TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - When it came to drawing up the blueprint for an upset of No. 2 Alabama, winning the turnover battle seemed a necessity for No. 22 South Carolina.
One crucial detail was left out: Turning those turnovers into points.
In that respect, USC came up short in its 20-6 loss on Saturday night.
The Gamecocks forced the Tide into four turnovers, while giving it away twice. The Gamecocks generated zero points off them.
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"Statistically, if you look at it, if you're looking at this game you saw how many turnovers we got, and how many turnovers they had, you'd think we won the game," South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood said. "But there's three parts football, offense, defense and special teams. We just gotta execute better in all phases and we'll be fine."
Norwood later added that the offense has helped the defense when it struggled, like against Georgia. And he pointed out the defense could have done more.
"We should have put one in the end zone, like (Alabama did)," Norwood said.
The Gamecock defense actually gave one back itself.
Cornerback C.C. Whitlock picked off a pass at his own 30, and seemed to have a wide path down the right sideline. But a few yards later Alabama receiver Julio Jones reached out and stripped the ball from Whitlock, and Alabama recovered.
South Carolina failed to capitalize on prime field position: Six times it started at its own 41 or better, including twice in Alabama territory. It scored on one of those drives.
The opening drive set the tone. After a good run-back by Chris Culliver, and a tacked-on 15-yard penalty against Alabama, USC started at the Alabama 44.
Two plays later, Stephen Garcia was picked off and Alabama ran it back for a touchdown.
A few minutes later, USC thought it had its makeup turnover when Shaq Wilson returned an interception to the Alabama 31. But the USC offense went backward 17 yards before punting.
Wilson, asked later about his interception, took the same outlook as Norwood.
"I felt it was a good way to start the game off," Wilson said. "I really wish I could've ran it back for seven like they did."