Countdown begins to Georgia-South Carolina showdown; Gamecocks favored

It has all the trappings of a mega-game: two undefeated teams that are among the nation’s top half-dozen in the polls, a team that has scored 48.2 points per game vs. a team that has allowed 11.2, the early lead in the SEC East at stake.

The countdown is on for No. 5 Georgia, the offensive juggernaut, vs. No. 6 South Carolina, the defensive juggernaut, Saturday night in Columbia, S.C. Both teams are 5-0 (3-0 SEC).

“It’s a huge game,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday. “We all know it.”

“It’s a big, big game,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said, “when you’re playing this deep into the conference season and you’ve got two undefeateds.”

Validating the game’s marquee status, ESPN announced that its “College GameDay” show – the popular three-hour preview program – will air from the South Carolina campus Saturday morning.

“The last time they were here [was when] we played Alabama two years ago,” Spurrier said. “Obviously that was one of the best days in Carolina football history, first time we had ever beat a No. 1 team.

“So [the show] adds to the importance of the game. It sort of lets the world know, the country know, ‘Hey, South Carolina football is pretty good.’ We’re not quite where we want to be yet, but we’re up there amongst them, and hopefully we can keep pushing on.”

Depending on the outcome of Saturday’s Florida-LSU game, the Georgia-South Carolina winner will lead the SEC East outright or be tied with the Gators for first place.

The Gamecocks opened as a 2 1/2-point favorite, according to vegasinsider.com.

Defensively, the game will feature two of the SEC’s more acclaimed players, Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones and South Carolina end Jadeveon Clowney. Offensively, it will feature three of the SEC’s top seven rushers: Georgia freshman Todd Gurley, who leads the league with 107.2 yards per game; South Carolina junior Marcus Lattimore, sixth in the league at 88 yards per game; and Georgia freshman Keith Marshall, seventh at 85.6.

Lattimore has gained 358 yards on 64 carries against Georgia the past two seasons – 182 yards on 37 carries as a freshman in 2010, 176 yards on 27 carries last season. Lattimore returned this season after missing the final six games last year with a knee injury.

Asked Sunday if Lattimore is back to pre-injury form, Spurrier said: “I hope he’s where he was when he ran against Georgia two years ago. That’s where I hope he is because that was sort of his coming-out day here at Williams-Brice [Stadium]. … I think he’s close to being just as good as he has ever been. I think he tells people, ‘Not quite where I was, but I’ll get there real soon.’”

Georgia is coming off a wild 51-44 victory over Tennessee. The Bulldogs’ offense piled up 560 yards but committed three turnovers, while their defense gave up 478 yards but forced four turnovers, including three in the final six minutes. Spurrier’s impression after watching highlights of the game: “A lot of long runs by those Bulldog freshmen.”

South Carolina, meanwhile, is coming off a 38-17 victory at Kentucky. The Gamecocks trailed 17-7 at halftime but dominated the second half behind stellar defense and Lattimore’s running.

“They’ve beaten us the last two years,” Richt said, “so we’ve got something to prove.”

Etc.

On his Sunday evening teleconference, Richt said he was happy with the defensive plays the Bulldogs made near the end of the Tennessee game but unhappy about the offense’s inability to “knock out a first down when we needed it the most to try to take [the] drama out of it at the very end.”  Said Richt:  “One thing we’ve got to improve on is our ability to get a couple of first downs at the end of a ballgame, force people to use some timeouts and run some clock. We just really haven’t done a good job of that in recent memory.” …  Richt on Lattimore: “He does seem to play even better as the game wears on.” … Richt on South Carolina defensive ends Clowney and Devin Taylor: “They’re  super tall [6-6 and 6-8, respectively] and athletic; they have outstanding technique; they are  much more physical against the run than they were a year ago. They’re really complete players now, and there are two of them.” … This is the first season since South Carolina joined the SEC in 1992 that the Gamecocks were not the Bulldogs’ opening league opponent. “I think the biggest difference [in facing the Gamecocks later] is that we’ll be watching this year’s film instead of last year’s film,” Richt said.

276 comments Add your comment

jarvis jones

September 30th, 2012
7:19 pm

First! Go Dawgs!

Chrome Dizzle

September 30th, 2012
7:19 pm

Hank Hill

September 30th, 2012
7:31 pm

Go Dawgs! I want to see three visor throws before halftime.

