The experts who predicted upsets for Georgia football haven’t said much since the opening week performance against Oregon. Hot takes are nothing new, but it has been quite some time since we’ve heard that the Gamecocks will shock Georgia at Williams-Brice Stadium.
If you don’t remember, several SEC media personalities thought that a combination of new skill players and quarterback Spencer Rattler could be just the thing they needed to make a splash in the SEC East. On Paul Finebaum’s Show, the SEC Football Podcast said just that this summer.
They firmly believed it would be the year that South Carolina dethroned Georgia in the East, but they were sadly mistaken.
Georgia football proved the experts wrong with their atrocious preseason takes.
Rattler’s presence on the roster has helped slightly, but without much support on the offensive line, things have been feast or famine. Georgia State was able to keep up with head coach Shane Beamer’s team for their home opener for the starting half, which raised a lot of red flags. The Arkansas game showed us that this issue isn’t going away anytime soon.
Against the Razorbacks, South Carolina gave up six sacks and numerous quarterback pressures. Rattler has been forced to boot out, work the pocket and hope for the best on most of his drop backs. The Gamecocks are desperately trying to get their skill players out in space. There are several weapons noteworthy weapons on this squad, like A.Wells Jr. He was their leading receiver against Arkansas with eight receptions and 186 yards.
But even with new skill talent, the overall consistency for their offense is lacking. Roughly a 40% success rate, a grade of how effective each play is by down and distance, has stifled any rhythm that they may have had. The field position, time of possession, and efficiency have fallen well under what media personalities predicted for this team’s offense.
The defense has another list of issues, mainly stopping the run. Against the Razorbacks, they gave up 4.5 yards per carry for a total of 295 yards. Arkansas used a lot of power running, pulling offensive linemen to out-leverage defenders against a disorganized front seven. Play after play the defense found itself two steps behind as it failed to keep contained or properly run fit on numerous snaps.
South Carolina’s offense amassed 307 total offensive yards, but Georgia held them to 92 yards on the ground and 4-of-13 in third down conversions. They had some success through the air, but the Dawgs didn’t break. Defensively against the Dawgs, South Carolina gave up 8.4 yards a play and 547 total yards.
Typically to slow down Georgia’s offense you need to stop the run and force them to throw for at least 40 attempts. In 2022 starting quarterback Stetson Bennett has racked up more than 900 passing yards during only nine quarters of play.
Several receivers have played a big role in that — Brock Bowers, Darnell Washington, Kenny McIntosh and Ladd McConkey have had outstanding performances so far. The rushing attack with Kendall Milton looks to be stout with over eight yards per carry in two of the last three games.
Georgia’s defense did not fall of the cliff like a lot of media personalities predicted. It has only allowed 10 points so far, and has forced offensive coordinators to play the short game. Oregon’s first 20 plays had two deep routes one of which resulted in an interception. The defense has played extremely sound football despite losing so much returning production. Smart and his team have made it very clear that the Dawgs will continue to have another elite performance for 2022 on the defensive side of the ball.
Any given Saturday any one can beat anyone, but it didn’t happen for South Carolina. There isn’t a single piece of film that’s justified the hot take we heard this summer. Rattler has talent but has forced numerous turn over worthy throws.
Against a team like Georgia that is a recipe for disaster. Just like the first week, Georgia made a statement and made the experts look silly.