First, lets get full appreciation for what this game meant to our season. With the Gamecocks pulling Auburn, Alabama, and Arkansas from the West this year, we have to take at least one of these games to have a realistic shot at the East title. Luckily, we get Alabama and Arkansas at home, but they are also the two best teams in our league. If we lose to all three of the West teams, we have to hope that Florida drops at least 2 games going into our game (and this is assuming we sweep the East). Also, would we really like our first trip to Atlanta to have the footnote that we lost all three games to the West on the way to get there. I am also assuming that Kentucky, Vandy and Tenn don't get a little uppity and only lose 2 conference games.
Second, this loss was a coaching loss. There may have been 4 turnovers in the 4th quarter, but these were directly related to coaching decisions. The two turnovers by Garcia were a direct result of one running Marcus Lattimore 3 times in the second half. Our play calling became one dimensional and Auburn made us pay. They brought the heat on Garcia and we never ran the ball to the outside or dropped the ball quickly to the flat to make them pay. In the defensive side, we gave Auburn exactly what they wanted. We covered the deep ball and let their QB have as much running room as he wanted. Auburn adjusted to this, and we never did.
The nail in the coffin was putting in Shaw in the 4th quarter. The first fumble by Garcia was forced because the blitz forced him to tuck it and go. While trying to not take the sack (something he has been reamed by Spurrier to do) and pick up some positive yardage, a defensive back speared him in the chest. There isn't a player in the country that could have held onto that ball. The second fumble, Garcia was trying to go down and the defender held him up until he could get help to strip it. In response to these two fumbles, Spurrier made an emotional decision and took out the guy that had been winning the game for him for 3 quarters and put in a freshman into his first SEC game, on the road, to try to win it. The first interception was a stupid freshman mistake, the second one was a difficult catch for a well covered Jeffery and a lucky pick by Auburn. In my opinion, neither of those throws should have been made, and Garcia wouldn't have done it.
A lot of people have been blaming the players for this loss, but the blame rests solely on Spurrier and EJ. They both laid an egg and made some of the worst decisions I have seen them make since they have been at USC. I just hope it doesn't cost us the season we could have had.