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S. Carolina turns to 'jump ball' for first win in post-Garcia era

South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery catches a 4-yard pass over defensive back Nickoe Whitley for the winning score.

Associated Press

South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery catches a 4-yard pass over defensive back Nickoe Whitley for the winning score.

STARKVILLE, Miss. — With his team struggling against Mississippi State's defense, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier found an indefensible play.

Sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw lofted a 4-yard pass to wideout Alshon Jeffery, who stretched his 6-foot-4 frame over two defenders for a touchdown with 3:50 left in the fourth quarter to lead the No. 15 Gamecocks to a 14-12 victory Saturday.

"Somehow or another, Connor found Alshon on the jump ball," Spurrier said. "We had been trying to get the jump ball thrown all day, and he finally threw it perfect."

In his third career start, Shaw went 20-of-28 for 155 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Shaw, who recently replaced former Jefferson High star Stephen Garcia, also had 28 yards on 16 carries.

The Gamecocks played their first game without Garcia, whose suspension-riddled career ended abruptly when Spurrier dismissed the fifth-year senior last week.

Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore had averaged an SEC-best 129.8 rushing yards per game but managed 39 yards and a touchdown before leaving with a leg injury in the fourth quarter. Spurrier said Lattimore had a sprained left knee, though a full evaluation hadn't been done.

The Bulldogs were driving late, but quarterback Tyler Russell's pass was intercepted by safety D.J. Swearinger with 1:45 left. The Gamecocks then ran down the clock, and Shaw ran out the back of the end zone on the final play for a Mississippi State safety.

No. 1 LSU 38, Tenn. 7: Quarterback Jarrett Lee went 10-of-14 for 115 yards with two touchdown passes and running back Spencer Ware caught one and ran for another score for the visiting Tigers, who earned a record sixth straight victory over an SEC East opponent. "We were having fun," Ware said. "When you're having fun, it makes it that much easier."

No. 2 'bama 52, Ole Miss 7: Tailback Trent Richardson ran for a career-best 183 yards and set another career best with four touchdowns to lead the visiting Crimson Tide. Richardson put the Rebels away with a 76-yard run in the third quarter and leads the nation with six straight 100-yard games. The Rebels suffered their most-lopsided defeat since a 49-3 loss to Florida in 1981.

Georgia 33, Vandy 28: Former Plant High star quarterback Aaron Murray threw for a career-high 326 yards and three touchdowns and Blair Walsh kicked four field goals to lead the visiting Bulldogs, who won their fifth straight. The Bulldogs had three interceptions, the last by Bacarri Rambo with 1:10 left.

15 S.C. 14

Miss. St. 12

S. Carolina turns to 'jump ball' for first win in post-Garcia era 10/15/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 15, 2011 11:48pm]
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