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

Delbert D.

September 8th, 2010
12:39 pm

Dorsey Hill –
“make Garcia make plays under adverse circumstances; both physical and mental pressure.”

That is always the case for a QB playing for Steve Spurrier.

robodawg

September 8th, 2010
12:44 pm

I agree with RxDawg in that I don’t think we’ll get a lot of rushing yards, b/c I expect they’ll stack the box. Murray looked good escaping pressure and making some throws on the run, and I think with our receivers he’ll be able to buy some yards for us. But I don’t think we’ll have a huge offensive output. Murray will need to play it safe in 3rd and longs and be content to let Butler punt it deep and play D. This looks like a game where field position will be especially important.

I do think we have a slight edge in this game. As long as we don’t get punished with big plays for being overaggressive, I think our defense will manage well and probably create some turnovers. And Bill is right, this is a game when it feels good to have Blair Walsh on our sideline.

GTDog

September 8th, 2010
12:44 pm

In my vast experience, I have found that the key to winning most football games is to score more points than the other team…If we can just do that, I feel confident in our chances this Saturday.

Gbal

September 8th, 2010
12:45 pm

Press QB + (+2 to’s) = W

Dawg 39

September 8th, 2010
12:48 pm

I think the Dawgs can & will win, but the loser is not out of the SECe Race.
I expect USCe & the Dawgs to be in the hunt all season long.

Not Hard

September 8th, 2010
12:51 pm

Score more points

dawgfacedboy

September 8th, 2010
12:53 pm

D plays smart (limiting stupid penalties) we have a great shot. Murray has to be able to show teams he can make the throws when needed, otherwise teams will stack the box eliminating the running game until he can.

SOUTHGADAWG88

September 8th, 2010
12:58 pm

AJ has been cleared to play sat so enough of that.SC has some more offensive weapons this year but their defense is more suspect than I have seen it over the last 4 years.Their OL and DL are both average at best.Most seem to be looking for a close game due to the history of the series but CMR is 7-2 against SC and I see this weekends game as a coming out party for the best offensive football team Mark Richt has ever had at UGA.DAWGS in a rout!!This will be a special season folks!!

MoDawg

September 8th, 2010
12:59 pm

2.5 to the home team is basically a TD, maybe a little less.

I think having a “spy” for Garcia is a good idea. All of our linebackers can run as well, if not better than him, but his scrambling and extending drives is a concern. Also, their size at WR position compared to our 5′10-ish CB raises a concern. I think the 3-4 may confuse Garcia a bit, but their “D” is likely to confuse our young gun, also. If it gets down to a kicking game or field position game, I like our chances. If we can get in Garcia’s head early, I like our chances.

Dawgs by 4.

Cuz

September 8th, 2010
1:02 pm

Establish the run. Sounds great. But how many of you will sit and yell “throw the dang ball” after we are stopped in the second or third series. SC shut down USM’s running game. I know we have better RB’s but our OL did not fill me to the brim with confidence on their opening holes last weekend. The holes were open to get to our RB’s. SC gave up 337 yards passing to USM. I think we have a QB at least as talented and better recievers. Establish the pass. Knock them backwards and then run the ball.

Radical, yes. But I think that and our defense and kicking team will win the game.

neutral observer

September 8th, 2010
1:09 pm

South Carolina will win this game. They have too many weapons for Georgia to stop, and their defense is sound. The only way they lose this game is thru turnovers. If they play the way they played their opener, this game will not be close like in the past. SC by 17

Randy

September 8th, 2010
1:09 pm

Key is defense. Georgia is #2 in the country in pass defense–had 5 pass break ups, and 3 interceptions. Don’t think Spurrier will pass well against Lakatos. See SC-Uconn Bowl game for details. Georgia is #1 in the country in rush defense–14 yards. Don’t see SC, with their O-Line and RB woes, running well against this defense. Defense also forced 3 TO’s last game

Jerry

September 8th, 2010
1:13 pm

If UGA wants to move up in the rankings, got to beat ranked teams like SC.

