South Carolina flirts with disaster

September, 17, 2011
9/17/11
11:48
PM ET
The best news for South Carolina concerning Saturday's game against Navy is that it's over.

For the third straight week, the Gamecocks didn't win any style points with their narrow 24-21 victory over Navy, but they did survive.

When you're going against the Midshipmen's triple-option offense, surviving is good enough.

Ellis Johnson, South Carolina's assistant head coach for the defense, knew going into the game what the Gamecocks were up against. They had already been shaky with their tackling, assignments and overall discipline on defense in the first two games.

Against Navy's triple-option, even the most disciplined defenses can be made to look silly.

South Carolina allowed 274 rushing yards, but was able to make stops when it had to in the fourth quarter. Navy actually led this game 21-17 heading into the fourth quarter.

There's something to be said for the Gamecocks winning this kind of game. In the past, they probably would have lost it.

This is still a team that's more talented than it's playing and will need to play better in all three phases of it's going to make a run at an SEC title.

But as long as the Gamecocks have Marcus Lattimore, they're always going to have a chance. He rushed for a career-high 246 yards on 37 carries and scored all three of South Carolina's touchdowns.

Lattimore's season totals are now 534 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, and as much as Steve Spurrier likes to throw the football, it sounds like he's more than content to turn around and hand the ball off to No. 21.

"We figured the best way to try to win the game was to just hand it to (Lattimore) and keep blocking," Spurrier said. "It was good for the defense to have some success, and the offense had a lot of running success. We did end up throwing for around 200 yards somehow or another.

"Maybe it's a good sign that we're winning close ones. If you have a big year, you always look back at some of those close ones that you win. We've got a lot of work to do. Vandy is a very good team coming in here next week. We're happy to get this one behind us."

Chris Low | email

College Football

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