There are only a handful of players that completely embody the combination of class, talent, and hard work it takes to be successful on and off the field. Marcus Lattimore proved to be one of those special people from the day he arrived on campus in Columbia, SC in the fall of 2010. His impact on the field cemented him as a South Carolina Gamecocks legend from his first game in garnet and black. The impact he has now off the field can be measured by the respect he garners from former coaches, teammates, fans, and opponents alike. You won’t find too many elite athletes that are as admired and revered as much as Marcus Lattimore.
Gamecocks Legends Series; Marcus Lattimore’s Top 5 Games
The tailback from Byrnes High School was a highly touted prospect that could’ve played for any program in the country. He chose to stay in-state and play for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina. It was a decision that changed the fortunes of an entire program. Unfortunately, Lattimore suffered two devastating knee injuries while at Carolina. Those setbacks not only kept him from rewriting the Gamecock record books, but also curtailed his chance at a NFL career before it ever got started. Even with the injuries, Marcus Lattimore put together one of the best careers of anyone to ever don the garnet and black.
5) 10-30-2010 – vs Tennessee Volunteers
Midway through his freshman season, Lattimore had already established himself as one of the most productive players in the SEC. He then exploded for, at the time, a career high 184 yards rushing against the Vols at Williams-Brice Stadium in a 38-24 victory. He also added 26 yards on two catches to give him 210 total yards. His rare combination of balance, vision, and power was on full display. Late in the contest, he took a hand-off from the shotgun, shook off a tackle attempt in the backfield, and barreled through defenders inside the two yard line. Quarterback Stephen Garcia would plunge in from a yard out for the game sealing touchdown.
4) 09-17-2011 – vs Navy Midshipmen
When this tough service academy team brought its triple-option to Columbia, Coach Spurrier decided to fight fire with fire. Lattimore was a workhorse that day, carrying the ball 37 times for a career high 246 yards. He also had a team high four catches. The sophomore tailback scored all three touchdowns for the Gamecocks, and had more than half of their total yards. One of the biggest disappointments in South Carolina history was a 1984 loss Navy while ranked second in the nation. Lattimore made sure history didn’t repeat itself for the then 10th ranked Gamecocks on his watch.
3) 10-09-2010 – vs Alabama Crimson Tide
Lattimore did not produce eye popping numbers in this game. However, his impact was huge as South Carolina defeated the nation’s number one ranked team for the first time in program history. He scored three touchdowns, and totaled over 100 yards on runs and catches. His toughness and ability to fight for extra yards helped propel the Gamecocks past the mighty Crimson Tide. In one of his more memorable plays, he caught an errant Garcia throw, immediately spun out of a tackle, and plunged forward for six extra yards. His ability to maintain his balance after contact was on full display against the defending champs.
2) 09-11-2010 – vs Georgia Bulldogs
In just his second game in college, Marcus Lattimore put the SEC on notice. He punished the Bulldog defense as he ran up 182 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries. The definition of a workhorse in the backfield, he got stronger as the game wore on. His power was simply too much to handle. They could not bring him to the ground that day, as he broke well over 10 tackles. He carried Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo on his back for most of the day, often dragging multiple defenders for extra yards. The Gamecocks won a defensive slug fest, with their star freshman throwing most of the damaging blows. Lattimore thrived against the Bulldogs, totaling 467 yards in three games versus this SEC rival. The Gamecocks were 3-0 in those contests.
1) 11-13-2010 – @ Florida Gators
In perhaps the biggest win in Gamecock football history Lattimore was at his very best. His 212 yards and three touchdowns led South Carolina to a 36-14 victory in the Swamp, and their first ever SEC Eastern division title. He willed his team to the victory. Twisting and turning past defenders, Lattimore was brilliant. His ability to bounce off tacklers and maintain his balance and pad level was of the highest quality. He totaled 243 yards that night, 17 yards more that the entire Florida offense. He carried his team to a monumental victory, and their first appearance in the SEC Championship.