Gamecocks Whoop Crimson Tide! Whoa Nellie! Who's the Big Dog Now?

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Gamecocks Whoop Crimson Tide! Whoa Nellie! Who's the Big Dog Now?
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Nick Saban Stricken With Grief!

ARE THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS REALLY THE BEST TEAM IN THE NCAA?  

In the immortal words of the greatest college football announcer ever—WHOA NELLIE!

As millions watched, spellbound, on national television, the Gamecocks of South Carolina took the defending national champion Crimson Tide of Alabama to the woodshed before an ugly crowd this afternoon in the Palmetto state.

Throughout the first half, the acclaimed Bama defense was under the Cock's control. The Cock was wearing his spurs today as he sliced and diced the defending National Champion Crimson Tide.

At the end of the half, up twelve points on the No. 1 team in the nation, coach Steve Spurrier explained his strategy for the remainder of the ball-game. It was simple:  Play well during the rest of the game and look at the scoreboard at the end.

Okay, so what happened?

COCKS CROW, BAMA ANSWERS. RE-CAPPING THE SECOND HALF

With the score 21-9, the Gamecocks offense laid an egg on their first possession, bungling the snap and allowing the football to ding and diddle into the end zone for a safety.

The Cock crowed in disgust.  Bama was awarded 2 pts and closed the gap.  Score 11-21 Gamecocks.

Bama's Marquise Mayes took the kickoff to the 50-yard line, and Bama was again on the move. Energized by the fortuitous turn of events, Ingram rumbled for a first down on the first play to the South Carolina 39.

A few plays later, Bama's kicker was on deck.  Having just suffered the humiliation of shanking one field goal and an extra point—yes, an extra point—he hit a 39-yard FG.  It was a career long kick. (It might have been a "season long" kick rather than "career" long.  Interested parties can look up it up if they really care.  I'm old and prefer to speak and write in generalities)  

Bama narrowed the lead to 7 pts.  Score 14-21.  

The BAMA crowd smelled blood.  "It's second half by Gawd, we are the national champs!" The Cock was displeased. 

The BAMA squad was resolute. The spirit of the Bear hung thick in the air—or was it something else? Even their body language telegraphed the message—don't flex with Bama, Dog!  The game was "ON". 

With 7:12 in the third, the Gamecocks earned back-to-back 3rd down conversion. 1st and 10 Carolina, at their own 40.  

Next, Bryan Maddox, picked up nine yds. and a 1st down.

In the spread, the Cocks fizzled. The big, hairy BAMA defense struck hard.  The resulting play lost 5 yds. 2nd down.

Next, Maddox ripped and snorted to the end-point of his route, and snagged the ball on a pass play leading to 3rd and 1.  

Before the snap, BAMA cavorted about in disarray, earning a 5 yd, off-side penalty for their effort. 

Facing 3rd-and-5 with Garcia under center, Gurley catches a pass, and it's a 1st down with a gain of 10.

Faced with 4th-and-1, Maddox runs again—this time a seventeen yard gain—Whoa Nellie!

From the Bama 13, Lattimore, who has been hot all day, rumbled on a draw play for yet another SC 1st down.

Oops, the Cocks got funky—12 men on the field.  Penalty.

1st and goal to go.  What would the play call be?  A Quarterback sneak? Surely not. Yes, but Bama did not buy. Blammo! Cocks shut down!

2nd down.  With a fantastic block at the goal line, the now amazing Lattimore sailed unimpeded into the end-zone on an option for a Gamecocks touchdown!  

Whoa Nellie!  Score:  South Carolina Gamecocks 28, Champs 14.

Thus ended an impressive 15 play drive.

The Cocks were hotter than a depot stove.

Carolina kicked off.  BAMA —ticked off good and proper—took over with 1:30 left in the 3rd quarter.

Lots of football left. 

On a slick second down pass, the Tide moved past the 50 courtesy of a catch by Williams.  

On the first play from scrimmage, the rock-hard Gamecock defense rocked McElroy with yet another sack.  The quarter ended on this sour note for the Tide.  

I should point out here that Bama has, over its now very long winning streak, been a very, very lucky football team.  They were lucky again today.  On the very first play of the new quarter, the Tide struck like a copperhead for a TD!  

All wondered, will the Gamecocks be denied glory after their gutsy performance?

The struggle continued.  

Starting at their own 20 after the kick, the Cocks Garcia floated like a butterfly to the 26 on a 2nd down pass.  On 3rd-and-4, Garcia chucked a pick to an unknown Tide walk-on for his second interception on the year.

With enviable field position at the 25 yd. line of South Carolina, the Crimson Tide looked to their big back Ingram on the first play. He took the pig a couple of yards before being wrestled to the turf.

On 2nd-and-5 in a seven-point game, the Cocks blitzed to good effect on a pukey pitch.  No gain.

