As the start of the 2012 season nears, GamecockCentral.com's David Cloninger takes a look back at the top plays of 2011, South Carolina's finest year. The No. 1 play from last year will be revealed on Aug. 30, USC's season-opener.
NO. 19: Gotta Have It
The game: No. 12 South Carolina at Georgia, Sept. 10
The scene: Georgia 35, South Carolina 31, 5:01, fourth quarter
The cast: Quarterback Stephen Garcia, wide receiver Ace Sanders
The setup: In a back-and-forth game that featured a little bit of everything, Garcia helped put the Gamecocks ahead to stay on a crucial drive. After throwing two interceptions but seeing USC keep close to Georgia with big, strange plays, the quarterback who always seemed to shine when the team needed gutsy performances found one more.
Time was running out as the Bulldogs had the lead and the advantage, quarterback Aaron Murray finding his rhythm and Georgia's defense hounding Garcia. Tailback Marcus Lattimore was starting to find room to run, though, and had just shredded the Bulldogs on the Gamecocks' previous drive.
A Garcia-to-Lattimore completion produced 6 yards but Lattimore was stopped at the line on second down. Garcia's pass to Sanders was incomplete, but pass interference was signaled on Jordan Love, and the Gamecocks had a first down at the USC 32-yard-line.
Garcia thought he had seen something on the play. Coach Steve Spurrier saw it, too. He signaled in another route intended for Sanders.
The play: Garcia took the snap, recognized the pass-rush and rolled right. There was Sanders, streaking downfield toward the right sideline, with two steps on safety Shawn Williams.
Garcia tossed off his back foot, but Sanders was more open than enough. He hauled in the pass 30 yards downfield and stepped out-of-bounds, giving the Gamecocks life in Georgia's half of the field and setting up a strong finish.
The aftermath: The drive culminated in a Lattimore touchdown with 3:28 to go, and the Gamecocks were ahead to stay after an incredible defensive play on Georgia's next possession. The game didn't end until USC could recover an onside kick and safely run out the clock, but it did end - 45-42 in favor of the Gamecocks.