Georgia Bulldogs fail in uncharacteristic ways, lose SEC opener to South Carolina


The Georgia Bulldogs defense that everyone thought would show up was nowhere to be seen, and the South Carolina offense that hadn’t been seen all year made an appearance as the Gamecocks pulled out a huge win over UGA, 38-35.

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After a nearly 90-minute delay due to lightning, Georgia and South Carolina strapped up and put on a show of offense on both sides.

There’s a very simple recap to this game, and that’s for the most part Georgia had no answers for South Carolina when the Gamecocks had the ball, and even when they did, they couldn’t capitalize on Gamecocks mistakes.

The Gamecocks did exactly as everyone expected and stacked up the box in an attempt to slow down Todd Gurley, and while he did manage to pick up 131 yards on 20 carries, he wasn’t the game-changer that he was against Clemson two weeks ago (that is if you don’t count the 57-yard touchdown run that was negated by a very questionable holding call).

What Georgia didn’t do was get the ball downfield to the wide receivers often enough. Bulldogs quarterback Hutson Mason didn’t have a horrible game, going 16-for-22, 191 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t a “get on my back guys” kind of performance

Georgia’s defense was nowhere nears as effective in either half as they were against Clemson in the second half two weeks ago, giving up 447 total yards, with 271 of them coming in the air.

But there were two things in this game that Bulldog fans wouldn’t have expected to implode that did, and that’s what cost Georgia a crucial conference game.

Placekicker Marshall Morgan — who made his first two field goals of the night, hitting his 19th and 20th consecutive kicks (an SEC record) — missed his second two kicks, one by the slimmest of margins, and that would have been the difference in the 38-35 score.

The other huge factor was where Georgia typically makes their living – down on the goal line.

Defensive back Damian Swann intercepted a Dylan Thompson pass with just over five minutes to go in the game, and took the ball down to the 8-yard line, then having it moved up to the 4-yard line after a Gamecocks penalty on the play.

You get the ball that close, and it’s Gurley time…every time. But offensive coordinator Mike Bobo may have outsmarted himself, calling for a pass play which was well-defended, ending up in an intentional grounding call which put the ball back to the 14-yard line and caused a loss of down.

Then Georgia handed the ball to Gurley, netting only a few yards, and then another incomplete pass closed out the failed goalline drive. This led to Marshall Morgan’s second missed field goal.

Coach Bobo – dance with the girl who brought you, that’s all we’ll say.

It was one of those game where a little better play by the defense, and normal play from the special teams would have netted a Georgia victory.