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?

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

156 comments Add your comment

dap01

September 8th, 2010
3:02 pm

What a deary life to be a GT fan and spend afternoons on another team’s blog. How sad.

jasont13

September 8th, 2010
3:04 pm

fg924181088

September 8th, 2010
3:11 pm

Georgia looked really good against La La. I love the new defense and the wat that Grantham lost it after they score. I am sure the Rambo will be running for blowing that coverage. USC is not all that good but the daawgs tend to play down to their competition in that game. Georgia wins 17-14

Boca Baby

September 8th, 2010
3:11 pm

USC’s offensive line is paper-thin. They have no depth at all. Grantham will continue to rotate fresh bodies in and eventually it will make the difference, not to mention the 3-4 will blow Garcia’s mind. UGA BIG!!! Count on it.

JM

September 8th, 2010
3:14 pm

SC 27, GA 13

Boca Baby

September 8th, 2010
3:15 pm

JM: Keep dreaming fella. Mark Richt has only lost like 3 games on the road. Never in Columbia.

SecGuy

September 8th, 2010
3:17 pm

From a Bama fan: Georgia’s defense needs to be alert and regroup quickly as SC will use no-huddle a lot. Also, Spurrier has returned to calling the plays this year and that’s the talent that earned him the “Evil Genius” nickname. He focuses his play calling based on the safeties, so Georgia needs to complicate it some by using their safeties to bait him. Good luck to the Dawgs.

CHDawg

September 8th, 2010
3:17 pm

A couple of interesting Spurrier quotes from ABH: “It’s a typical Georgia team: very good and seem to be playing with a lot more fire on defense than they have last year or two…I’m sure if he doesn’t play(Green), there are certain coverages you might use more than others. Other than that, we have to stop their run game. They have other good receivers, too.” Read—stack the box with 7-9, blitz often, and dare Murray to beat you with his arm…Stafford had trouble with it

Bill King is a.............

September 8th, 2010
3:17 pm

Bill,

You are a freaking genius!!!! who would have ever thought of a good running game, good defense, win the turnover ratio and have your best players on the field(AJ)?? Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Einstein!!! Tell me something i dont know. Geez

Hey GTDog

September 8th, 2010
3:18 pm

Hey GTDog that will work assuming your win is not later vacated. :)

258DAWG

September 8th, 2010
3:19 pm

R X Dawg. I’ll talk X’s and O’s with you anytime.
we call a screen over 50% of the time on 3rd and long. the reason it isn’t working is defenses are well aware it’s coming, i’m sure you are too. I think we all can agree that a screen is called due to extra rushers coming on any given down to limit the time a QB would have to scan for options. Yes the most blitzed down is third down, but all im asking is when you know they are blitzing on first and second downs, mix in a few screens there as well. It will keep them more off balanced to when it is coming and maybe it might even work once or twice like they are intended to.
Another bit, UGA has a recent history of having fine TE’s that make big plays down the seam and across the middle on 3rd downs. Also dont forget how difficult it is to cover 10 yard curl routes of 3 + 6′4 WR’s.

SOUTHGADAWG88

September 8th, 2010
3:23 pm

Teams are going to find out real quick that stacking the box and playing AJ and TK straight up is suicide.

SavannahDawg

September 8th, 2010
3:25 pm

Those who doubt are running game weren’t watching the same game I was last weekend. Bobo rarely ran the two tight end set; the one time he did was on 2nd and 15 and we gained 8 yards. Look for the running game to be much better with both tight ends in the game; and our defense is gonna give Garcia fits!! I don’t think this one is going to be close, I think we win big!

Mr. Obvious

September 8th, 2010
3:26 pm

I know I’ll receive some criticism for this post, but THE SINGLE BIGGEST KEY to a Georgia win over South Carolina will be to somehow, someway, score more points. Nothing else really matters. But, as we’ve seen from Georgia the past two years, that’s easier said than done.

Evansdawg

September 8th, 2010
3:26 pm

I see it this way…If Carolina doesn’t win Saturday, they missed the window for the next 3-4 years. This is their best chance. New QB and a wet-behind-the-ears defense will cause some struggles in early SEC play. Its just the way it is. If the Dawgs win, Spurrier is gone after this season. Plus, I will take a team only beating us once every 5 years all the time! ;-)

Mr. Obvious

September 8th, 2010
3:28 pm

I mean, it’s all about the points. Who scores the most points determines the winner in at least 99.999% of the games, if not more, but it is the most overlooked stat in every sport, not just college football.

