Published September 11, 2011
| Sports Network
Athens, GA – The No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks scored two 42, in a back-and-forth SEC opener for both teams.
Star tailback Marcus Lattimore punched in a three-yard touchdown with around three minutes remaining and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray was sacked on the ensuing possession, losing a fumble that was picked up by defensive end Melvin Ingram for a five-yard touchdown and 45-35 South Carolina lead.
Ingram also recovered a Georgia onside kick attempt with around two minutes remaining to help the Gamecocks seal the win.
Stephen Garcia threw for 142 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on 11- of-25 passing, while Alshon Jeffery pulled in five passes for 85 yards and a touchdown for South Carolina (2-0, 1-0 SEC). Lattimore ran all over the Georgia defense, finishing with 176 yards and a score.
"It feels good to get a win in a hostile environment," Garcia said. "The non- offensive touchdowns that we got were the difference in the game. Definitely, the most bizarre win I've ever gotten in college, but all that matters is that we got the win."
Murray had a huge day in defeat, throwing for 248 yards on 19-of-29 passing, including four touchdowns and one pick.
Isaiah Crowell led the Georgia rushing attack with 118 yards and one score on 16 attempts, while Malcolm Mitchell grabbed five passes for 52 yards and Tavarres King, Crowell, Rantavious Wooten and Michael Bennett all had touchdown catches for the Bulldogs (0-2, 0-1).
Georgia capped a six-play 50-yard drive on its second possession of the game with a 37-yard field goal by Blair Walsh to take a 3-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive, Garcia was picked off by Bacarri Rambo on the South Carolina 42-yard line, and the Bulldogs made good use of favorable field position with a second field goal by Walsh, this one from 39 yards, for an early 6-0 advantage.
Midway through the second quarter, South Carolina took the lead, despite some early offensive struggles. Garcia whipped a ball to the back of the end zone, where Jeffrey leapt high and came down with the 34-yard touchdown catch to put the Gamecocks up 7-6.
Georgia came back on the next possession and tore through the South Carolina defense. On his own 32-yard line and faced with a 2nd-and-15, Murray gave the Bulldogs a boost with a 23-yard scramble into South Carolina territory. Richard Samuel ran on the next three plays for 16 yards down to the Gamecocks 31 and Murray fished off the drive by finding Wooten for a 26-yard score.
But South Carolina had an answer. Late in the first half, faced with a 4th-and 7, head coach Steve Spurrier pulled a trick out of his playbook in punt formation.
The snap went directly to Ingram, who raced around the edge and down the left sideline for a 68-yard score to put South Carolina back up by a point, 14-13.
"We had it in the playbook all year," Ingram said. "We called it a couple times earlier in the game but it wasn't on so we didn't run it. This is another stepping stone. We're trying to get better every week."
Midway through the third quarter, the Bulldogs struck quickly, needing only four plays to get back on top, 20-14. Starting from the South Carolina 43-yard line, Murray found Crowell for a 23-yard gain later connected with Crowell for a 17-yard score.
South Carolina opened up an eight-point lead late in the third quarter with a pair of spectacular defensive plays. Crowell fumbled for Georgia and Stephon Gilmore recovered took it back 56 yards to set South Carolina up with 1st-and- goal on the Bulldogs five-yard line. Garcia was able to lunge into the end zone for a one-point.
On the ensuing possession, Murray threw an ill-advised pass over the middle and was picked off by Antonio Allen, who ran it back 25 yards for the score and a 28-20 South Carolina lead to close out the third quarter.
"I think we had great plays on both sides of the ball," Murray said. "We had some great plays on offense, and the defense had some awesome plays. We just gave up too many big plays and those mistakes hurt us. We can be a great football team, we have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, but those four turnovers hurt us."
Early in the fourth, Georgia fought back and tied the game at 28. Murray completed eight passes in the midst of a nine-play 88 yard drive and capped it with a 19-yard strike to Bennett to bring the Bulldogs within two. Murray then connected with King on the two-point conversion try.
The Gamecocks took a 31-28 lead with a little over eight minutes left in the game on a 49-yard field goal by Jay Wooten, capping a 10-play, 49-yard drive.
Two minutes later, Georgia took the lead again. The Bulldogs began the drive with excellent field position, as Brandon Boykin returned the kickoff 58 yards all the way to the South Carolina 37-yard line. From there, Georgia needed only five plays to march down the field, capping the drive on Crowell's 16- yard score to make it a 35-31 game.
With about three minutes to go, and after South Carolina had taken its 45-35 lead, Murray found King for a 33-yard touchdown pass to account for the final margin.
Georgia still owns a commanding 46-16-2 series lead over South Carolina, but the Gamecocks won last season's meeting by a 17-6 final...It was Jeffery's 24th consecutive game with at least three catches...It was Allen's third straight game with a defensive touchdown...It was Bennett's first career touchdown...Eight of the last 11 meetings between the teams have been decided by 10 points or fewer...Georgia has lost nine of its last 10 games against top-25 opponents...It is Georgia's first 0-2 start since 1996...There were seven lead changes in the game.