South Carolina Week is Always Big for Georgia Football


No matter the records, South Carolina week is always a big one for the Georgia football team.

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It doesn’t matter that the Georgia Bulldogs are standing at 2-0 and more importantly, 1-0, in Southeastern Conference play. It’s South Carolina week, and records don’t matter in this annual conflict for the Georgia football team.

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South Carolina is at 1-1 on the year after a 17-13 win over North Carolina and a 26-22 loss to Kentucky to open SEC play.

The loss to Kentucky was shocking as it ended a 22-game road losing streak for the Wildcats. South Carolina also lost starting quarterback Connor Mitch in the contest.

Even with all of that going against them in their conference opener, Georgia coach Mark Richt takes it all in stride.

In a transcript provided by the UGA Sports Communication office, Richt said in his Tuesday news conference, “(South Carolina is a) team that’s always well-coached by Coach (Steve) Spurrier, we know that. They have got 27 players from the state of Georgia, which is pretty typical in our league. Just about everybody’s got a bunch from our state. We have such a great state for football. Our coaches, high school coaches are really tremendous. Coach Spurrier is obviously one of the winningest coaches in the history of the league and a great coach and will provide a great challenge for us as a staff to get our guys ready as he gets his ready.”

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With Mitch out, South Carolina will rely on Perry Orth as the team’s starting quarterback. Orth went from being a walk-on to earning a scholarship and the starting job.

Asked about Orth, Spurrier said, according to the South Carolina website, “He’s a mature young man. He throws a nice pass as you can see, when he takes his steps and gets protection and throws it he can throw a beautiful pass. He’s been here, what, three years now, earned a scholarship preseason, so if we can protect him and get some guys open he’s very capable.”

Richt said Orth will provide a challenge for the Georgia defense.

“I guess you would start with the quarterback. No. 10, (Perry) Orth is a guy who apparently got a scholarship going into this season, was a walk-on. But you heard (Connor) Mitch got hurt and you didn’t really know what happened from there really. You just got word of it. Then you watch the film and both those quarterbacks actually played pretty well. But Orth came in, hit 13 out of 20 for about 180 yards and hit 65 percent of his passes and he looked good doing it. Athletic guy, tough guy. A guy that we’ll have to contend with as far as a runner. He’s got some good wheels on him and will provide a great challenge for our defense at the quarterback position.”

South Carolina will have to contend with Georgia Heisman Trophy candidate Nick Chubb.

After a 19 carry, 189 yard performance against Vanderbilt, Chubb has rushed for 309 yards on 35 carries in two games.

Quarterback Greyson Lambert had struggles against Vanderbilt. His stats for the year see him completing 19 of 33 passes for 257 yards. He has two touchdown passes on the year, and has yet to be intercepted. He also has been only sacked once this year.

Even though critics have said Georgia is struggling with its’ passing game, Chubb feels different.

At the Tuesday press conference, Chubb said, “We can throw the ball, it was just game two and we’re trying to get used to things. We just have to get settled in. There were a lot of protection things that we messed up on. We didn’t give him (Greyson Lambert) enough time and he was under pressure sometimes. It’s an overall team effort. We looked good yesterday (Monday) so we have to keep working to get better.”

Georgia has lost four of its’ last five meetings against the Gamecocks. Those losses may have cost Georgia spots in the SEC Championship Game last year, such as last year’s 38-35 loss. That loss and a setback against Florida kept Georgia from the being the SEC East champion as Missouri won the title even though the Tigers were defeated 34-0 by Georgia.

Even with all of that, Richt said, “We’re not thinking much about the rivalry. We’re not thinking much about what happened last year or in the past years as much as really are trying to focus on getting better. There’s just so many areas we’ve got to get better. We knew when that game was over against Vanderbilt, there were some things we did really well. We had a team meeting in here. I showed three plays, offensively, things that we did extremely well throughout the season so far and three things that weren’t so good. Same thing on defense and same thing on special teams, just kind of challenged the guys that when we do it right, we’re pretty good. When we don’t, we put ourselves at risk as a team. So our focus is trying to improve, trying to know what to do, know how to do it and add a lot of energy to that. That’s really all we can ask of our guys. But as far as what we might learn, any time you’re in games that are highly contested and are usually close games, you learn a lot about guys in crunch time.”

Game time is 6 p.m. Saturday. The contest will be broadcast on ESPN.

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