CPO Dawg

September 8th, 2010
3:31 pm

A lot of good points mentioned. Don`t ever uunderestimate the visor, he will have some plays up his sleeve designed just for the Dawgs, seems like he has a playbook just for them sometimes. I think if the defense can pressure Garcia into enough bad decisions and make him pay for it Spurrier will go to Shaw out of frustration. Those big recievers they have have got to be put in check. If anyone watched the bowl game South Carolina was in lasT year their pass game was shut down by UCONN’s secondary who was coached by UGA`S present DB Coach Lakatos, I`m sure he`s on this. It will be a tight game as usual, but as long as the Dawgs control the line of scrimmage(ON BOTH SIDES) and the defense puts SC`s Offense 3 and out consistently, have minimal if any penalties good things will happen GO DAWGS!!!!!

SOUTHGADAWG88

September 8th, 2010
3:49 pm

Boy…I just don’t get it…we have beaten these guys 7 out of the last 8,30 out of the last 40 and yet folks still worry about SC.I’m more concerned with ARK than SC.There is a sizable gap in talent between the two teams….always have been…this year is no different.

CHDawg

September 8th, 2010
3:58 pm

LHardingDawg

September 8th, 2010
4:04 pm

While I believe most of what I’ve read in this blog about running the ball, defensive pressure, and getting the ball to our wideouts is important. The one most important key to winning this game will be controling the clock. If Georgia keeps the ball for 35 minutes or more, we win. If SC controls the clock with Garcia and Latamore, they win. I would spend the first two quarters running the ball. We may have to punt a few times, but run the ball, make first downs, and win the field position game.

Tide roll

September 8th, 2010
4:17 pm

Here’s the key : Georgia’s over-rated offensive line and their inexcusable failure to sign CAM NEWTON !!!

Minnesota Dawg

September 8th, 2010
4:20 pm

My key to the game is that new defense and it’s coordinator. Hope they come out aggressive and take it to South Carolina. Let’s get back to that good ole fashion Georgia defense that we are known for! Also, establish a good running game to open up Murray for the passing game.

Minnesota Dawg

September 8th, 2010
4:24 pm

GA 31 and SC 21

DAWGMAN

September 8th, 2010
4:28 pm

You go, Obvious! Run the freaking ball. 3,4, and 5 yarders until the SC pre-game meals come a bubbling up. Pound those fine gentlemen.

Truthiness

September 8th, 2010
4:34 pm

SC by at least 10, possibly 14. UGA is becoming a team that plays up to its talent, but it’s not there yet, and such things don’t happen either quickly or by playing opponents such as last week’s. UGA will grow this Saturday into a better team, but the payoff is next year. There’ll be some speedbumps this year, and the first one is just around the corner.

Booby Dudd

September 8th, 2010
4:53 pm

All this talk of we need to do this and we need to do that is a no brainer. The real key to this game comes down to confidence, and not shooting ourselves in the foot. I am very sure of one thing and that is we have an overall superior team to S.C. The crowd will be our greatest threat. Steve wants this game bad, make no mistake about that. He is going to throw everything including the kitchen sink. I believe we will win this game, I also believe we have a team that could win by 2 t.d’s or more it all come down to not dropping 2 or 3 passes, and my hope is the stupid penalties are far, far, behind us. It’s so frustrating when we beat ourselves. We are loaded with play makers. Make the plays dawgs.

Dynamicbigboy

September 8th, 2010
4:59 pm

It amazes me. Lattimore rushes for 57 yards and Ace Sanders has one nice run of 53 yards and they are elevated to ALL EVERTHIN\G. Let’s wait and see a few games before we hand out the HEISMAN.

BAMA STAN

September 8th, 2010
5:01 pm

13 NATIONAL TITLES – 22 SEC TITLES!!!

This will be a great game!!

I am in UGA’s corner on this one – as UGA has the history of winning

IF UGA’s O-Line steps up – UGA will win.
USC will focus on the run – and will tight cover your WR’s / TE’s – as the often do. UGA will need to make some plays in order to make USC change this strategy.

UGA’s defense has got to pressure Garcia.

Should be a great game!

Gamec0ck Pete

September 8th, 2010
5:16 pm

HAHA HA … AJ aint cleared and the Mutts are skeered ! Puppies are going down Saturday ! BANK ON THAT !!!!!

Matty Ice Chernoff

September 8th, 2010
5:18 pm

No AJ & no QB, damn the Dawgs are gonna be hurtin, no woof woof!

TE's

September 8th, 2010
5:21 pm

They purposely keep away from passing to the TE’s the last game. Wait until you see what they have in-store for this week.

Booby Dudd

September 8th, 2010
5:26 pm

Gamec0ck Pete, I know you don’t actually believe what you are saying. The dogs are coming to town my friend and that usually means one in L collumn for the birds

Vote

September 8th, 2010
5:30 pm

AJG just another thUGA!!!! Please stop recruiting these types!