If UGA wants to move up A BUNCH in the rankings, beat ranked team like SC by a wide scoring margin.

G Cty Dog

September 8th, 2010
1:14 pm

Whoeever wins the 1st quarte, will win the game. Tone setting, momentum 1st qrtrt is key.

BG

September 8th, 2010
1:15 pm

UGA wins baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DawginLex

September 8th, 2010
1:17 pm

They outgained us 425 to 320 last year. Our new D should knock that down about 100 yards. Their d is good as well. If the over/under is 45 points, take the under.

24-21 is about as high as this one will get. No way we will survive down 14-0 like last year without our home crowd.

Keep the penalties to a minimum and no turnovers. Our talent is better on both sides of the ball. Make Garcia crap his pants a few times early and get up 10-0 and watch Spurrier pull him and play shaw.

SOUTHGADAWG88

September 8th, 2010
1:19 pm

The game may have been somewhat close if we played them with last week’s squad.But when you ad AJ,TK,WE and Sturdivant back into the mix it’s a no brainier….There is not one single area where SC has an advantage.Anybody care to challenge that statement?Hell has SC EVER won a big game?

papadawg

September 8th, 2010
1:20 pm

This game has always been a war. Throw out the records cause it don’t matter. Dawgs 17-14

SOUTHGADAWG88

September 8th, 2010
1:22 pm

No Clemson doesn’t count.

Cojones

September 8th, 2010
1:22 pm

Dawgs should know this one: What’s the difference between erotic and kinky?

Erotic involves the use of an object similar to a feather. When moved slowly over the body it produces sexual feelings that may culminate in a heightened sexual experience.

Kinky is when you use the whole chicken.

Looks like Georgia will enjoy a kinky experience over Carolina this weekend.

Embarrassed Dawg

September 8th, 2010
1:25 pm

I think this will be a close game and could go either way, but no way do I think SC can manhandle Georgia, even if AJ does not play. UGA is deeper on the OL and has as many or more skilled players. The biggest difference is UGA no longer has the same Defensive Coaches. USC is the same team they have been for the last 5 years under CSS, and will end up 8-4 at best.

Bulldog eating Gator

September 8th, 2010
1:29 pm

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.

————————————————————————————————————————————————-

SSIgator, it’s true the Bulldogs have had some really stupid legal troubles lately… I’m just as frustrated as the next guy… Now if you don’t mind I’d really like to get back to the Brandon Spikes homemade video… I’m waiting to see if he pokes her eyes out.

Gary

September 8th, 2010
1:30 pm

Not going to happen this year. The team is just not ready. The line did not look good this weekend. Too many broken plays. Running game looked week against a significantly inferior defense. Carolina is ready. They looked prepared.

guy

September 8th, 2010
1:33 pm

the spikes video has a little bit of eye gouging, but mostly just highlight reel of him leveling moreno, and picking off uga qb’s.

overall it’s very tastefully done.

Johnny DangerDawg

September 8th, 2010
1:37 pm

It’s all about the UGA O-line. The talent is there, but they had trouble opening up holes for the running backs in Game One. This is the same problem the Dawgs had for the first half of last season. Fix it!

FayetteDawg

September 8th, 2010
1:38 pm

All good points, Bill and I like your comments RxDawg. SC will stack the box and try to stifle the run game early to put the onus on Murray. If we can stay the course running and keep SC’s defense honest, I think Murray can have a big game–especially with our receivers (AJ or not) and, a position yet to be mentioned, our tight ends. And who knows, maybe our OL from last year’s Tech game will show up–breathing fire, knocking heads, and taking names to allow our TB’s to move the ball well. Do remember that Cordy Glenn and Ben Jones probably weren’t 100% against La-La. I wasn’t that impressed with SC’s linebackers in the Southern Miss game, so if our TB’s can get past the DL, I think we’ll roll on the run game. AJ or not, I say Durham, King, and Charles (maybe Gray, too) make our passing game work, even though SC’s secondary will be tough.