Third down.

McElroy, 5-of-6 on such 3rd down situations was dropped in his tracks by an enraged Gamecock defense for the sixth sack of the day! The Gamecocks defense was tough as twang leather today.

Now, on 4th-and-11, the shaky FG kicker is trotted out for a 42-yarder.  Could the lad extend his career long?  Saban asked, "Can he do it?  Will he do it?"  Millions waited for the snap.  It was a fake! The ball was passed and dropped by the receiver!  Holy Cow! A truly wretched play! The Cocks took possession of the ball. 

The Cock is crowed loudly at this point. The score: Carolina 28, Champions 21.

From their 20 on 2nd down, Garcia flicked a pass to his big receiver Jeffrey.  Complete. The gain brought up 3rd-and-2.

The Gamecocks hunkered down and blasted forward at the snap!  Ripoff! A miserly Zebra spotted the ball short - a bad call in my book. First down denied!  Inches short.

If Spurrier is a "guy" I thought, he will, of course, go for it.  A beer commercial intervened during the inevitable time out.  What will the Gamecocks do?

The decision is made—the Gamecocks hitch up their drawers to gain three inches.  Its 4th down. Receivers wide to the right.  Garcia himself took off and on second effort, he moved the chains. A South Carolina 1st Down resulted.

First-and-10.  Lattimore—hammered the ball ahead for a pickup of seven.

Second-and-3 with 9:15 to go. The Cocks ran up the middle.  Lattimore moved the chains once again. Lattimore looked like Earl Campbell. What a player!

Where is the BAMA run blitz, I wondered.? The Gamecocks were running like a scalded dog. 

What?  Would Garcia throw again?  Whoa Nellie! A magnificent one-handed grab at the 7-yard line resulted, despite defensive pass interference, in a 45 yd. gain! The roosters were smokin'.

Now, from the left side, Lattimore plunged ahead to the 2 yd. on a run, but he was denied.  No gain. First time all day, I believe.

Moments later, the Gamecocks iced the game away with a touchdown!

The extra point was quickly up, and good. The Cock's cheerleaders look good, the fans are smiling. South Carolina 35—Champions 21. Whoa Nellie!

IT'S ON NOW BABY!

Don't kid yourselves, BAMA is a dangerous team.  With six+ minutes to go, McElroy threw the ball to near midfield following the kickoff.

On 2nd-and-10, McElroy staggered around and finally threw the ball into the hot dog stand.  No catch. No gain.

On 3rd down and 10 the Gamecock defense abused McElroy yet again.  For the 7th time, he was sacked. Saban ground his teeth.  Fans became ill.

On 4th down, Saban elected to punt the ball. Was he playing to win, or what? Many in attendance clearly thought the Tide was in 4th down territory and expected Saban to do or die for the 1st down.

The electricity was palpable. The Cocks were rockin!  King Bees gettin' ready to buzz.

On 1st down from their own 20 or so, the Cocks juked left and right picking up a fat three yds.  

The key for SC now is to avoid fumbles and interceptions.

On second down, Lattimore struggled for 4 yds.  It's 3rd-and-3.  

The cheese was binding on the BAMA bench. The Head Coach looked like he wanted to strangle somebody. I suspected that he was beginning to think that he was whipped.  Heck, he knew he was whipped.  So did his players, the fans, the beer man, and everyone watching at home.  I know from long experience, its a nauseating feeling. Notwithstanding the fact that they were coming to grips with their impending demise, they continued to fight.  Good teams always do. There is no quit in BAMA.

Coach Spurrier looked upon the face of the clock with glee!

From 3rd-and-1 on the 46, they converted.  This means, that barring a flubberoni, the SC squad could run a fair amount of time off the play clock. Yessir, the upset was going to happen - and everybody knew it was just a matter of time.

The Gamecocks fiddled around and wasted as much time as possible.  They punted with 1:50 on the clock. The ball came to rest in BAMA territory with 1:41 left.

The defending National Champions were done.  It was over.  The Cock cleared his throat and honked like a goose!

THE COCKS FINALLY PROVE WHAT MANY ALREADY KNEW

Close the books. Turn out the lights. The National Champions of Alabama - they who could not be defeated - were hammered 35-21 by a Gamecocks squad that was as good today as any team in the country.

The Crimson Tide of Alabama is a fine football team. Until today, they led a charmed life, but the stars were not aligned this afternoon in Carolina.

As good as they are, the Crimson Tide is not, as I have said many times in BR's pages, a "great" football team.  South Carolina just proved me right. In fact, the Gamecocks dominated the Champs from the first snap of the ball to the last.

Today's win by South Carolina gives rise to question: Which team is truly the best in the land? 

This is a win that will stir up the pot.  We have a football season at last!  Let the arguments begin.

Whoa Nellie!

 

 


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