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Rebels lose by six points and two inches

Baseball is the “game of inches.” Football, a land-acquisition struggle, is more of a game of acres.

But South Carolina’s 16-10 victory over No. 4 Mississippi tonight did hinge on a couple inches.

It always hard to say that one or two plays made or broke a game — especially if you are talking about the second quarter — but in this case, it’s true.

With just under seven minutes remaining in the first half and the score deadlocked at 3-3, Ole Miss punt returner Marshay Green expertly knifed through the heart of the Gamecock coverage team. He only had one man to beat. But that last man, South Carolina punter Spencer Lanning, somehow got a hold of Green’s Nikes in the open field and saved the day.

Instead of a breaking the game open via a 67-yard touchdown return, the Rebels set up shop at the USC 31-yard line. Predictably, Mississippi, which had moved the chains on only one of its drives to that point in the contest, wasn’t able to earn a first down.

On fourth-and-three from the Gamecock 24-yard line, the Rebels ran a fake field goal with holder Justin Sparks shoveling a pass to Derrick Davis. The play was blocked perfectly at the point of attack, but South Carolina defensive back Akeem Auguste hustled over from the backside and barely got a finger on Davis’ shoestrings, causing him to topple a few inches shy of the first down.

With all due respect for Gamecock linebacker Eric Norwood and quarterback Stephen Garcia, if not for either of those close-calls on special teams, the Rebels get the spark they desperately needed and are able to escape Williams-Brice Stadium, leaving South Carolina still winless over Top 5 opposition in Columbia.

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Respond to “Rebels lose by six points and two inches”
  1. PSEagle says: Sep 25, 2009 12:27 AM

    They were also solidly outplayed and should have lost by much more except for pathetic play calling and execution in the red zone by South Carolina in the first half.

  2. 10mm says: Sep 25, 2009 12:35 AM

    Sometimes you feel like a Nutt sometimes you don’t.

  3. Taser Pep says: Sep 25, 2009 9:27 AM

    Why can’t the sports casters and pundits give South Carolina and Steve Spurrier the credit they deserve? Losing to Georgia by only 4 points in a game that could have gone either way should have been a clue to how good the team really is and how much talent is there. Beating # 4 Mississipi should have silenced the critics, but they still can’t admit that South Carolina is a great team. You don’t need credit from the media – just keep winning and let the final score do the talking for you. Go Cocks!!!

  4. jdmtampa says: Sep 25, 2009 11:07 AM

    With all due respect for Gamecock linebacker Eric Norwood and quarterback Stephen Garcia, if
    IF – IF! If a bullfrog had wings it would not bump its butt on the ground! Great victory for USC and a choke for Old Miss – call it like it is!
    How lame is “IF”????????

  5. hoggeek says: Sep 25, 2009 12:00 PM

    Give SC credit, but Mississippi fans better get used to “we were one play away from winning” or, “we were 3 plays away from an SEC championship this season” (when they get one right, they also better expect an occasional, “I called that play, brother!” followed by an eerie, Howard-Dean-esque cackle). I don’t understand how thinking people can’t see the obvious pattern over 14 years (yeah, he was this way at Boise, too) with Houston Dale Nutt.
    I’m waiting for a respected, national sports writer to look at this game, pause, and write a piece titled, “Uh-Oh…It Looks Like Arkansas Fans WERE Right”.

  6. NC-cock fan says: Sep 25, 2009 1:26 PM

    Come on John, just admit you were wrong. I think your prediction was “Ole Miss should have their way with the Gamecock’s inexperienced secondary”. The Gamecocks secondary is inexperienced but they are very talented and very well coached. Ole Miss got beat last night by a better team.

  7. CockSpur says: Sep 25, 2009 3:22 PM

    The thing that gets me John, is that you fail to mention Garcia getting hurt in the second quarter and playing the rest of the way in obvious pain. Let’s see… SC playing against the number 4 team in the nation (I don’t have a vote and I would suppose that those that do know something or what good are the polls) with a QB being touted as a Heisman trophy candidate no less. Not only do they outplayed the entire game, but the opposing QB puts up better numbers playing three qtrs with bruised ribs. Give me a break, our team is young and will make mistakes but that was a quality win over a very good team.

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