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NCAA Game Summary - South Carolina at Alabama



(Saturday, October 17th)

Final Score: (2) Alabama 20, (22) South Carolina 6

Tuscaloosa, AL (Sports Network) - Mark Ingram ran for 246 yards and a crucial score late in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach, as second- ranked Alabama remained unbeaten with a 20-6 win against 22nd-ranked South Carolina in a tough SEC matchup at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The Tide relied on Ingram down the stretch in a tight game and the sophomore delivered. With the hosts up only seven with eight minutes to play, Ingram carried the ball on each of Alabama's six plays during a game-changing drive that chewed three-plus minutes off the clock.

Runs of 24 yards and a bruising 22-yard romp set up a first-and-goal on the four and Alabama's workhorse lowered his head on the next play for a game- sealing touchdown with just under five minutes remaining.

Alabama survived despite four turnovers and used yet another solid defensive showing to take out its fourth conference opponent in as many weeks. Mark Barron's 77-yard interception for a score on the game's second play from scrimmage helped set the tone.

"I kind of had the feeling that this would be a tough game. Psychologically this is a tough league to be at your best every week," Alabama head coach Nick Saban remarked. "Mark Ingram was fantastic, 246 rushing yards with over 10 yards a carry, best performance ever in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The offensive line must've been doing a pretty good job too against a pretty good defense but the guy ran with tremendous passion and heart and did a wonderful job."

Ingram carried the ball 24 times in all and caught two passes for 23 yards in the win.

Greg McElroy was picked off twice in a pedestrian performance, passing for 92 yards on 10-of-20 efficiency for Alabama (7-0, 4-0 SEC), which rolled over then No. 20 Ole Miss in convincing fashion last week in a 22-3 triumph. All six of the Tide's victories this season have come by double figures.

Stephen Garcia had some shaky moments but kept South Carolina within striking distance into the final minutes, throwing for 214 yards on 20-of-46 passing with an interception for South Carolina (5-2, 2-2), which was riding a four- game win streak with each of those victories coming at home.

Alshon Jeffrey caught four balls for 83 yards and Jason Barnes six for 46 in defeat.

"It was an interesting game, an interesting game in that even though they were running for a lot yards, we were right there. Obviously we couldn't score touchdowns. We had a lot of backwards plays, a lot of penalties," said South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier. "For us to win we had to play real smart and we didn't."

Despite a choppy first half offensively, the Gamecocks trailed only 13-6 at halftime and used a solid defensive effort to remain within a score entering the fourth quarter.

South Carolina's defense stiffened in the third and allowed just one first down. With 2 1/2 minutes left in the quarter and Alabama driving, Clifton Geathers sacked McElroy, forced a fumble and recovered to give South Carolina control at their own 46 for a drive that ended the frame.

Garica hit Barnes on 3rd-and-7 for eight yards and scrambled to find Weslye Saunders for a 15-yard gain to the Alabama 28. But, Garcia's next two passes were incomplete and a sack on third down forced a 50-yard field goal attempt by Spencer Lanning that fell short.

The Gamecocks got the ball back after forcing a quick three-and-out from the Tide, but Garcia was sacked again to force a long third-down and the Gamecocks punted.

Ingram's TD run made it a two-score game and South Carolina reached the Crimson Tide four-yard line on its final possession but a fourth-and-goal pass to Saunders fell incomplete with only four second showing on the clock.

The Gamecocks began the game in Alabama territory thanks to a face mask and a 32-yard return of the opening kickoff by Chris Culliver. However, the Crimson Tide's vaunted defense produced a turnover and seven points as Barron picked off Garcia and took it 77 yards the other way.

On Alabama's first turn with the ball, South Carolina returned the favor on 3rd-and-eight from the 'Bama 40 as Shaq Wilson intercepted McElroy to take over on the 31. The series went for naught, though, as a 15-yard tripping penalty derailed the drive from the start.

A second Gamecock interception on Alabama's next series faltered when C.C. Whitlock was immediately met by a forceful hit from Julio Jones and fumbled back to 'Bama. The Tide offense continued downfield and Leigh Tiffin kicked a 25-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.

Tiffin missed a 49-yard field goal with just under six minutes left in half and the Gamecocks put together their first scoring drive.

Garcia and Jeffrey connected for a 52-yard gain on 3rd-and-10 in Gamecock territory to gain the Alabama 16 and an eight-yard completion to Moe Brown set up a first-and-goal from the five. However, three consecutive fade routes to the back right corner of the end zone fell incomplete and Lanning rammed a 22- yard field goal between the uprights for a 10-3 game.

A 54-yard Ingram run helped set up Tiffin's 35-yard field goal to give the Crimson Tide a 13-3 lead with 56 seconds on the clock, but Garcia led South Carolina into 'Bama territory with runs of 21 and 12 yards, allowing Lanning to connect from 31 yards for a 13-6 score at the half.

Game Notes

Alabama puts its unblemished season on the line again next Saturday at home against Tennessee...South Carolina hosts Vanderbilt next weekend...The Gamecocks were without freshman tailback Jarvis Giles, who was suspended for the game due to a violation of team rules and school policy. Several media outlets reported the suspension is related to academics, specifically the class-attendance policy. Giles is the Gamecocks' second-leading rusher with 245 yards on 42 carries...Alabama has won 12-of-14 all-time meetings with South Carolina...The Crimson Tide defense sacked Garcia five times. Tyrone King had two of those.

10/18 00:27:16 ET