TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Beating Alabama in the 2000s might not mean the same thing as it did in decades of yore, but South Carolina will take a win over the Crimson Tide in any time period.
The Gamecocks claimed their first victory ever in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night, a 20-3 win over the Tide.
South Carolina led from start to finish, taking advantage of costly Alabama mistakes for a win to get the Gamecocks over an early-season hump.
They're now 4-1 and 2-1 in the conference, their only loss coming by four points to a Georgia team that looked like a national championship contender Saturday in a rout of Louisiana State.
Thousands of Alabama fans had to find themselves longing for the days of Joe Namath and Ken Stabler on Saturday, perhaps more than they ever have before.
For the second consecutive week, Alabama's quarterbacks proved to be its Achilles' heel.
Marc Guillon and Spencer Pennington combined for four interceptions - including two costly ones that set up the Gamecocks' two touchdowns. They were subbing for the injured Brodie Croyle, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.
The first was a Guillon pass intercepted by sophomore Fred Bennett at the Alabama 20.
Quarterback Syvelle Newton rushed around right tackle for an 8-yard score.
Newton and Pinkins platooned in the first half, but Newton stayed in the entire second half with the game in the balance. This despite the fact that he was intercepted on the possession before his first touchdown run.
Newton's second rushing score was set up by a Tremaine Tyler interception of Pennington.
Tyler returned the ball 40 yards to the 8. Newton rushed it up the middle for the touchdown that made it 20-3.
The two scores sped up the game to a frenetic pace when the first half was very much the opposite, a mistake- and field goal-filled first half.
South Carolina opened the scoring with a 29-yard Josh Brown field goal at the 4:55 mark of the first quarter.
Running back Demetris Summers, returning from an ankle injury, set up the kick with a 39-yard run,
RUDY STARTS: Score another start for Alabama's version of Rudy.
Rudy Griffin, a Hephzibah High grad, made his fifth start in five games for the Crimson Tide at left defensive tackle. He had an impact too, with a 24-yard fumble return in the fourth quarter.
In the off-season Griffin supplanted 6-foot-3, 336-pound Anthony "Bear" Bryant, a second team all-conference selection last year, for the starting job.
Griffin walked on to the team last year after spending his first two years at The Citadel.
His road to the starting lineup made some think of the original Rudy, Daniel Ruettiger. Ruettiger made the Notre Dame football team as a walk-on in the 1970s and his story was turned into a movie in 1993.
Reach Travis Haney at (706) 823-3219 or firstname.lastname@example.org