Booby Dudd

September 8th, 2010
5:41 pm

This could be turned for good guys. I think Ealey and some of our other game brakers will have extra gas in the tank and will be playing all day long, all day strong. We don’t need A.J. as much as alot of fans think he is a great player but we have enough talent to reload. We will be fine.

ARdawg

September 8th, 2010
5:52 pm

On offense it’s going to take balance and keeping that fast SC defense spread out and guessing. On defense (I agree with Dorsey 100%) Garcia and Jeffery must be contained, if we lose this game it will be because we didn’t rattle Garcia and he is easily rattled. SO MIss couldn’t get to him. Lattimore is going to be a fine back but this ain’t his break out week. I’m not seeing the high scores and I’m thankful Blair Walsh is a Dawg

RGP

September 8th, 2010
6:11 pm

Does anyone know the outcome of the USC inquiry with the tall USC kid?

Florida Dawg

September 8th, 2010
6:26 pm

Who did AJ sell his jersey too? Who is that person? Their name?

655Dawg

September 8th, 2010
8:06 pm

65 Dawg

September 8th, 2010
7:54 pm
A rule is a rule… something the Georgia players don’t understand and Richt does’t enforce.

Richt should dismiss Green from the team… that would get everyone’s attention. The Dawgs would not miss Green…Kris Durham looks mighty good

Mr. Obvious

September 8th, 2010
9:02 pm

Win the safety battle. Hey, two points is two points.

Billy B. (No, I'm not Bill King)

September 8th, 2010
9:18 pm

Keys to victory:
1. UGA must be NASTY!!
2.GATA on defense.
3.With #8 ineligible, the running game will not be much of a factor. So, Murray must make quick and precise decisions with the ball.
4. Throw to Carlton Thomas in the flats. A #30 sized shake and bake could be worthy of 6 (pending PAT) desperately needed points.
5. Orson Charles must have the game of his life!

Go Dawgs!!

UGA Guy

September 8th, 2010
9:25 pm

dogs will still win, and all these haters will be on the star treck blog.

Billy B. (No, I'm not Bill King)

September 8th, 2010
9:40 pm

Sorry if this double posts. Sent it the first time and it appeared as if the blog machine chewed up my words and digested them without placing my sentiments on the site. So, I’ll try again.

Mr. King,
What’s wrong with CFB? Only 1 thing. The answer ain’t the BCS. Not a bad guess though. The true answer is AGENTS. Will the NFL ever step up and suspend the licenses of men who deprive collegiate athletes of their eligibility?

And, what sanctions should Frank Gore face? Wasn’t Agent Gate 2010 located at his residence? I could be wrong. I ain’t exactly TMZ.

saban

September 8th, 2010
9:46 pm

Hear Richt is having the boys wear red panties and black uniforms.

Dawgs get a new daddy.

Dawg 39

September 8th, 2010
11:39 pm

Dawgs 17 – USCe 13.

Chuck UGA

September 9th, 2010
1:53 am

South Carolina will win this game. This is Spurrier’s best team, and Georgia has too many distractions as well as a general lack of discipline which has been a drag on the program for the last four years. If SC does not turn the ball over as they have multiple times in the past, they will win by double digits. There is a reason they are favored. Vegas is not stupid. Hopefully I am wrong and Ealey runs wild.

Never play the game

September 9th, 2010
7:56 am

Good post Bama #2; BUT our coach didn’t think pressure the punter is a big deal. We gave their coverage team down field “plenty of time” and right in the face of Branden Smith. Those fair catches will frustrate him one of this day, and what?. He will take off when he is not quite sure, then, their goes the rock. Watch the film geneous.

YF

September 9th, 2010
8:11 am

Let’s see who all hates the dog nation now?

1. NCAA Infraction Committee
2. Outback Bowl Selection Committee
3. Clarke County Trash Collectors
4. Clarke County Police
5. BCS Ranking Committee
6. ESPN Game Day Crew
7. Georgia Tech Fans
8. University of Florida Fans
9. Auburn University Fans
10. University of Tennessee Fans
11. South Carolina Fans
12. Clemson Fans
13. ALL Non SEC and most SEC Referees
14. All announcers not named Harry Munston
15. Kirby Smart’s Family
16. That agent that signed Hershal Walker to that USFL deal
17. Mainstream Media
18. Manager of Motel Six in Shreveport
19. Manager of Captain D’s in Shreveport
20. Yellow Fuzz

smart like a Fox

September 9th, 2010
8:38 am

thats a bunch of keys…….maybe if the ncaa sits 15 of their starters we have a chance.

robdawg08

September 9th, 2010
8:39 am

Quick slants to WR King will work. Having Ealey back at RB should be a big factor too. Can’t A.J. Green play if he appeals ?

robdawg08

September 9th, 2010
8:41 am

SC should be favored playing at home. It should be a very close and great game.