asked what he recalls from that game. "35-21. Stephen Garcia had the game of his life, 17-of-20. Alshon Jeffery caught a couple of touchdowns. Marcus Lattimore ran for about 90-something yards – I think more than (Mark) Ingram and (Trent) Richardson – they didn’t run them very much that day fortunately."Spurrier’s days of leading the Gamecocks are over. While it won’t be a sideline reunion for the legendary SEC coaches, it will still be reunion for Saban. Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp will face his former boss at LSU and Miami Dolphins for the first time since taking the job in Columbia prior to the 2016 season. Muschamp is 0-2 in his career as a head coach against Saban, both losses coming while at the helm at Florida.
“We have a lot of respect for Will and what he’s done at South Carolina, the team that they have,” Saban said. “That’s always a challenging place to play and it’s going to be a difficult game for us. Our players need to be ready to go.”
Kickoff on Sept. 14 is set for 3:30 p.m. on CBS. It's the SEC opener for both teams and the first road game on the schedule for Alabama.