One of South Carolina's finest seasons ever is now in the books. With 10 wins and the potential for 11 in a great bowl game, this team came together even with massive injuries and drama.
However, a great team can't be without great individual efforts.
In this piece, I rank the top 10 individual game performances of 2011. It has the usual suspects. Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery make appearances, but the real game changers are names that weren't on everyone's mouth at the beginning of the season.
It's great to be a Gamecock!
Kenny Miles made sure his last home game as a Gamecock was a memorable one. While his stat line wasn't huge (21 carries for 71 yards), Gamecock fans will remember his guts and guile during this performance.
There are more dominant performances that took place over the course of the season, but this heartfelt tackle breaking performance belongs here.
True, Alshon Jeffery did not have the season that everyone expected him to have.
However, against Kentucky, he showed of his considerable skill set once more. He had six catches for 95 yards with two very impressive touchdowns. He was pretty much un-coverable during this game.
Brandon Wilds was a question mark heading into the game against Tennessee. With injuries to the top four runners on the team, there was no way a true freshman fifth-string back would be able to continue the high level of play set by Marcus Lattimore, right?
Twenty-eight rushes for 137 yards (with 35 receiving yards) later, Brandon Wilds goes from question mark to strength.
Speaking of Lattimore, it's about time he makes an appearance.
A shaky start by Connor Shaw, coupled with the inept passing of Stephen Garcia, made the running game a priority against the ECU Pirates, who seemed to have South Carolina on the ropes early.
Marcus's three-touchdown performance (along with his 127 yards rushing and 33 yards receiving) made sure the Gamecocks' great season started with a bang.
Welcome to the SEC, Mr. Clowney.
His two sacks and one forced fumble (which led to a Melvin Ingram score) set the tone on defense. He manhandled a good Georgia offensive line and showed why he was the most recruited player this decade. Glad he's on our side.
One of many great performances by Mr. Connor Shaw, he was almost perfect in South Carolina's win against The Citadel.
He had more touchdown passes (three) than incompletions (16-for-18 for 217 yards) and a 60-yard touchdown run.
Again, Connor Shaw proves that he is going to be a real threat in 2012. He almost single-handedly crushed the Clemson Tigers with his display of offensive fireworks.
He went 14-of-20 for 210 yards with three touchdown passes (including what may be the prettiest throw of the Steve Spurrier at South Carolina era to Bruce Ellington) to go along with 107 yards rushing and a score.
Melvin Ingram recorded two sacks against Clemson, but his constant pressure and harassing of Boyd was the real story. His partner in crime, Mr. Clowney, was right there with him. It seemed like every time you saw MI6 do something special, No. 7 was somewhere close.
Yes, I know technically this makes it a top 12 slideshow, but this performance as a duo was incredible.
(Thanks to my readers who reminded me of this stellar performance. I seriously overlooked the Navy game).
37 carries, 247 yards, and three touchdowns. Marcus was the offense, period.
This was a vintage Marcus Lattimore performance.
His 27 carries for 176 yards and three scores led South Carolina to a victory.
26-of-39 for 311 yards and four touchdowns.
What a performance coming from a run-first quarterback. He also had 50 yards rushing. This was his explosion onto the scene. While he slowed down for a few games, this game and the last two of the season showed what type of quarterback Connor Shaw can be.
This is not only by far the greatest performance of this season, but it may be one of the best single game efforts by any player this year.
Where do you begin?
He had a 68-yard rush on a fake punt for a touchdown. He picked up a fumble for a score. He pulled down an important onside kick. Oh, and he put pressure on Aaron Murray all day.
This was an iconic Gamecock performance, and if you saw it live, you will never forget it. MI6 became a legend with this one game.