With Lattimore, run now Spurrier's focus

South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore (top) rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday, leading the Gamecocks past Georgia and to 13th in The Associated Press Top 25 poll.

 

COLUMBIA --- Run it up has a new meaning for South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier this season.

Spurrier, who never met a pass-pattern he wouldn't call, gladly kept handing off to untested freshman tailback Marcus Lattimore in a 17-6 win over Georgia on Saturday.

Lattimore rushed 37 times for two touchdowns and 182 yards, the second-highest rushing total ever for a Gamecock freshman.

South Carolina (2-0, 1-0 SEC) improved 11 spots to No. 13 in the Top 25 while Georgia fell out of the rankings.

Southeastern Conference opponents might have to get used to Spurrier's running style. Lattimore ran the ball at the most crucial moments in his first SEC contest against Georgia.

He got the ball near the goal line twice, each time delivering with 2-yard scoring runs. Then in the fourth quarter and Georgia (1-1, 0-1) down 14-6, Lattimore ran eight of 11 plays and gained 56 yards on a clinching field goal drive.

"I don't think I've ever had a running back break as many tackles as Marcus did yesterday," Spurrier said Sunday.

That's high praise from a coach who's sent stars such as Errict Rhett and Fred Taylor to the NFL during his championship run at Florida.

With Lattimore's success against Georgia, running the ball "appeared to be the best way to put it away," Spurrier said.

Not that Spurrier's given up on his beloved pass attack. He grimmaced when fullback Brian Maddox couldn't collect a Stephen Garcia pass that would've been a wide-open touchdown.

Garcia finished a tidy 12 of 17 for 165 yards, but took five sacks, something Spurrier has groused about for two seasons.

That's got to change, Spurrier said, because South Carolina likely can't count on Lattimore to carry the load all by himself against the SEC heavyweights Florida and Alabama.

"We've got to get better in the passing game," Spurrier said.

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