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The no. 9 Georgia Bulldogs try to avenge last year’s loss against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday night. The Bulldogs are listed as 21.5-point road favorites with an over/under of 49 points.
The Bulldogs are currently clinging to the slimmest of hopes of reaching the SEC title game. Georgia will need to run the table and hope that Florida loses twice. Of course, if they can avoid another loss, the Bulldogs will have a chance to play in a major bowl game regardless of Florida's remaining schedule outcomes.
As for the Gamecocks, they are in the midst of a four-game losing streak that has already cost head coach Will Muschamp his job. There’s not much at stake for South Carolina, especially since the Gamecocks have already done enough to avoid finishing last in the SEC East. However, they should be motivated to play one of their biggest rivals.
All eyes are on the quarterback position at South Carolina. Freshman Luke Doty played the second half of last week’s game against Missouri, with Collin Hill getting benched. Doty provided a spark for the South Carolina offense after a disastrous first half by Hill. Running back Kelvin Harris has carried the Gamecocks for most of the season, averaging six yards per carry. He ran absolutely wild against Ole Miss two weeks ago, racking up 243 yards and five touchdowns. But when teams have stacked the box to stop the run, the South Carolina passing attack hasn’t been able to respond.
For much of the season, the Georgia defense has been one of the best in the SEC. However, the Bulldogs have looked a little vulnerable in recent weeks, specifically against the pass. Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers completed 41 passes for 336 yards last week. That was after Kyle Trask carved up the Georgia secondary for 474 yards and four touchdown passes.
Third Time’s the Charm
The Bulldogs are hoping they’ve finally found their starting quarterback in JT Daniels. The USC transfer is Georgia’s third different start this season. But he looked like the team’s best option last week, throwing for over 400 yards and four touchdowns against Mississippi State. It was a change of pace for the Bulldogs, who needed their rushing attack to do most of the heavy lifting for most of the season.
Meanwhile, the South Carolina defense hasn’t had much success this season. In fairness, they limited Missouri to just 17 points last week, although the Mizzou offense is quite limited. The Gamecocks had allowed an average of 53 points per game in their three losses prior to last week’s game against Missouri. It remains to be seen whether the South Carolina defense can build on last week’s performance against Missouri or if it was an isolated event.
With South Carolina’s offense being largely one-dimensional, the Gamecocks will likely struggle to move the ball consistently against a talented Georgia defense. Meanwhile, Daniels is the ideal quarterback to do damage against a South Carolina defense that’s been particularly vulnerable against the pass over the last month. In short, the Bulldogs should be able to explore South Carolina’s weaknesses, enabling Georgia to win comfortably and cover the spread.