Georgia football: Why South Carolina will not upset the Dawgs in 2022

Sep 18, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) in action against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) in action against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Georgia football will travel to Williams Brice Stadium at high noon for a Week 3 matchup that has experts predicting an upset for the Dawgs. Hot takes are nothing new; everyone knows that Georgia shouldn’t get upset in Columbia, S.C.

Several SEC Media personalities think South Carolina has a chance, and it’s time for the Gamecocks to be respected. Anything can happen on any given Saturday in college football, but how much of a chance do they really have?

With their offensive line returning most of its starters, the Gamecocks are confident they can protect Spencer Rattler, a quarterback with tremendous potential that transferred from Oklahoma.

While getting someone like Rattler to run the offense is a huge positive, in reality, South Carolina has a big heap of issues to address if they’re looking to pull off the upset.

Georgia football will have to have a catastrophe happen for South Carolina to pull off an upset in Week 3.

According to PFF, in 2021, their offensive line finished near the bottom of the SEC in most key metrics. The Gamecocks ranked No. 6 among the SEC East teams by giving up 31 sacks.

South Carolina’s total offense ranked No.110, was No. 95 in passing and No. 93 in rushing offense. Their offensive drive efficiency, the scoring value gained or lost per drive, was a negative 0.72 and their touchdown per drive rate was roughly 18%.

To their credit, head coach Shane Beamer had to rely on a former graduate assistant, Zeb Noland, to start at quarterback for them in 2021. The Gamecocks showed tremendous grit to play as well as they did, but it’s not just the offense that limited them last year.

South Carolina’s defense had extremely mixed results last year. Their impressive passing defense held opponents to 180 yards per game, ranking them No.7 nationally. The rushing defense left a lot to be desired as the Gamecocks were No. 95 nationally by allowing opponents to rush for 4.69 yards a carry and gave up 179 yards per game.

To stop every version of Georgia’s offense, stopping the run is key and forcing them to throw often. The Dawgs’ offense is far too potent and showed that against the Gamecocks last year when Georgia racked up 491 yards of offense, averaging 7.4 yards a play.

Georgia returns most of those weapons it used against the Gamecocks, and while the Dawgs’ defense won’t be as dominant in 2022, the math doesn’t add up for anyone to think South Carolina would upset the Dawgs.

Sure, it’s in Columbia at Williams Brice Stadium, giving the Gamecocks a home-field advantage — Dawg fans travel well. The last time Georgia went to Williams Brice, the Dawgs left there with a 45-16 win despite the crowd noise and white towels.

So while Beamer is putting something interesting together in Columbia, S.C., year two won’t go the same way Georgia head coach Kirby Smart’s went. There is too much of a talent gap and depth situation for the Dawgs to screw this up.

The Gamecocks are someone we predicted could beat Georgia, but that would take the Dawgs losing in every phase of the game and a couple of miracles to go S.C.’s way. Georgia needs to stick to the game plan, play sound fundamental defense, win the rushing battle, and dominate the line of scrimmage like it has the past few years.

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South Carolina made major progress with big wins in 2021 and capitalized on it by using the transfer portal to add big names to their roster. All the additions have one thing in common — they will need help from the lines of scrimmage. The Gamecocks have to find a way to keep Georgia’s front seven from getting to Rattler, and for now, it looks like they will be coming up short.