The junior quarterback led a pair of long scoring drives — 75 and 80 yards — and threw two touchdown passes, one each to Patrick DiMarco and Alshon Jeffery, to keep USC within reach in the first half against Auburn’s relentless offensive attack.
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The freshman tailback did not break any long runs, but he showed his toughness as he rushed for 84 yards on 16 carries against a physical defense and had a key 21-yard reception that set up a first-half touchdown.
With 217 receiving yards in the first half and two touchdowns on seven catches, including the Hail Mary backbreaker to end the first half, Auburn receiver Darvin Adams made the South Carolina defensive backs look as bad as they have all season. Cam Newton finished with 335 yards passing.
Controlling the football
The Gamecocks appeared to forget about running the football as Auburn built its big first-quarter lead, which having Lattimore move the chains and keep the Tiger offense off the field did not come to fruition. They finished with 12 rushes in the first half, six in each quarter, for 56 yards.
If there were any doubt that USC was not going to be able to come back in the third quarter, it subsided when Garcia threw an interception that was returned by T’Sharvan Bell 10 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 42-14 lead.
The squib kick
The USC kickoff at the end of the first half, although not a bad idea, was not executed well enough, as Auburn returned the ball to its own 41. That gave the Tigers a crack at the Hail Mary two plays later, which resulted in a touchdown.