Georgia Bulldogs Game 2 Preview: South Carolina Gamecocks


The second game of the 2014 Georgia Bulldogs football season is here, with UGA traveling up to Columbia, S.C. to take on their first SEC opponent of the season, the South Carolina Gamecocks, and their old friend Steve Spurrier.

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Date: 9/13/2014
Kickoff Time: 3:30 pm
Venue: Williams-Brice Stadium – Columbia, S.C.
Series Record: Georgia leads, 47–17–2
Last Meeting: Sept 7, 2013, Georgia 41, South Carolina 30
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network from IMG; SiriusXM Ch. 91
Internet Stream: GTV on

The No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs are ready to open conference play against the No. 24 South Carolina Gamecocks. This is the third year in a row that both teams have been ranked in the Top 25 when meeting. The Gamecocks have won five out of eight games when both teams are ranked.

But Georgia comes in feeling confident after their opener against the Clemson Tigers that turned into a 45-21 rout, while South Carolina has to be mentally weary of the Dawgs, dropping their first game in horrific fashion to Texas A&M 55-28, and then needing a late comeback to beat the East Carolina Pirates, 33-23.

Both coaches have stressed the importance of this game, which could end up deciding who wins the SEC East.

Keys to the game:

For South Carolina, the big key has to be defense. They gave up 55 points to a Texas A&M offense that was supposed to sputter without Johnny Manziel, and then 23 points to a much lesser East Carolina team.

In particular the Gamecocks have looked very weak against the pass, which means that Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason will have to show that he can push the ball downfield in the air to exploit a pass defense that has given up 832 passing yards in their first two games.

Carolina is sure to try and stack to box to stop Todd Gurley and the other Georgia tailbacks, so Mason will have to use his ability to find receivers and make the Gamecock linebackers drop back to help in pass coverage. This will give Gurley, Keith Marshall and Nick Chubb the holes and open space they need to make big plays.

Georgia is going to have to be weary of overconfidence, particularly on defense. Stopping South Carolina running back Mike Davis is the foremost concern, but that will mean having to make sure that the Bulldog secondary is able to handle man coverage and blitz packages that could leave them exposed.

The big X-factor in this game is going to be Hutson Mason. The Bulldogs haven’t really had to rely on him to take a game and put it on his shoulders, and that might be the case this week against the Gamecocks. If the passing game struggles, it might be tough slugging for Georgia.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

Georgia’s biggest strength is obviously the running game. Carolina is going to do their best to attempt to shut it down, but even putting eight men in the box will probably not be enough to stop Gurley and company from putting up some good numbers. If Mason can loosen up the defense by passing, you could see some record rushing numbers going up on Saturday.

The weaknesses are more questions rather than things that have been exposed. Was Georgia’s defense in the second half against Clemson what we can expect to see this week? Was it a fluke? Can Hutson Mason deliver when the pressure is on him to move the chains in the air? All things that we really don’t know that could be the undoing of Georgia.

Aug 28, 2014; Columbia, SC, USA; Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver

Ricky Seals-Jones

(9) makes a reception over South Carolina Gamecocks safety

Chris Moody

(6) in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit:

Jeff Blake


Like the Bulldogs, South Carolina has their strength in running the ball and keeping the other team’s offense off the field. They use Mike Davis as their bell cow, but if he goes out, it’s been already shown that their running game takes a huge step back. The Gamecocks don’t have anywhere near the depth at RB that Georgia does.

The biggest weakness for the Gamecocks is their secondary. They look sloppy and out of position, and frankly, just unable to keep up with even the most average speed in a receiver. Chris Conley and Michael Bennett could really have big days against this weak group of defensive backs.


As close as this game has been in years past, it may be over by halftime this year. Georgia just has too many weapons, and Hutson Mason will likely have his coming out party against this secondary. Georgia by 14, and make it 21 or more if Mike Davis leaves the game injured at any point.