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No. 1 Alabama falls; Robinson picked off
Question of the Day
There will be new a No. 1 team in the country. The Heisman Trophy race got a shake-up, too.
Stephen Garcia threw three touchdown passes, two to Alshon Jeffrey, and Marcus Lattimore scored three times as 19th-ranked South Carolina stunned top-ranked Alabama 35-21 on Saturday.
In Ann Arbor, Michigan State intercepted three of Denard Robinson’s passes and the 17th-ranked Spartans beat No. 18 Michigan 34-17.
The defending national champion Crimson Tide had won 19 straight games _ including last week’s 31-6 rout of Florida _ since losing the Sugar Bowl after the 2008 season to Utah. The Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) had never beaten a No. 1 team in four previous tries.
“We played some ball today,” Spurrier said. “We played until the end, looked up and we’d beaten number one by a couple of touchdowns. Hopefully, it was something we can build on.”
The Head Ball Coach, in his sixth season at South Carolina, had the players to beat Alabama using the Tide’s own formula.
Garcia and the Gamecocks cashed in on chances when they got close to the goal line and shut down the best tailback duo in the country, making themselves a factor in the SEC title chase. They could run into the Tide again at the SEC championship game in Atlanta.
“I actually talked to (Greg) McElroy after the game and he said, ‘We’ll see you all again,’” said Garcia, who was pulled from South Carolina’s last game, a 35-27 loss at Auburn, after fumbling twice.
Playing at home, South Carolina shredded the country’s top-rated scoring defense, putting up the most points on Alabama (5-1, 2-1) since a 41-34 loss to LSU in 2007. The Gamecocks scored four touchdowns when they got inside the ‘Bama 20 _ double what the Crimson Tide had allowed coming in.
Alabama’s Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson were held to 64 yards on the ground as the Crimson Tide tried to rally back, just as it had in beating Arkansas 24-20 two games ago.
No. 2 Ohio State beat Indiana 38-10 in Columbus and the Buckeyes are likely to become the No. 1 team in the nation when the AP Top 25 comes out Sunday. Ohio State was last No. 1 in the final AP poll of the 2007 regular season, when the Buckeyes lost the BCS championship game to LSU.
Up in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Michigan State scored 24 unanswered points to break open a close game at the big House. Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio made the trip nearly three weeks after having a mild heart attack.
The Spartans (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) trailed midway through the second quarter before their scoring binge, which allowed them to beat their rivals for the third straight time. It’s their longest winning streak over the Wolverines since 1965-67.
As expected, Michigan (5-1, 1-1) struggled to stop Michigan State, but both teams had to be stunned by Robinson’s inability to make many plays with his arm or his feet.
Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins threw for a touchdown and Edwin Baker, Le’Veon Bell and Larry Caper ran for one each, giving Dantonio a reason to smile. He was back coaching from a box high above the field.
By Scott Pinsker
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