Posted by Jerry Hinnen
SOUTH CAROLINA WON: It wasn't the Gamecocks' infamous 1984 upset loss to the Midshipmen, one that denied Carolina the No. 1 ranking and an Orange Bowl berth. But it wasn't a lot better, as Carolina gave up 274 yards on the ground to the Navy triple-option and trailed 21-17 early in the fourth quarter before getting two late stops for the win. Marcus Lattimore was a one-man wrecking crew, running for a career-high 246 yards and three touchdowns on 37 brutal carries.
WHY SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Just one reason, in the end, and we'll give you a hint: it rhymes with "Blarcus Blattiblore."
Sure, the Gamecocks got an efficient-enough performance from Stephen Garcia (18-of-25, 204 yards), minus one wretched second-half red zone interception; sure, they committed just that one turnover and won the time-of-possession battle against a team that thrives on burning clock; sure, new placekicker Jay Wooten further cemented a hot start with a key 48-yarder. But given all the success the Midshipmen enjoyed in the option and the palpable sense of pressure in Williams-Brice Stadium once the visitors took their late four-point lead, it's safe to say the Gamecocks simply don't win this game without the nation's best running back (yeah, we said it) seizing the game by the throat and refusing to let it go.
Carolina's game-winning touchdown drive spanned 15 plays; Lattimore touched the ball on 11 of those. He is, as the kids say, the man.
WHEN SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Though Navy was never likely to drive from their own 6 into field goal range after taking over with just 5:36 to play, no one in Columbia breathed easy until quarterback Kriss Proctor's 4th-and-7 pass was picked off by Antonio Allen with under 2 minutes to play. Proctor had already bailed the Mids out once on the possession with a 4th-and-15 conversion, but Jadeveon Clowney wreaking havoc in the backfield meant a second miracle was out of reach.
WHAT SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Won? Well, they're 3-0, and they "won" the right to not have a matched set of upsets at the hands of Navy shoved in their face for forever. But Steve Spurrier can't be happy after such a narrow escape at home--particularly after he admitted his team was "outplayed" a week ago at Georgia.
WHAT NAVY LOST: A chance at a potential season-making upset and arguably the biggest win of Ken Niumatalolo's career. But there's no doubt the Midshipmen gained a ton of respect, both in Columbia and across the SEC, for having pushed a top-10 team to its limit.