Keys to a Georgia win over South Carolina

Georgia needs to be able to establish the run against the Gamecocks. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Georgia needs to be able to establish the run against the Gamecocks. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

With the oddsmakers having South Carolina as a 2.5 point favorite over the Dogs, we’re probably looking at “another knockdown dragout in Columbia,” as Mark Richt put it.

In my preseason prediction, I pegged this as a game Georgia likely would lose. But considering how these two teams usually take it down to the wire, I would not be at all surprised to see the Bulldogs eke out another one.

If that happens, these are likely to be five keys to a Georgia win:

1. Running the ball successfully. Not only will this take some of the pressure off Aaron Murray and perhaps keep him from getting too adventurous, it will keep Stephen Garcia, Marcus Lattimore, Alshon Jeffrey and Ace Sanders on the sideline.

2. Pressuring Garcia. The Gamecocks’ offensive line was suspect last year, surrendering a lot of sacks. They looked better last week and Garcia was allowed to stay in the pocket a lot of the time, but that was against Southern Miss. If Justin Houston and company can get into Garcia’s head early, the light might start to flicker again.

3. A.J. Green. Assuming the alleged jersey-selling affair is concluded by the NCAA this week and he gets to play in Columbia, just the mere presence of Green on the field will keep Ellis Johnson from being able to flood the box continually in an attempt to stifle the run and force Murray to make plays. Plus, of course, Green is likely to make a few plays himself.

4. Turnover ratio. The winner of this stat usually has the upper hand in any game, but in a Georgia-South Carolina game it’s often the deciding factor.

5. The kicking game. I have a feeling this game is likely to come down to a clutch field goal late in the fourth quarter. And if that’s the case, having Blair Walsh on Georgia’s sideline is a good feeling.

What else do you think needs to happen for Richt to go 5-0 in Columbia?

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156 comments Add your comment

Dawg5150

September 8th, 2010
10:55 am

Say What???

September 8th, 2010
10:57 am

This game is going to be a war, that is for sure. I think the three main keys to a UGA win are being able to establish the running game (which we couldn’t do this past weekend), put constant pressure on Gracia from all sides (keep him wondering where the next hit is coming from), and if at all possible, keep the USC offense off the field.

Old Dawg

September 8th, 2010
10:58 am

I agree on all points. I especially like UGA’s ability to rush the passer. However, Garcia’s scrambling ability and the passes off his movement pose a problem. I’d like to see the Dawgs have a spy to keep Garcia’s running in check.

Obviously, like Dawg fans everywhere, I’d really like to see A.J. Green back. That’s the game-changer UGA needs.

SSIgator

September 8th, 2010
10:59 am

“Keys to a Georgia win over South Carolina”

Getting the keys from the warden to let the rest of the UGA players out.

Dawg Pound

September 8th, 2010
11:00 am

SC’s defense wasn’t too sharp in their opener, but they will be much better than La-La. I think the Dawgs win 21-10.

Dawg Pound

September 8th, 2010
11:01 am

SSIgator – you should be out looking for a center that can snap the ball in the shotgun formation.

vlasic

September 8th, 2010
11:02 am

I just can’t wait to see the UGA players in a giant tickle pile.

JBD

September 8th, 2010
11:03 am

I think establishing the running game is the biggest key. We can’t be a one dimensional team and rely on a redshirt freshman.

BTW, I hate Spurrier. He’s the master of surprise. I won’t be surprised if there’s an on-side kick early in the game. We should definitely expect some tricker-ation from the offense.

baloney

September 8th, 2010
11:03 am

Vote UGA for national champs.

NC Dawg

September 8th, 2010
11:04 am

McDawg

September 8th, 2010
11:05 am

keep it close and pressure Garcia who will make some great plays but in the end will do something stupid and turn the ball over at a key point in the game-dawgs win 17-6

McDawg

September 8th, 2010
11:06 am

Wonderin gif the NCAA will announce the outcome of the Green Inqusition and USC Inquiry at the sametime

Evansdawg

September 8th, 2010
11:06 am

I think you hit the nail on the head, Bill. Another way to put it, ‘refer back to the gameplans for Tech and Texas A&M last season.’

looselinda

September 8th, 2010
11:06 am

UGA will beat those cox.

SSIgator

September 8th, 2010
11:07 am

TallyDawg

September 8th, 2010
11:08 am

We should all wear Mike Pouncey jerseys and snap footballs in random directions until Urban Meyer’s head explodes.

outkasted

September 8th, 2010
11:11 am

thats the key for any team to beat anyone….. run the ball, pressure the quarterback, don’t turn the ball over and play great on special teams…. wow u really said something lol

#1 BAMA FAN

September 8th, 2010
11:11 am

DAWGS….run the ball, it ain’t that heavy. Control the ball (time) and no turnovers. RTR

Georgia Dawg 79

September 8th, 2010
11:14 am

This game scares the hell out of me. I know we CAN win this…..but not so sure if we will. Go Dawgs

clint

September 8th, 2010
11:18 am

When did Marcus Lattimore become Jim f’n Brown? I didn’t know rushing for 50 something yards against Southern Miss qualified you for the Hall Of Fame. Caleb King had a better yards per rush than him and yet just about every UGA was displeased with how he played. I guess if he every gets to 100 yards in a game, the Heisman will automatically be his.

