Alabama and South Carolina are colliding Saturday afternoon inside Williams-Brice Stadium for the first time since 2010, when the Gamecocks notched one of their biggest victories in program history.
Nick Saban's Crimson Tide entered with a 5-0 record and a No. 1 ranking, having spanked No. 7 Florida 31-6 the previous Saturday inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, but a career game from South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia and the 1-2 punch of running back Marcus Lattimore and receiver Alshon Jeffery resulted in a 35-21 Gamecocks upset.
"It's been brought up, but I don't remember that game," Alabama redshirt junior outside linebacker Terrell Lewis said this week in a news conference. "I was like 11 years old."
Garcia completed 17 of 20 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, with Jeffery hauling in seven receptions for 127 yards and two scores. Lattimore provided balance to the offense with 23 rushes for 93 yards and two touchdowns.
"The whole team played well that day, and then we go lose to Kentucky," former South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier recently told The Athletic. "Now, how in the hell do you do that?"
South Carolina's 35-21 win remains the largest margin of victory by a Southeastern Conference opponent over a Tide team coached by Saban. It was Saban's only double-digit loss to a league foe until Auburn won the 2017 Iron Bowl 26-14.
Making South Carolina's win nine years ago all the more remarkable is the fact that half of Alabama's starters that day would become NFL draft first-round choices — receiver Julio Jones (2011 draft), running back Mark Ingram (2011), left tackle James Carpenter (2011), defensive end Marcell Dareus (2011), cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (2012), safety Mark Barron (2012), weakside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (2012), left guard Chance Warmack (2013), right tackle D.J. Fluker (2013), cornerback Dee Milliner (2013) and middle linebacker C.J. Mosley (2014).
Alabama also would lose to LSU and Auburn in 2010, with Auburn winning that season's national championship.
Saban was asked this week what he remembers from that game and whether it can be used as a lesson for Saturday's showdown.
"What year are we in now — 2019?" he responded. "Most of our guys were in grade school when that happened. What I remember from it is that we got the lining kicked out of our britches. We got our butts kicked so bad that we had no seam in the back of our pants.
"I'll ask the players when they were in sixth grade if they remember it."
Alabama played New Mexico State last Saturday without its top two centers, and Saban said Wednesday that starter Chris Owens is ahead of backup Emil Ekiyor, whose availability at South Carolina could be a game-time decision. ... Saban after Wednesday's practice on whether there was an update on freshman defensive lineman Antonio Alfano, who hasn't been spotted working this week: "Not really. He's kind of disappeared a little bit."