Salty Dawg

September 30th, 2012
7:33 pm

The defense has got to play better or we lose this game. I believe they are up to the task. It will be rocking in Columbia; I can’t wait!

If we hold onto the ball, we win by 7. Three turn overs in this game in the Dawgs lose.

This is what SEC football is all about. We will find out if Richt, Murray, and Bobo can win a top 10 match up again. It’s been too long.

If Richt and Bobo can’t find a way to coach these boys up for this one, it is never going to happen.

Just my opinion…Go Dawgs!

Boris

September 30th, 2012
7:36 pm

Hey, coach, maybe if you have your OC not call predictable runs up the middle when the whole world knows you’re trying to kill some clock you’ll be more effective at getting that first down or two. Just a suggestion.

mike addington

September 30th, 2012
7:37 pm

I just have a hard time swallowing that SC is as good as DAWGS, but maybe they are. that’s what folks say anyhow. We’ve outplayed them ‘cept for turnovers the last 2 years, but I hope you-know-who doesn’t have his characteristically bad big-game performances. Like 2 C some Junkyard D

Tampa Gator

September 30th, 2012
7:48 pm

I think Theus is going to have a very challenging time stopping Taylor at DE….he better get some help…and that would take a TE out of the passing game. Of course, Clowney is extraordinary on the other side. Georgia has to come out and run the ball….in my opinion. And they can really run the ball as well as anyone with Gurley and Marshall (I refuse to use that stupid nickname).

I really think LSU has been holding back and will come out with a much better offense in THE SWAMP. Big challenge for the Gators. If Driskel steps up and avoids making errors, the Gators have a shot. The SWAMP will be loud….wish it was a night game on ESPN and Georgia was on CBS.

t

September 30th, 2012
7:53 pm

Will be on the 50 – love Coach Richt!!!! http://www.wedgeorgia.com

Tampa Gator

September 30th, 2012
7:56 pm

additngton……

According to the most recent AP poll….they are not as good as Georgia….Georgia #5 and South Carolina #6. But Georgia will have the opportunity that they deserve to be ranked higher. And Florida will have the opportunity to prove that they deserve to be ranked in the top 10….and a serious challenger for the Eastern division and SEC titles.

Tampa Hator

September 30th, 2012
8:05 pm

Your views are logical in the fact that Theus will have to block better and the D-fence needs to play better, but who cares about LSU&UF this is a UGA blog go and talk to your Florida buddies… This is Dawg Country and we don’t care about Gators, give us a couple of weeks and we can talk some smack…

chilidawg

September 30th, 2012
8:07 pm

Well, the good thing about the Tennesee game is that we will not be overconfident heading into Columbia. Do the work, guys!

JB

September 30th, 2012
8:07 pm

If I’m Spurrier after watching us play Tenn on tape, I’m running Lattimore between the tackles until we prove we can stop it. Tenn. ran it down our throat Saturday. didn’t see us stuff a run all day. Here’s hoping the D was caught peeking to this week.

JB

September 30th, 2012
8:10 pm

Also, they will stunt blitz around Theus every play. The freshman looked it Sat. night.

RaceCityDawg

September 30th, 2012
8:12 pm

What I want to know is what has happened to all those fuzzie buzzie GT nerds who use to come here and run there mouths

JB

September 30th, 2012
8:13 pm

The nerves will be on both sides. Carolina has the home edge and the Spurrier edge. Yes, I hate to say it, but he’s a better game day coach than Richt. Spurrier keeps the peddle on for 60 minutes. Richt goes into a shell in a tight ball game and won’t let Murray do anything but Vanilla hand off. Y’all know it’s true.

Coach Johnson

September 30th, 2012
8:14 pm

JB

September 30th, 2012
8:15 pm

I’m worried about stopping Lattimore Saturday. They gotta stop us also

Tampa Hator

September 30th, 2012
8:18 pm

UGA has a chance to run the table??? If they get thier crap together and play to thier potential. USC&UF is all that stands in thier way the athlete’s on both sides of the football are better than everyone in the SEC besides Alabama… No one can argue that even you Tampa Gator. By the way I like the stupid nickname GURSHALL-GURSHALL-GURSHALL!!!!! These guys are foreal………

JB

September 30th, 2012
8:18 pm

Does anyone know why Murray on a running play holds the ball chest high,stretched out with both hands for like 2 seconds for the RB to take….and for the entire defense to see?

