There was plenty of speculation about whether South Carolina would come out flat against Troy.
No one figured the Trojans would.
Troy provided no resistance Saturday as the No. 17 Gamecocks football team put on a show in a 69-24 victory and took another step in their historic season. Now it’s on to bigger things as rival Clemson and the SEC championship game in Atlanta await the next two weeks.
“This game, like I told our guys, get it behind us,” coach Steve Spurrier said. “We’ve got the two biggest games of the season coming up. We’ll find out our fate in the next two weeks.”
USC earned its eighth win for the 10th time in school history and gave itself the luxury of looking ahead before the first quarter was complete.
“The next two weeks are going to determine what we ultimately become this year,” Spurrier said. “We are still pushing. We are not sitting around patting each other on the back right now. We’ve got two big weeks ahead of us to see what we can do for the University of South Carolina.”
After six minutes, 24 seconds of game action and six offensive plays, the Gamecocks led 21-0. Marcus Lattimore had three touchdowns and 86 yards on his first four carries. Troy fumbled the opening kickoff, missed an open receiver for what would have been a touchdown on its first series and dropped back-to-back snaps on its second series.
“First half, certainly one of the worst halves of football I’ve ever experienced as a coach or a player,” Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. “It was almost like President Bush’s shock and awe. We act like we haven’t ever seen a football field.”
With the outcome determined, the Gamecocks (8-3) spent the rest of the day piling up record numbers. USC had its highest-scoring game in the Spurrier era by halftime as it went to the locker room with a 56-7 lead. The 56 halftime points were the most in a half in school history, and the final tally was South Carolina’s largest since it beat Kent State 77-14 in 1995.
“We didn’t come in thinking we were going to score in the 50s for the (second) time ever, and, lo and behold, we got into the 60s,” Spurrier said. “Sometimes you have games like this and you have to put them behind you just like you have to with a bad blowout loss.”
It was Spurrier’s highest point total since he coached Florida to a 71-13 victory against Vanderbilt in 2001. The Gamecocks’ 69 points were the fifth-most in school history.
Lattimore set the school’s single-season touchdown record with his 17th, 18th and 19th scores, and finished with 102 yards on seven carries. He has 1,066 rushing yards, the sixth-best season in school history.
Jeffery caught five passes for 123 yards to record his sixth 100-yard game of the season. He set the school’s single-season receiving record with 1,210 yards.
“It was just real fun,” Lattimore said. “It just shows how much our offensive line works and how explosive we are as an offense, and it makes me feel good.”
Junior quarterback Stephen Garcia moved into third all time on the school’s career passing list with 6,113 yards after completing 9 of 12 passes for 198 yards against the Trojans.
The only disappointing number for USC was the crowd, which numbered only 74,117 on Senior Day.
USC’s defense held the Trojans, the 13th-best passing offense in the country, to 264 yards — 183 through the air.
“That’s what we talked about all week, just show our fans that we can play two games straight,” Lattimore said. “We didn’t do that last time. We were focused the whole week in practice. I could tell we were going to have a good game against Troy. We knew we had to come out and play, and we did that.”
USC - Marcus Lattimore 17-yd TD run (PAT good)
USC - Marcus Lattimore 8-yd TD run (PAT good)
USC - Marcus Lattimore 5-yd TD run (PAT good)
USC - Ace Sanders 51-yd TD catch from Stephen Garcia (PAT good)
USC - Patrick DiMarco 7-yd TD catch from Stephen Garcia (PAT good)
Troy - Chris Anderson 25-yard TD catch from Jason Bruce (PAT good)
USC - Stephen Garcia 1-yd TD run (PAT good)
USC - D.J. Swearinger 22-yd interception for TD (PAT good)
USC - Chaz Sutton 57-yd interception for TD (PAT good)
USC - Spencer Lanning 32-yd FG
Troy - Michael Taylor 32-yd FG
Troy - Jerrel Jernigan 14-yd TD catch from Corey Robinson (PAT good)
Troy - Chris Anderson 7-yd TD run (PAT good)
USC - Spencer Lanning 31-yd FG
USC - Ace Sanders 15-yd TD catch from Seth Strickland (PAT good)
|Time of Possession||29:11||30:49|
Troy, Southward 5-40, C.Anderson 6-35, D.Taylor 2-19, Mitchell 5-15, Du.Harris 5-11, Bruce 1-4, Jernigan 1-(minus 1), Team 1-(minus 10), Goggans 1-(minus 12), C.Robinson 2-(minus 20).
South Carolina, Lattimore 7-102, Maddox 12-67, C.Shaw 7-17, Miles 6-14, Gurley 1-5, A.Sanders 1-5, Garcia 4-4, Sherman 2-(minus 2).
Troy, C.Robinson 22-38-2-158, Bruce 1-1-0-25.
South Carolina, Garcia 9-12-0-198, C.Shaw 5-8-0-36, Strickland 1-1-0-15.
Troy, Jernigan 6-30, Gill 4-46, Bruce 3-35, C.Anderson 2-20, Chandler 2-17, Reeves 2-12, Southward 2-5, Ja.Johnson 1-11, Du.Harris 1-7.
South Carolina, A.Jeffery 5-123, A.Sanders 2-66, Barnes 2-14, Cunningham 1-16, Scruggs 1-8, DiMarco 1-7, Lattimore 1-6, Miles 1-5, Bennett 1-4.