Originally created 10/01/00

South Carolina notebook



TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- When James Adkisson reflects on the missed opportunities in South Carolina's 27-17 loss to Alabama on Saturday, foremost among them will be his own.

The Gamecocks were down 10-3 with 4 minutes, 10 seconds left in the first half, and a perfectly executed trick play caught Alabama off guard.

On first-and-10 at the Crimson Tide 46, running back Derek Watson took a sweep left, stopped, and tossed a pass intended for Adkisson down the left sideline.

No Alabama defensive back was within 10 yards. It appeared a certain touchdown and a tie game.

The ball -- and a precious opportunity -- slipped through Adkisson's hands.

"I got excited too early," said Adkisson, who finished without a catch. "I didn't look it all the way in like coach preaches every day in practice. I let one get away from me."

The play symbolized the Gamecocks' missed opportunities. Three of their first-half drives reached the Crimson Tide 12-yard line. None produced points.

Adkisson said the Gamecocks ran the same play in practice Friday and got the same result -- a dropped pass.

"It's called momentum, if you ask me," he said. "That was the key play right there."

QUARTERBACK SHUFFLE: Six quarterbacks played in Saturday's game, three from each team.

Sophomore Erik Kimrey started for South Carolina, was relieved by freshman Dondrial Pinkins on the Gamecocks' third drive, then returned on the next possession after Pinkins lost a fumble.

Junior Phil Petty, who suffered a sprained ankle in the previous week's win over Mississippi State, entered in the third quarter.

For Alabama, starter Tyler Watts was relieved by junior Andrew Zow on the Crimson Tide's third drive. After Alabama turned the ball over on downs, Zow led them on an 11-play, 68-yard march that was capped when freshman running back Brandon Miree plunged in from the 1 to put them up 10-3 with 5:23 left in the first half.

Flanker Freddie Milons, who saw spot quarterback duty for the Crimson Tide last season, played quarterback for one down in the third quarter.

COSTLY INJURY: A 26-yard pass from Watts to Terry Jones might have been Alabama's costliest gain of the season.

Jones, perhaps the Crimson Tide's most reliable receiver, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament on the first-quarter play and likely is out for the season.

The junior tight end was brought down by Gamecocks safety Antione Nesmith while running down the left sideline.

BIG BLUE: Next up for South Carolina is a 7 p.m. tilt at Kentucky on Saturday. The Gamecocks have sold out of their allotment of 5,000 tickets.

EXTRA POINTS: Jermale Kelly's two touchdown receptions pushed his career total to 18, nudging him past Zola Davis and Sterling Sharpe to second on the Gamecocks' all-time list. ... The Crimson Tide entered the game averaging 18.3 points per game, their lowest output since 1968, when they averaged 17.5 points per game. ... The Gamecocks wore black pants on the road for the first time in Lou Holtz's two-year tenure. ... Kimrey's second-quarter interception was the third of the season for the Gamecocks, all having come inside opponents' 20-yard line. ... Holtz incurred an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with 1:35 left. The 63-year-old said it was the first such penalty he's drawn since 1970. ... Alabama holds a 10-0 advantage in the series against South Carolina.