Defensively, we put Garcia in the grass two or three times on their first possession and he melts. Simple as that. And between CTG and Lakatos, it’ll happen. A tough, smash-mouth game, but we take it by 7 or less. Looking forward to Saturday. GO DAWGS!

Bigboy

September 8th, 2010
1:38 pm

SC is a pesky bunch,they go hard at UGA whenever we play them.You would think that they are due a big win every blue moon at least.On the other hand CMR seems to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder this season and I’ve got a feeling this offense could be electric.On the defensive side of the ball…frankly Grantham was hired for these type of games….750k is a nice chunk of change and games against Spurrier,Petrino and Meyer I can assure you were highlighted when he took over.The guy has something to prove too.Int he end I say we are too talented and hungry to lose this game.It may be tight in the 1st half but I predict UGA to pull away in the second half.

Gamecrocks

September 8th, 2010
1:39 pm

20- 16 Dawgs……I do’nt think we’ll run the ball up and down the field…I still say that if we keep Garcia in the pocket and put preassure on him as well as stuffing the run I thing the offence will muster up just enough points to pull this one out…..I do not think this is any kind of make or break game for the dawgs though…..the top 3 teams in the eastern div will all have at least 1 or maybe 2 losses each

Bulldog eating Gator

September 8th, 2010
1:39 pm

lol “guy” i got nothing for that… Well done my friend.

papadawg

September 8th, 2010
1:42 pm

Going to be steamy hot so whoever has the most fresh bodies will win out. SC is talented but not very deep which will be the difference

74 Dawg

September 8th, 2010
1:46 pm

vlasic, did you mean ‘pickle pile’ ?

GT4EVER

September 8th, 2010
1:50 pm

I’m curious to see what Grantham has when compared to Martinez.If the Georgia defense has really improved they will be tough to beat this year.

Dawg 39

September 8th, 2010
1:53 pm

Why so hard on the Dawgs? I know that going back to last year they S/B 6 & 0 Not 5 & 1 But their last 6 games = 38,31,27,30, 44, & 55.Not too shabby. Now It really Is up to the Defense. The offense will do their part.

how2fish

September 8th, 2010
1:57 pm

I think it will be very close, one thing I did notice in SC’s first game. Gracia liked to put his head down and run into folks..that’s all well and good against USM but I think it could get painful real quick against our D…

JB

September 8th, 2010
2:02 pm

This blog is easy……If Georgia plays and behaves like Dawgs and Carolina plays like Carolina, Georgia wins. We have proved nothing, but Carolina Crowing ( couldn’t resist) about beating Southern Miss is too funny. I thought Carolina looked pretty good, but most, if not all of the starters on Southerns team would have been one and two star players on the Georgia AND Carolina recruiting board.

Murphy

September 8th, 2010
2:05 pm

Bill,
The Dawgs only need to do one thing to win. Play with the same emotion they did in the first game! I believe we have more talent and team speed than S.Carolina. All we need to do is stay on an emotional high on every play!

rural education

September 8th, 2010
2:06 pm

Last year Georgia was outplayed and outgained yards wise by South Carolina. The difference was the special teams play of Georgia. Those of you who think you can just run over them are sadly mistaken. If I am not mistaken, Carolina had the third best defense in the SEC last year behind Alabama and Florida and the game is in Columbia. Food for thought South Carolina has only been favoered to beat Georgia twice in the last 25 years and they won both.

76DAWG

September 8th, 2010
2:09 pm

SC had one glaring weakness against Southern Miss., COVERING THE PASS. If a team like Southern Miss. can get 337 yards against SC, UGA can do much better with the WR and TE they have. If CMR throws the ball 75% of the time it will make SC spread out and the 25 % of the time that UGA runs will be more open for big gains. Take advantage of SC weakness , if nothing else it will get UGA close enough every time down the field so Walsh can do his thing. I can see Walsh making at least 5 field goals in this game and if UGA can score 2 more touchdowns, I think that will be enough to win.

