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Let’s revisit South Carolina’s 2010 upset win over Alabama

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I mean, why not?

Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

In case you hadn’t heard, our South Carolina Gamecocks have a football contest against a little outfit called “the Alabama Crimson Tide” this weekend. It’s the first time the teams have met since 2010, and boy, was that a good time!

In case you somehow forgot — hey, nine years is a while — the Garnet and Black persevered 35-21 in a historic triumph over a loaded Bama team that included such luminaries as all-everything receiver Julio Jones, Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, and quarterback-turned-analyst Greg McElroy (who, perhaps owing to Stockholm syndrome from this event, has been known to voice support for the Gamecocks’ program). It was a defining moment that helped put South Carolina not just on the map, but on the path to its first SEC East division title.

As such, the commentary on Saturday is likely to be rife with references to this, and I’m sure we’ll see more than a few highlights. Here at GABA, we couldn’t let the opportunity pass to do some reminiscing of our own, especially since the point spread for this week is uh — well, we’re just going to move on!

First, of course, is the Justin King video he produced to commemorate the occasion, which is a classic in the Gamecock canon and no doubt part of what ultimately led to his current job with South Carolina’s athletic department:

Now, let’s go back through some post-game coverage and pull out some fun stats, amusing quotes, and otherwise relive this glorious happening.

  • It was the first time the Gamecocks had ever beaten a No. 1-ranked team.
  • Alabama, the defending national champion with a 19-game winning streak and the country’s best scoring defense, surrendered the most points it had allowed since a 2007 loss to LSU. The Gamecocks scored four red zone touchdowns, doubling what the Tide had given up through its five games before this one.
  • Alshon Jeffery did this.
Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

He finished with 127 yards and two scores.

  • Marcus Lattimore surprisingly did not crack 100 yards (he had 93 on 23 carries), but he scored two touchdowns because duh, he’s Marcus Lattimore, and we love him for that.
  • Coach Steve Spurrier gave himself a game ball, since the win moved him into second place for all-time SEC victories (behind Bear Bryant, natch).
  • The long-embattled yet undeniably talented Stephen Garcia played the game of his life — going 17 of 20 for 201 yards and three touchdowns — but still had an utterly baffling moment in the third quarter, when he turned and tossed a bad snap out of his own end zone to take a safety. Spurrier, predictably, melted down on the sidelines, and I similarly thought to myself, “Welp, it’s been fun, but the Alabama comeback happens now.” Against all odds, it did not, and that bizarre safety juxtaposed against his brilliance is kind of perfect, really, because it’s the platonic ideal of Stephen Garcia Things.
  • Garcia said McElroy told him after the game that they’d see each other again in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. Unfortunately for him and the Tide, Cam Newton happened. (In fairness, Cam Newton happened to the Gamecocks, too — and we got the joy of experiencing that twice.)
  • Alabama attempted a fake field goal and it was a disaster, the kind of thing South Carolina is usually the victim of and not the beneficiary. You love to see it.
  • “I said, ‘Fellas, if fate means for us to win this game Saturday, then let’s give it a chance. Let’s give fate a chance to happen.’ ” —Spurrier
  • Following up a win against Georgia in which noted Dawg Killer Lattimore rushed for 182 yards and two scores, this upset really cemented the Big Game Garnet, a look which came to define the Gamecocks’ golden years under Spurrier. It was a beautiful combination, but now unfortunately feels somewhat dated.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
  • This game occurred in the same calendar year that the men’s basketball team upset No. 1 Kentucky and the baseball team captured its first College World Series title. These events also occurred the year after I graduated and left Columbia. I hope those of y’all at Carolina in 2010 know how spoiled you were!!
  • South Carolina remains the only SEC program that hasn’t lost its most recent game to Alabama.

If you’re curious for a more modern-day perspective, Tide coach Nick Saban offered this at his press conference yesterday:

“What year are we in now? 2019? So most of our guys were in grade school when that happened. But what I remember from it is we got the lining kicked out of our britches. I don’t know if you know what that means, but that means you get your butt kicked so bad you got no seam in the back of your pants. So yeah, I remember that, but I’ll ask the players today, when they were in sixth grade, do they remember? But we’ll see.”

He doesn’t sound bitter at all!

I think we all know what we’re expecting this weekend, and it’s not exactly a repeat of what we saw in 2010. But also, consider this unflinchingly optimistic sign from a fan in Columbia that day:

Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Go Cocks, everybody.