Recent history shows that Georgia hardly do well when playing on the road against South Carolina, but it feels like this time it’s different. Not just because of Todd Gurley, who might be on his way to win the Heisman trophy, but also because the Gamecocks truly look like a team that’s not up to the usual standard expected of an elite SEC team.
South Carolina did bounce back from losing at home to Texas A&M by winning against East Carolina, but it was only by 10 points, and the defense once again was quite easy to advance against. They are still ranked at #24 on the AP poll, but when the season began they were expected to be contenders for playoff spot, ranked at #9. A lot of voters have lost a lot of faith in them for good reason.
They barely made it through East Carolina, and have a lot of holes that need filling. They’ve already given up 832 passing yards in their opening two games, including 321 against East Carolina. Kenny Hill torched them completely, and with the Gamecocks probably focused on trying to slow down Gurley, this should give Huston Mason an opportunity to put up some impressive numbers. South Carolina did have two interceptions last week, so it’s not a lost cause.
Georgia find themselves as the number six team in the nation heading into this game. Now it’s all about chasing away the demons that haunt them when they face South Carolina in Columbia. They’ve been outscored 52-13 on their last two visits there, including a crushing 35-7 defeat in 2012. They’ve scored more than 18 points in just one of their last nine visits to South Carolina, six of those games coming under Mark Richt.
Todd Gurley has run for 198 yards and three touchdowns this season so far. He ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the win over South Carolina last season, and right now on most sites and posts that follow these kind of things, he seems to be the leading candidate for the award. South Carolina have Mike Davis who had a big game against Georgia himself last season (149 yards), but was held to just 15 yards in the loss to the Aggies before bouncing back with 101 yards against East Carolina.
South Carolina are shaky on defense, but their offense with Dylan Thompson, who has quite a lot of experience going into this season, hasn’t been much better. It feels like if he can step up and put in a solid performance, this might not be such an easy afternoon of football for Georgia. A win for the Bulldogs against another ranked team from South Carolina might mean that this is the season to take them seriously when talking about playoffs and national title contenders.