Red Panties Rick

September 8th, 2010
2:14 pm

I have an inside contact at South Carolina who tells me that if the game is close, late, and South Carolina has the ball, that a special play will be utilized – on the snap, each South Carolina player will toss a pair of red panties up into the air. This will distract the Georgia players, thus allowing the SC quarterback to sneak it in and thus win the ballgame….

JB

September 8th, 2010
2:16 pm

ONE more thing 76DAWG……………..Spurrier would rather win this game than any. Clemson, UF………………More than those……He just can’t wait to smirk and say, ” Heck, it’s just Georgia”.
He will press his team and take some chances he wouldn’t normally take, and in big boy football, that usually backfires.

Buck N. Kincaid

September 8th, 2010
2:19 pm

We’re too busy talking about those Braves, and of course, ice hockey season starts next month. Tune in and listen to us schmooze with the Thrasher’s GM.

We might even have time to talk about US Open Tennis and of course Women’s Pro Basketball playoffs.

Who cares about college football? We are the voice of the Thrashers, man.

frankly

September 8th, 2010
2:28 pm

#1 and #4 is it. PERIOD. Forget about everything else. SC’s offense vs the GA defense will be an even battle. They will make some plays and the Dawgs D will make some plays.

If GA wants to win the OL has GOT TO step up so that we can have some success running the ball and obviously not turning the ball over will help your chances.

Drew

September 8th, 2010
2:29 pm

Why are all the Dawgs fans running their mouths about USC beating USM? After you just beat Louisiana-Lafayette. That’s kinda the same thing. I don’t know why you would point that out. If anything USC fans are just happy that none of the starters committed turnovers. Oh and Spurrier pulls Garcia, Shaw comes in, and he just so happens to have thrown the only TD pass last week. I don’t really believe that is an upside for UGA.

But, I’m confident Shaw and Garcia will both play at QB and Gilmore will get some time at QB to run the ball.

Say What???

September 8th, 2010
2:35 pm

Rick, come on man! Come up with something new! Maybe something about how UGA will be forced to forfiet because all of the players sold their game jeresies on Ebay…

I know, not great… But it beats the heck out of another “red panties” reference!!!

Bama Fan #2

September 8th, 2010
2:36 pm

Dawgs get if done with kicking game!! Best punter and place kicker in the country combined!! RTR

ozzfest

September 8th, 2010
2:36 pm

Why doesn’t somebody just call the NCAA and ask them?
The number is 317/917-6222.

browndog

September 8th, 2010
2:37 pm

UGA fans are much too confident. Garcia is a different QB from the past and he has some BIG receivers as targets that will give the UGA secondary problems. I think Lattimore is the real deal and provides the balanced attack SC has not had in the past. This game scares me much more than the Arkansas game.

76DAWG

September 8th, 2010
2:45 pm

This game should be taken very serious, Spurrier is a great coach and he knows it.

Pago Pago Dawg

September 8th, 2010
2:46 pm

We’re scared to death. A new qb playing in Columbia. It’s been reported that our “O” is the best in the SEC…..it’s NOT!

Richham

September 8th, 2010
2:51 pm

#2 – Did you watch the game? Garcia was continually under pressure the entire first half. He was erratic at best throwing the football. Tack on several penalties on the offensive line and I really don’t see the huge improvement you alleged.

I agree it’s going to be a close one, but I thought the offensive line played poorly. At least in the first half they did.

I’m sorry Garcia does not scare me at all. Focus on taking away Jeffries and shutting down the run. Lattimore looks solid, but it takes even the great ones a little time to adjust to play in the SEC. Georgia was solid on tackling this past game, that needs to continue with guys wrapping up and flying to the football. Lattimore’s one weakness is holding on to the football. Just like Murray, Lattimore will have to be careful in trying to do too much and turning it over.