COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The Georgia-South Carolina game has always been big, even before the Gamecocks joined the SEC.
These two teams have had some memorable battles going back more than three decades.
In fact, South Carolina Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers was reminiscing about the 1980 game in Athens earlier Saturday while standing on the field at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The Bulldogs, led by freshman Herschel Walker, were ranked No. 4 nationally and would go on to win the national championship that season. The Gamecocks were ranked No. 14, their highest ranking in the AP poll since 1959.
“I can still see Herschel running down that other sideline,” Rogers said of Walker’s long touchdown run. “Nobody could catch him.”
Georgia prevailed 13-10, but only after Rogers lost a fumble late in the game with South Carolina driving deep in the Bulldogs' territory.
“It happened right over there,” said Rogers, pointing across the field to the approximate spot where the fumble occurred 32 years ago in Sanford Stadium. “I still can’t believe I fumbled that ball.”
Rogers, who now works for the University of South Carolina, said the game Saturday night between No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 South Carolina reminds him of that 1980 affair, especially with the national build-up and ESPN’s “College GameDay” being in town.
He just hopes it turns out a lot better for the Gamecocks, who’ve never won three in a row over the Bulldogs.
This is also the first-ever top -0 matchup between the border rivals.
“It’s the way this rivalry is supposed to be,” said Rogers, who was from Duluth, Ga. “It’s one of the best ones out there and always has been.”