JB

September 30th, 2012
8:20 pm

The Gurshall’s WILL be a problem for any team to handle this year…….2 reasons. They ARE good and the line is run blocking better than they have in 3-4 years.

kydawg

September 30th, 2012
8:20 pm

Murray’s opportunity to shut people up; hope the Dawgs win big, but I don’t feel too good about it only because when the teams are this even…Sprurrier breaks the tie / better coach (hope I’m bad wrong)

JB

September 30th, 2012
8:22 pm

Kydawg…..If our D shows up, Dawgs win. If the D shows up from Saturday….all bets are off.

Avery

September 30th, 2012
8:23 pm

UGA reminds me of the Auburn team Newton led a couple years back. Auburn just outscored ya. And their defense, which was pretty bad, came up big when it counted, and shut you down in the 4th quarter. Fairley usually showed up at the right time, much the same way Jarvis did against Mizzou. The Murray–Gurshel combo, is a suitable replacement for Newton.

As long as we keep scoring 50, and get stops in the 4th when it counts, no one stoppin this team.

Avery

September 30th, 2012
8:25 pm

You wonder if Latitmore’s knee buckles after a few tough tackles from Commings and Rambo and Williams?

And will Shaw’s shoulder hold up if he takes off running, only to be slammed to the turf by Ogletree and Jarvis?

The game could turn quickly if one of those 2 injuries resurface.

Avery

September 30th, 2012
8:28 pm

I have a feeling the plan will be to hit Latitmore low to bring him down, he’s a very tough guy to bring down, so SC better hope that kneww is for real.

I am pretty sure Connor Shaw has not faced as violent of tacklers as Ogletree, Commings, Rambo and Shawn Williams. He’s going to be hit early and often, shoulder high.

JB

September 30th, 2012
8:29 pm

I read where Bray of Tenn is almost impossible to sack due to throwing on his heels and even backing up vs setting to throw. Shaw, not so much. Gonna be a great game….kinda like Bama and LSU playing, only the East.

Avery

September 30th, 2012
8:29 pm

Spurrier claming the Dawgs are “scoring too fast to give the defense any rest”.

Yeah, so did Auburn with Cam Newton in 2010.

Worked out ok that year.

JB

September 30th, 2012
8:31 pm

Carolina’s DL and LB’s will be far the best we’ve seen…..Maybe the best we see all year. Their secondary is suspect.

Tampa Gator

September 30th, 2012
8:34 pm

Hator…..

The article mentioned the LSU vs. Florida game. Suggestion……go hate someone else.

Beast from the East

September 30th, 2012
8:35 pm

Hoping for injury? Very classy.

Avery

September 30th, 2012
8:36 pm

Look for some max protect, to give TK & Mitchell tiem to get deep against those weak DB’s, been waiting to see how SC’s weak DB’s TRY and matchup to UGA’s WR’s all season. That should be the matchup of the game.

Also, look for the UGA TE’s to have a field day with undersized SC LB’s trying to cover these 2 behemoth 6′6” 250 lb TE’s that catch everything thrown their way.

Lattimore 3.0 is all right this year, but he won’t outrun Gurshall.

Avery

September 30th, 2012
8:39 pm

Just sayin SC is gimpy at RB & QB, and they have not faced tacklers as voilent as UGA. So if they’re 100%, great, if not, it will show.

JB

September 30th, 2012
8:41 pm

Just came from the Carolina messageboards. We might as well not play. They think they are the New Bama…….Yet their football trophy case is empty. They say we will come in and play dirty and go after Shaw’s shoulder and Lattimore’s knees….. Geez, really

Greenville cock and fire

September 30th, 2012
8:43 pm

bring on them hairy dogs if it came between the russians and georgia I pull for the russians. Georgia fans are the worst that I have ever seen, lets run there ass back to clarke county

Greenville cock and fire

September 30th, 2012
8:46 pm

hey avery you better look out for our tight end 6-6 265, i say we have some good linebackers, and some good safetys. we gonna crack some dogs sat nite

ZinoDawg

September 30th, 2012
8:56 pm

@Greenville – we are shaking man. Very scared of you chickens. I would be surprised if we even get off the bus.

Richard Samuel

September 30th, 2012
8:56 pm

I will stay back to help Theus block the SC DEs and we will be fine.

Goooooooooooooooooooo Dogs.

