Gamecock Football: My Pick Six Most Important Plays of 2011. The key word here is Important, not just awesome plays like the Devin Taylor "Pick Six" vs Arkansas
6. Stephen Garcia’s 32 yard td run vs. ECU
The countdown starts with the back up QB (at the time) coming in and bailing out the current starting QB and giving his team a spark. Down 17-0 in the second quarter, Stephen Garcia darts up the middle to scramble untouched for a touchdown. Under current starter Connor Shaw the Gamecocks had yet to get anything going on offense until this play. Without it the Gamecocks could have gotten off to a disastrous 0-1 start.
5. DJ Swearinger’s Game sealing interception vs. Miss State
MSU QB Tyler Wilson had his team on the move and with the ball inside the South Carolina 35 yard line made a huge mistake. Safety DJ Swearinger read the seam route all the way and stepped in front of the pass to seal the win for the Gamecocks with just 1:45 on the game clock.
4. Alshon Jeffery’s 4 yd td reception vs. Miss State
Having sputtered all afternoon in Starkville the Gamecocks got their first touchdown of the game in somewhat familiar form when Connor Shaw hit Alshon Jeffery for a td pass with 3:50 remaining. Jeffery beat two defenders covering him and picked out of the air a perfectly placed Connor Shaw pass. Winning for the first time without suspended QB Stephen Garcia on the team was a calling card of things to come. This was a very important play for the Gamecocks, signaling change moving forward with their new QB and leaving Mississippi with an injured Marcus Lattimore
3. Melvin Ingram's Fake punt for a TD vs UGA
In a game as important as this the Gamecocks had to get creative to score points vs. Georgia. Taking the direct snap from center Ingram proceeds to leap over defenders in a single bound at the line of scrimmage then high step and out run most of the Georgia punt return team for a touchdown. Brandon Boykin looked like a kicker instead of a safety when he whiffed “trying” to bring down the 270 lb defensive lineman. This play has to go down as one of the most memorable plays in all of Gamecock football history.
2. Connor Shaw to Ace Saunders for 46 yards vs. Florida
This play set up a 28 yd Jay Wooten field goal for the Gamecocks putting them up 5 points and helped them to sweep the Eastern Division for the first time ever. Connor Shaw stood in the pocket for one of the few times in this game and hit Ace Saunders who made a wonderful over the shoulder catch. Losing this game to a wounded Florida team would have put a damper on the season. This would be the last close regular season game for the Gamecocks who finished 4-1 in games decided by 5 points or less. This catch made things much easier down the stretch for the Gamecocks in this ballgame.
- Jadaveon Clowney’s bull rush on Aaron Murray and Melvin Ingram’s 5 yd fumble return for a td vs. UGA
It’s difficult to single out the most important play of the year much less the 6 best in the Georgia game alone but this one is our top choice for 2011. Down only 3 points Georgia has plenty of time on the clock to tie or take the lead over the Gamecocks. That’s until Jadaveon Clowney splits through the Georgia line and spin cycles the now ball less Aaron Murray to the turf. Melvin Ingram then does what his head coach has been begging USC defenders to do since arriving in Columbia, scoop and score. This play puts the Gamecocks up by 10 and gives them enough cushion to hold on in Athens. Without this play chances are the Gamecocks suffer a heartbreaker. Instead this game sets the tone for a season of many close Gamecock victories and a 10-2 campaign.
Other Plays of significant importance
- Connor Shaw to Bruce Ellington for a td vs Clemson
- Stephen Garcia to Alshon Jeffery to convert the 4th and 1 vs UGA
- Connor Shaw to Buster Anderson on 4th and 1 in Knoxville for a td
- Marcus Lattimore screen pass for a td right before the half vs Vanderbilt
- Antonio Allen’s pick 6 vs UGA