The South Carolina Gamecocks expected a fight against the Paladins of Furman. But they didn’t expect the strong showing they got.
Furman came into Williams-Brice Stadium as a 33 point underdog ready to follow in the footsteps of Jacksonville State and defeat a team from the mighty Southeastern Conference. Luckily for the Gamecocks, they were able to fend them off for a 38-19 victory.
South Carolina walked into this game after an immensely critical win over division rival Georgia. However, they weren’t able to carry that emotion over into this week. On the other hand, Furman showed up ready to fight and unwilling to let their foot off the gas.
Each time South Carolina would seem to get a comfortable lead and put their backup players in, Furman seemed to fight harder, making things rough for the Gamecocks.
Things started nicely for the Head Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier as he had a 14-0 lead after the first quarter. The first touchdown was a 15 yard strike to Tori Gurley from quarterback Stephen Garcia. The second was a four yard touchdown run by the phenomenal freshman running back Marcus Lattimore.
After a pair of Furman field goals and a touchdown run by senior Gamecock running back Brian Maddox, the scoring continued with another touchdown pass from Stephen Garcia, this time in the third quarter to wide receiver DL Moore.
Garcia finished tonight’s game completing 13 of 20 passes for 150 yard and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for him he also threw two costly interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown by Furman freshman defensive end Shawn Boone in the third quarter.
Furman continued to scare South Carolina and its fans in the fourth quarter as running back Tersoo Uhaa completed a 72-yard pass to wide receiver Adam Mims. After missing the two-point conversion attempt, the score stood at 31-19 in Carolina’s favor.
Fans at Williams-Brice let out a sigh of relief as sophomore cornerback Stephon Gilmore returned an interception 80 yards for a touchdown to seal 38-19 victory.
The young talent shined through once again for South Carolina, only more quietly this time around. Marcus Lattimore finished the game with 97 yards rushing and his first quarter touchdown on 19 carries, while sophomore wide receiving Alshon Jeffery finished with five receptions for 97 yards.
While South Carolina didn’t put on the dominant performance fans were hoping for, they should all remember that even though Furman is an FCS program, they are one of the better ones and still a very talented team. A bigger win would have been nice, but don’t forget that it’s still a ‘W.’
In the win two players reached career milestones: Alshon Jeffery eclipsed one thousand receiving yards for his career and senior placekicker Spencer Lanning made a career long 51-yard field goal.
Furman returns home to Greenville, SC with a 1-1 record play in-state rival The Citadel in a crucial Southern Conference clash.
The 3-0 (1-0) Gamecocks will spend the next week preparing for their second SEC matchup and first road trip of the 2010 season as they travel to Auburn to face the Tigers.
Auburn, lead by transfer quarterback and former Florida Gator Cam Newton, is currently ranked #16 in the AP Poll and should pose as the biggest threat to date for the Gamecocks. The Tigers also defeated the other half of the Palmetto State Rivalry, the Clemson Tigers at home 27-24 in overtime.