After a convincing win over Southern Miss last Thursday night, the South Carolina Gamecocks face their rival to the west, the Georgia Bulldogs.
South Carolina and Georgia compete in a rivalry that is nationally underrated, but they always put together a hard-nosed, down-to-the-wire contest that pleases its viewers. In the past decade, seven games have been decided by a touchdown or less.
Usually, South Carolina comes in as underdogs to mighty Georgia, but this year is different. The season started with an offensive bang for Coach Steve Spurrier and his Gamecocks as they put up 41 points against Southern Miss. And unlike the recent past, the points came on offense, and on the ground. Junior quarterback Stephen Garcia and freshman phenom running back Marcus Lattimore each had two rushing touchdowns. The only touchdown through the air came from freshman quarterback Connor Shaw on a strike to wide receiver DL Moore.
If South Carolina can capitalize on their talent and consistently put up the points Spurrier was accustomed to at Florida, they could contend for and possibly even with the SEC East.
And to make matters even better for them, the Gamecocks are expecting most of their previously suspended players to return this week, including starting cornerback Chris Culliver and offensive tackle Jarriel King.
Georgia was not without their show of brilliance either, beating Louisiana-Lafayette 55-7. Freshman quarterback Aaron Murray made an impressive debut, even without All-American wide receiver and headline-maker AJ Green.
As you recall, Green was left out of the season opener by Georgia due to an NCAA investigation. The ruling came down this week for Green, and it wasn’t good. Georgia’s best player will be forced to sit for three more games, including the clash with South Carolina. Green will also miss a home game with #14 Arkansas and a trip to Mississippi State.
Losing a top weapon like that could wind up costing Georgia these three games, which would essentially ruin their hopes of winning the SEC this year.
As for this week, I think Georgia falls just short in their trip to Columbia. The Bulldogs will visit one of the most hostile stadiums in the country to play a team with a brutal defense and an offense than can seemingly match it. And what’s worse is they will make this trip without their top player, a wide receiver I might add, and a freshman quarterback who has never seen an SEC defense that wasn’t a practice squad. Not only will he face an SEC defense this weekend. He will face one of the best defenses out there, against two lock down cornerbacks, without his top weapon. Expect to see a lot of blitzes from Ellis Johnson’s defense, which will mean a lot of man coverage and, hopefully for South Carolina, a lot of sacks.
If South Carolina can contain the running attack of Georgia, they should walk away victorious. This is their chance to dominate Georgia defensively and they better take advantage of it.
Final score prediction – South Carolina 27, Georgia 10.