Ferndolin

September 8th, 2010
11:18 am

Get Brandon Smith involved in the offense. He can make things happen.

DawginOH

September 8th, 2010
11:22 am

I agree with you, Bill. If the Dawgs can get the running game going they should win this one. Garcia also looks worse than Joe Cox under pressure so the D will have to bring plenty of it early to prevent him from getting in a groove.

258DAWG

September 8th, 2010
11:24 am

Stop calling screens on 3rd downs, period!!!!!

obvious

September 8th, 2010
11:27 am

Key to winning:

Score more points than they do.

Frank Lane

September 8th, 2010
11:27 am

Shut down Marcus Lattimore. Our passing will be good with or without Green. Our defense will win this game.

dx107

September 8th, 2010
11:27 am

S. Miss made alot of first game mistakes and SC took advantage of half. After watching UGA play hell I am more confident than last week at this time. BRING’em ON!

Dawgs73

September 8th, 2010
11:28 am

I agree with all three keys to the game, but the biggest deciding factor will be penalties. If UGA is to have a chance against USC, they will have to play mistake free against them. The offense was good last week, but committed 4 penatlies which is unacceptable.

I think the D will step up and play well, but the onus will be on Richt/Bobo and the offense.

Chris

September 8th, 2010
11:32 am

We have supposedly the best starting offensive line in the SEC, most veteran, most consecutive starts. Why weren’t we able to blow up Lala’s defensive line and run the ball down their throat? I mean I really liked the way Bobo mixed it up and realized how much I missed Durham last year but I wanted to see more of a game plan similar to Ga Tech last year and run it straight down their throats.
That probably won’t work against SC, have to mix it up but I still think Garcia is a head case. Early on in that Southern Miss game, he was rattled and looked like the Stephen Garcia we all know and love. Get pressure on him from every angle right from the start and he’ll revert to the Papajohn’s Bowl Garcia.

Bull

September 8th, 2010
11:34 am

RIght on with the running game. We have to absolutely pound them with our running game. SC usually has stopped us early in the game every year….so Bobo abandons the run game. We need to get it going early and often.

RxDawg

September 8th, 2010
11:35 am

Carolina is favored? Interesting

sogadog

September 8th, 2010
11:35 am

6. The redshirt freshman quarterback factor. Murray needs to play a solid game, and try not to be a hero. If he avoids throwing interceptions, and makes good decisions Georgia wins. He should be fine.

Rocky Mountain Bulldog

September 8th, 2010
11:36 am

This is going to be a great game. I believe The difference will be the Bulldogs new swarming defense!
The coach with visor really struggled against great D coaches, when he was with the Redskins.

1eyedJack

September 8th, 2010
11:36 am

Run the ball, stop the run, play sound special teams and don’t turn it over equals a gauranteed win.

chilidawg

September 8th, 2010
11:38 am

More penalty-free defense.

#1 BAMA FAN

September 8th, 2010
11:39 am

That’s right 1eyedJack…….that’s the way we roll. RTR

CHDawg

September 8th, 2010
11:40 am

I think the Dawgs are going to win this one by a very healthy margin. The keys mentioned are good, but we have so many weapons and we have great depth on offense (except QB). Green would be a great addition to have on the field, but we have some great receivers even if he can’t play. I hope we see some special offensive packages that utilize some of the talents of our team. If SC can get a lot of turnovers, or they hurt/put tremendous pressure on Murray, or our D falls apart, it may be close, or even a loss. However, if the D plays well, and the O line shows up like they can and should, we should be very hard to stay with on the scoreboard.

RxDawg

September 8th, 2010
11:40 am

As far as your keys go…

1. I’m predicting UGA to have a pretty tough day running the ball. We’ll get some yards, but it probably wont be dominant. Looks like it’s going to take the O-line a few games to gel again. I’d guess something like 150 total rushing yards, a respectable amount.

2. Now this I think we will do well. Carolina’s biggest weakness looks to be their O-line. I think UGA’s D will disrupt a few plays this Sat, and this could be the difference in us winning a close game.

3. I disagree actually. I’m impressed with our WR talent as a whole. It would be great to have AJ back, but I don’t think it’s key to a win.

4. Yep. Last year taught us this lesson.

5. Agreed. I see many FG’s in this game for both sides. Now if we can just get that kickoff coverage thing down..

Looking forward to this great week in football. Go Dawgs!

