Georgia Bulldogs: Dawgs-Gamecocks-100612

Gamecocks winning where it counts

October, 7, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Connor Shaw could see it in the Georgia players’ eyes on South Carolina’s first touchdown drive.

A few minutes later, it was even more obvious to Marcus Lattimore after the Gamecocks drove it right down the Bulldogs’ throats for their second touchdown in as many possessions.

“They were shell-shocked. We hit them in the mouth, and they weren’t ready for it,” Lattimore said.

Nope, not even close.

But in Georgia’s defense, it’s debatable whether anybody in college football would have been ready for what the Gamecocks unleashed Saturday night on the No. 5 Bulldogs in a 35-7 bludgeoning at Williams-Brice Stadium that sent a clear message about the shifting balance of power in the SEC.

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Gamecocks D-line dominates throughout

October, 7, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Georgia offensive line coach Will Friend was careful to point out throughout the Bulldogs’ early-season offensive successes that his rebuilding group still had a lot of progress to make before he would call it a dominant unit.

South Carolina’s defensive front showed why Friend tried to temper the enthusiasm about his players, as the Gamecocks completely controlled the line of scrimmage en route to a 35-7 victory.

“I didn’t see us, especially in the first half, being able to generate a drive because their front was whipping us,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt, whose team fell behind 21-0 in the game’s first 10 minutes. “So you hope to make a play here and there to change the momentum of the game and we just couldn’t get it done.”

They couldn’t get it done because a previously dominant running game ran into a brick wall. Freshman Todd Gurley, who came in as the SEC’s leading rusher, broke a 15-yard run on his first carry and never got another one that long. He finished with 13 carries for 39 yards, while fellow freshman sensation Keith Marshall ran 12 times for 37 yards.

Ken Malcome actually led the Bulldogs with 45 rushing yards on five carries, including their only score -- a 3-yard run when the game was already well out of reach -- on a night that was otherwise a disaster in every way for the Bulldogs’ previously high-scoring offense.

The Bulldogs finished with seven points and 224 total yards -- 41 points and 312 yards below their per-game averages -- thanks in large part to do much of anything at all early in posssessions.

“They’re very talented, especially in their front four, but I think we killed ourselves with too many third-and-longs,” Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said. “When you’re in third-and-long and they know you have to throw the ball, those ends can gear up and that whole defensive line -- every defense does that.

“That’s a goal of every defense is to get third-and-long and put the offense in a passing situation and let their front four do work. That’s our problem. We put ourselves in that situation. We need to do better on first and second down in order to not let that happen.”

And it wasn’t just South Carolina’s star defensive ends, Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor, who made plays. Defensive end Chaz Sutton had one of the Gamecocks’ two sacks -- Clowney had the other -- and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles deflected a Murray pass that resulted in the game’s only turnover, a first-quarter interception by DeVonte Holloman.

“The front five, it was all of us that were making mistakes and not getting the job done,” Georgia right guard Chris Burnette said. “We definitely want to make sure that we can figure out those issues and try to fix them for the next game.”

The Bulldogs knew coming in that South Carolina’s deep and talented defensive front would create the greatest challenge they’d faced yet. After the Gamecocks dominated the line of scrimmage throughout, Richt acknowledged that they were as good as advertised.

“Their defense the entire night just took care of business,” Richt said. “We’ve got to give them a lot of credit. We got the consolation touchdown at the end just so we didn’t get the goose egg, but they whipped us pretty good.”

Shaw picks apart UGA defense early

October, 7, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Planning to contain South Carolina’s dual-threat quarterback Connor Shaw and actually doing it are two very different things.

[+] EnlargeConnor Shaw
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesQuarterback Connor Shaw was just elusive enough to keep the Gamecocks out of Georgia's reach.
Georgia learned that on Saturday night as Shaw’s running and throwing ability allowed the No. 6 Gamecocks to easily drive for touchdowns on their first two possessions en route to a crucial 35-7 win against the fifth-ranked Bulldogs.

