The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide was upset by the No. 19 South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday in a 35-21 game. The Gamecocks played like they had everything to lose, while Alabama played like they had nothing to gain. Though blamed for most of Alabama’s problems, Julio Jones cannot be blamed for this Alabama loss. Jones caught everything that was thrown to him. However, the rest of the team cannot be spoken for.
Quarterback Greg McElroy should have had a big game against the Gamecocks over the weekend. However, he took too long to release the ball. Oftentimes his wide receivers were open, yet he couldn’t find them. Other times McElroy had no options. In those cases, he should have run the ball himself.
In McElroy’s defense, Alabama’s offensive line was not doing a good enough job protecting him. He was sacked seven times throughout the game. Though in several instances McElroy had plenty of time, Alabama receivers were just not getting open, and he had nowhere to run.
Field goal kicker Jeremy Shelley had a horrifying night. Shelley missed a field goal and an extra point. Perhaps the bad snap could prove to be an excuse, but when his foot was on the ball, the setup was perfect. Shelley missed critical point-scoring opportunities that might have given the Tide some sort of momentum.
Head coach Nick Saban made a risky call when he decided to try a fake field goal. Calls like that can make a coach look ingenious or dim. Saban commented in a press conference that he should have just kicked a field goal instead of trying to gain a first down. However, most Alabama fans feel that the call was necessary. Defensive lineman Ed Stinson caught and then dropped the ball. Alabama is a team that can respond in the face of adversity, and that moment was the time to respond. However, Stinson could not make it happen.
Pass coverage from the defense was embarrassing. The South Carolina Gamecocks have some of the best receivers in the nation on their roster; however, Alabama is the No. 1 team in the nation. Stopping the Gamecocks' receivers was something that the Tide just could not do.
Although the rest of Alabama's schedule will not get any easier, the Tide will have to learn from its first loss and bounce back in the following weeks. If they are resilient the rest of the season, the Tide’s National Championship aspirations can still be met.