When Navy took a 7-0 lead early, and then established another 14-7 margin later in the first half, you could almost feel the nerves begin to fill Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia. After all, Navy had dashed South Carolina's dreams before, beating the Gamecocks to knock them out of the national championship hunt in 1984, one of the best seasons in school history.
And for the lion's share of the first half, Navy's triple-option offense had its way with the Gamecocks, piling up 196 rushing yards on 29 carries and converting five of the Midshipmen's first seven third-down conversions. When South Carolina finally got Navy off the field on a fourth-down attempt, it was the first time Navy had not cashed in a drive since Navy punted on its opening drive.
That opened the door for South Carolina to take a lead into the locker room. South Carolina moved the ball 32 yards down the field to set up the 48-yard go-ahead field goal. Otherwise, it's been the Marcus Lattimore Show, with a check-in every once in a while on what looks to be an improving Stephen Garcia. After the erratic South Carolina quarterback failed to complete half of his passes in either of the first two games, he's gone 10-of-15 for 117 yards. Which is one fewer yard than Lattimore has gained on the ground on 13 carries. Lattimore also has two touchdowns on the day.
Put all that together, and the Gamecocks take a small lead to halftime. They also get the ball to start the third quarter, giving them a chance to take the kind of lead that even ghosts can't overcome.