“He played an outstanding game,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “We did nothing to make it tough on him as far as decision-making or to have to drop back and throw and make a bunch of plays that way. They threw when they wanted to throw.”

The Gamecocks came out wanting to throw, and Shaw got the job done, completing 5 of 7 passes for 100 yards in the first quarter, including a 42-yard bomb to Damiere Byrd where the receiver made an acrobatic catch by snatching the ball away from Bulldogs safety Bacarri Rambo. That set up a 20-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington moments later.

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It was billed as a clash of heavyweights between top contenders for the SEC East title and a stepping stone to a possible national championship run. South Carolina got the memo, but someone forgot to remind Georgia of those implications, as the Gamecocks cruised to a 35-7 win and their third consecutive victory against the Bulldogs in an utter demolition.

Here's the story from Columbia, S.C.:

It was over when: South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw hit wide receiver D.L. Moore for a 62-yard gain on third-and-11 early in the third quarter. Moore slipped behind the Georgia secondary and fought tacklers all the way to the Bulldogs' 1-yard line. Running back Marcus Lattimore plunged into the end zone on the next play to give the Gamecocks a 28-0 lead.

Game ball: South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was an unblockable monster for a defense that held Georgia to 224 yards and seven points. Clowney registered one sack, and he consistently drew double teams that freed up his comrades on the defensive front to terrorize Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.

Game ball, part II: Shaw's numbers don't pop off the page, but he continues to do a little bit of everything -- making him a nightmare for opposing defenses to keep in check. Shaw completed 6 of 10 passes for 162 and a pair of scores, and he rushed 14 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. Better yet, he didn't commit any turnovers.

Key stat: Murray came into the game averaging 275 passing yards per game, yet he completed only 11 passes for 109 yards. The freshman running back duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, who combined for 294 rushing yards and five touchdowns last week against Tennessee, managed just 76 total yards against the Gamecocks defense.

Hot start: The Gamecocks delivered the bulk of their damage right at the start in what was an electric atmosphere at Williams-Brice Stadium. South Carolina took the opening kickoff and marched 76 yards to a touchdown in just five plays. The South Carolina defense forced a Georgia three-and-out, and the Gamecocks went on a 69-yard march for an early 14-0 lead. The Bulldogs' second drive again took just three plays, only this time the Bulldogs' punt was returned 70 yards to the end zone by South Carolina wide receiver Ace Sanders.

The Gamecocks built a 21-0 lead 10 minutes into the first quarter of play, and they didn't look back.

What it means: South Carolina joins Florida as Saturday's big winners after both programs notched statement wins. Their Oct. 20 showdown in Gainesville, Fla., could go a long way in deciding the SEC East race, but the Gamecocks must first deal with next week's trip to Baton Rouge to face a talented LSU team. Georgia is now behind the Gamecocks in the race to Atlanta, but the Bulldogs have only one ranked team left on the schedule. It wouldn't be the first time Georgia lost the meeting with South Carolina and still found a way to win the East; it happened last fall.

Ogletree gets his shot at Gamecocks

October, 6, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. – It’s been well-chronicled how much success South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore has had running the ball against Georgia’s defense the last two seasons.

He’s combined for 358 rushing yards and three touchdowns and has had more than 150 of those yards in the fourth quarter.

But whereas Alec Ogletree didn’t play at all in one of those games and sparingly in the other, he’ll be in the middle of that Georgia defense Saturday at his inside linebacker spot.

The Bulldogs think Ogletree will make a big difference against the Gamecocks’ running game. He was injured and didn’t play last season. And two years ago, he was a freshman safety playing in his first college game.

This is a different Georgia defense with Ogletree in the middle. He’s probably the Bulldogs’ second-best defender behind outside linebacker Jarvis Jones.

Ogletree should also be a lot better Saturday than he was last week against Tennessee, which was his first game back after a four-game suspension.


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California, Florida and Texas are largely considered the "Big Three" in college football recruiting. But national recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton joins ESPN's Phil Murphy to explain why Georgia deserves to be in the top tier and has numbers to prove it.