I agree. If we cannot win this game, then SC has truly passed UGA by with S Spurrier and UGA will have taken a step backward under CMR and we will need to really grasp this fact at season’s end.

Dawg1

September 30th, 2012
8:59 pm

I believe Florida beats LSU straight up.

I believe Florida will be South Carolina straight up.

I believe Georgia beats South Carolina staright up.

Jax has the potential to be one of the biggest games in college football this year.

CHDawg

September 30th, 2012
9:01 pm

Guys, on the play calling…our offense is averaging about 12 miles a game. Outside of pulling the foot off the gas here and there, Bobo and the offense are doing beyond great so far; let’s support them. SC is a great team, so we will need a mistake free and inspired game to fry up some chickens Saturday night! On the D…this is almost the exact same group as last year. The one hole is Boykin and corner. Hopefully, we get back in last year’s best form soon.

CHDawg

September 30th, 2012
9:04 pm

I think the Gators can beat the Tigers Saturday, but LSU has always been on/off under Miles. They have great athletes, and are capable of beating anybody. That game may come down to mistakes and big plays. Great weekend for SEC football.

Avery

September 30th, 2012
9:15 pm

Spurrier crowed a lot last year before the game, and we put up 42 points on their defense, that was WITHOUT Marhsall, WITHOUT GURLEY, I’m thinking of UGA laying bout 60 on the Gamecocks. Then the UGA D only has to hold SC to50 points or so to get the “W”.

Avery

September 30th, 2012
9:18 pm

SC was 1 yard away from being down halftime 24-7 to KENTUCKY!!

Imagine what the UGA offense will do to their sorry defense if Kentucky put 17 on them in the first half.

Avery

September 30th, 2012
9:20 pm

Ark whooped SC in 2010 & 2011 putting up 40+ points per game by going to the air.

Look for Bobo to be studying those videos.

7576DAWG

September 30th, 2012
9:26 pm

Last year and this year we lost or nearly lose games in the fourth Quarter because Bobo go into the conservative mode and runs on first and second down. Then we pass on third but every team knows to blitz everybody usually they get a sac or we throw it incomplete. The end result has been 3 and out. That is how we got beat at least 2 times last year and nearly lost 2 others. Now the same thing happened with Tennessee.
Richt needs to play the fourth quarter like he does the other three quarters. We should be throwing the ball maybe 7 or 8 yards on first , then run for a first down . Richt wants more first downs late in the game he needs to make Bobo run the Offense the same way for 60 minutes.

Resident Georgia Fan

September 30th, 2012
9:35 pm

Lattimore’s new name is Lattiless cause he ain’t the same anymore.

jocrazy

September 30th, 2012
9:36 pm

i hate u bobo u were so much better when we could not score our defense got rest u big dummy

MaconKnight

September 30th, 2012
9:37 pm

Carolina just doesnt have enough weapons to beat UGA this year the wideouts have not really been asked to make plays like they did with jeffey last year. With the game being moved from the conference opener to the 4th game of the year is really big for UGA. Also Carolina’s defense has not faced an offense like UGA’s we want to be balance aganist this team if we go up by 17 points are more they will have to put the game in shaw’s hand and i dont believe that shaw can lead them back. Our defense must limit lattimore and keep shaw in the pocket and not let him scramble. Dawgs win but it will take a complete team effort!

Avery

September 30th, 2012
9:42 pm

2010 Natl Champ Auburn Tigers averaged 500 yards epr game, 41 points per game, and 280 rushing per game.

2012 UGA is averaging 538 yards per game, 48 points per game, 250 rushing per game.

You just can’t stop this UGA offense.

Pj

September 30th, 2012
9:49 pm

Key to the game: Murray gets tipped a lot. South Carolina has DE’s who are 6′6″ and 6′8″. That looks to be a big problem. We better run well.

Paul in St Auggy

September 30th, 2012
9:55 pm

Avery your comments are bold and borderline stupid. Im as big a dawg fan as any but do you really think our guys are “going after” Shaw and Lattimore particularly after 2 years of Lattimore shredding us and our guys bouncing off his thighs as if they were made of steel?? You seem to think our D is Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain when in reality they barely survived last week and giving up 478 yds to a UT team that hasnt been over 100 yds rushing against a D1 school in 2 years. SC is good, very good, and I think you better come back down to earth, the Dawgs have their work cut out for them. By the way, SC woke up in the 2nd half and outscored KY 31-0