SEC Commissioners Office

September 8th, 2010
11:40 am

Southern Miss moved the Ball almost at will. I say we’re a little better on Offense than Southern miss. Defense. I think Carolina will be shocked ( Spurrier even made a comment in the Charleston paper this AM) That the Georgia Defense actually advances now rather than backpeddles when the ball is snapped. Carolina will be shocked that our Defense Hits back now. If it’s a close game, I like our Kicker. Dawgs cover.

TallyDawg

September 8th, 2010
11:42 am

AJ is supposedly good to go!!
http://atlanta.sbnation.com/2010/9/7/1675227/report-a-j-green-cleared-tomorrow

A.J. Green will be cleared tomorrow, Thursday p.m. at the latest. The belief is that the one game he has already sat out will function as his 1-game suspension … There are no violations with the party in Miami Beach, there are no violations involving ebay, specifically. He did sell a jersey for $1,000 and has now repaid the money.

SEC Commissioners Office

September 8th, 2010
11:44 am

Ealey makes a big difference this week. King is to tentative and slow to the hole.

RxDawg

September 8th, 2010
11:47 am

“Stop calling screens on 3rd downs, period!!!!!”

Let’s talk some X’s and O’s for a sec. I know it feels like we always call a screen on 3rd and long, but in reality we don’t. However, even when we do it’s a good call in this situation. First, it’s a safe call for a passing play. Second, the idea is to catch your opponent trying to blitz on a 3rd and long play. This is a popular defense for 3rd and long because it doesn’t allow the QB time for his WR’s to get downfield and catch a first down pass.

So what would you rather do 258DAWG? Run the ball? That probably wont get us a first down. Throw it deep? Sure, but you run the risk of a QB sack and/or an INT.

More than likely, the coaches have statistics on what other teams do on each and every 3rd and 10+ yards. If they blitz 60-70% of the time, a screen is the right call.

BMDPD

September 8th, 2010
11:47 am

I hates playin the chickens! Bocka Bocka Bocka Bocka Bock!

shuebedobedo

September 8th, 2010
11:52 am

The only key: Turnovers

CHDawg

September 8th, 2010
11:54 am

One other point: the way SC has played us over the last three years is that they have loaded the box and blitzed a lot, covered us tight, and dared us to throw it. Before you laugh, remember that strategy shut down Stafford and Moreno quite well in ‘07 and ‘08. So, I suspect Johnson has a lot of confidence against Bobo with that plan. The odd thing is that (I guess due to our running problems early last year) we threw it up the field with Cox and had a lot of success. LA LAF stacked against the run on us, and I would expect the same from SC–if we are going to beat them they will force us to do it on Murray’s arm. They will stack the box against the run and put a lot of pressure on Murray. I see Murray ripping them to pieces going up field–he can do it, if Bobo has him ready with the right packages. The strange thing is that SC backed off and played Willie Martinez style D against SM last week. They gave up >400 yds in offense. We have to be ready rollout and scramble–the longer pass plays stay alive the more chance we will destroy the SC “load the box” strategy from ‘07-’09 if they employ it this year.

mambo

September 8th, 2010
12:04 pm

The keys … shutting down Lattimore, keeping Garcia in the pocket, our running game, A. J. Green, our kicking game, Murray’s poise and an attack minded 3-4 defense. Go Dawgs!

Dorsey Hill

September 8th, 2010
12:04 pm

The key is knowing that it’s Garcia and Jeffery that can beat you, not lattimore. In other words don’t stuff the box worriing about their frosh tb. SOS will get impatient. Get a lead and make Garcia make plays under adverse circumstances; both physical and mental pressure.

cadawg

September 8th, 2010
12:20 pm

dorsey hill is dead on. we’re more talented, so the key is being patient and knowing that spurrier will eventually give up on the run.

we need to stay committed to the run, force a couple of turnovers, and let our superior depth and talent shine through in the 4th quarter (just like it always does… against SC anyway).

i like the look of this dawg team. here’s hoping the reports are right and aj is cleared…

tony

September 8th, 2010
12:26 pm

The only concern should be how well Mr Richt manage the game from start to finish.

how to beat spurrier

September 8th, 2010
12:29 pm

1. run the ball.
2. punish the quarterback on every play.
3. punish the wide recievers on every play.

his offense is built on timing and YAC by making the players think or being afraid of getting hit, you throw off their timing…..do that…end of game.

its that simple folks. problem is that with mike bobo and willie we could/can throw all three of these out the window…..let’s home CTG at least institues #2 and 3.

bobo will still be making play calls that defy all common sense.

Gbal

September 8th, 2010
12:30 pm

BILL – Love you man but you didn’t exactly crawl out on a limb here

IF – 1) Establish Run & controll ball/clock &
IF – 2) Pressure opposing QB &
IF – 3) Best receiver on the team is able to play &
IF – 4) Win the turnover battle &
IF – 5) Win the kicking game…..

…… UGA or any team would have a pretty darn good chance of beating anybody else on a Saturday in the SEC… But I’ll take it!!! Win basically every facet of the game and we should win the game !!! While we are at it let’s shut down the running game for SC and I think that would insure the W… Go DAWGS!!!