SEC: Dawgs-Gamecocks-100612

Gamecocks winning where it counts

October, 7, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Connor Shaw could see it in the Georgia players’ eyes on South Carolina’s first touchdown drive.

A few minutes later, it was even more obvious to Marcus Lattimore after the Gamecocks drove it right down the Bulldogs’ throats for their second touchdown in as many possessions.

“They were shell-shocked. We hit them in the mouth, and they weren’t ready for it,” Lattimore said.

Nope, not even close.

But in Georgia’s defense, it’s debatable whether anybody in college football would have been ready for what the Gamecocks unleashed Saturday night on the No. 5 Bulldogs in a 35-7 bludgeoning at Williams-Brice Stadium that sent a clear message about the shifting balance of power in the SEC.

“We definitely sent a message out to the whole country. This is not the old South Carolina. We can play with y’all. We can play with anybody,” said Lattimore, who rushed for 109 yards, his third consecutive 100-yard rushing performance against Georgia.

A year ago, South Carolina scored three non-offensive touchdowns in a wild 45-42 victory over Georgia. Even South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said after that one that the Gamecocks were fortunate to win.

But there was nothing fluky about Saturday’s game.

The Gamecocks (6-0, 4-0) dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides, a telltale sign of how far this program has come under Spurrier.

Marquee skill players have come and gone through the years at South Carolina, but the Gamecocks haven’t always been able to measure up in the trenches, particularly against the elite teams.

Those days are over.

Not only did South Carolina grind out 230 rushing yards, but the Gamecocks held Georgia to 224 total yards -- the Bulldogs’ lowest output since a 2006 loss to Florida.

[+] EnlargeAaron Murray
Daniel Shirey/US PresswireSouth Carolina's defensive line harrassed Georgia QB Aaron Murray into an 11-of-31, one-pick night.
“Like I told the guys, we took a whipping,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “But the good news was that we all took it together.”

In other words, the Bulldogs didn’t have any answers on either side of the ball.

“Our offensive line was great,” said Shaw, who threw touchdown passes of 20 and 14 yards on the Gamecocks’ first two drives. “They just keep getting better. They came out and set the tone tonight.”

While South Carolina’s offensive line took its game to another level, Georgia’s offensive line never knew what hit it. The Gamecocks came into the game thinking they could exploit the Bulldogs’ offensive line.

They did more than exploit it. They rendered it helpless, and even when Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray wasn’t being hounded by Jadeveon Clowney or Devin Taylor, he didn’t have much success finding open receivers.

This is a Georgia offense that had scored 40 or more points in each of its first five games and was flirting with 500 yards per game in total offense.

On Saturday, much to the delight of a deafening and record crowd at Williams-Brice Stadium, it was 21-0 in favor of South Carolina, and Georgia had run all of six offensive plays.

“It wasn’t only the front four, but our linebackers played really well … and the perimeter,” said South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, whose defense has yet to give up more than 17 points this season.

“We were in position to make some plays. It’s a blessing to be able to rush four guys and drop seven when it’s time to play football.”

Indeed it is, especially when you have freakish athletes like Clowney coming off the edge and hurdling would-be blockers. He’s not the only one, either.

South Carolina is equally stout on the interior with defensive tackles Kelcy Quarles and Byron Jerideau, while the third end in the rotation, Chaz Sutton, is starting to play some of his best football.

“You can’t block our defensive line,” Shaw said. “I know. We have to go against them every day.”

After watching Georgia’s freshman running back duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall torch Tennessee for three touchdown runs of 51 yards or longer last week, Ward said the Gamecocks were determined not to let the Bulldogs get outside.

As it was, Gurley and Marshall couldn’t find running room anywhere. They were held to 76 rushing yards on 25 carries, and their longest run was a 15-yarder by Gurley.

It only gets tougher from here for South Carolina, which will almost certainly move to No. 3 in the polls with both LSU and Florida State going down on Saturday.

The Gamecocks have to travel to LSU next week and then Florida on Oct. 20 in what could potentially be a huge Eastern Division showdown.

It’s the kind of position this program simply hasn’t been in over the years.

But, then, it’s a program that has the kind of muscle, physicality and explosiveness in the line of scrimmage that it’s never had.

And that’s where you win championships in this league.

“We’ll see where this leads us,” Spurrier said.

UGA fails on national stage once again

October, 7, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Georgia has found itself in college football's center ring only a few times in the last several seasons -- and when it has, the results have not been pretty.

The No. 5 Bulldogs suffered another humiliating loss while occupying the national spotlight on Saturday night, watching No. 6 South Carolina immediately jump out to an enormous lead en route to a 35-7 victory at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Asked about the widespread national perception that Georgia fails to rise to the occasion in the biggest moments, senior defensive end Abry Jones couldn't dispute that opinion.

"It's hard to argue that point of fact when we really don't come and put in work when the time comes," Jones said. "It's hard to argue something when you have nothing to put forth -- no proof or anything like that. We're definitely going to have to keep working and then when we get another opportunity to, just come up and show up and win the game."

Read the full story here.

Video: South Carolina's Connor Shaw

October, 7, 2012

Chris Low talks to South Carolina QB Connor Shaw.

Video: South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore

October, 7, 2012

Chris Low talks to South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore.

It was billed as a clash of heavyweights between top contenders for the SEC East title and a stepping stone to a possible national championship run. South Carolina got the memo, but someone forgot to remind Georgia of those implications, as the Gamecocks cruised to a 35-7 win and their third consecutive victory against the Bulldogs in an utter demolition.

Here's the story from Columbia, S.C.:

It was over when: South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw hit wide receiver D.L. Moore for a 62-yard gain on third-and-11 early in the third quarter. Moore slipped behind the Georgia secondary and fought tacklers all the way to the Bulldogs' 1-yard line. Running back Marcus Lattimore plunged into the end zone on the next play to give the Gamecocks a 28-0 lead.

Game ball: South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was an unblockable monster for a defense that held Georgia to 224 yards and seven points. Clowney registered one sack, and he consistently drew double teams that freed up his comrades on the defensive front to terrorize Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.

Game ball, part II: Shaw's numbers don't pop off the page, but he continues to do a little bit of everything -- making him a nightmare for opposing defenses to keep in check. Shaw completed 6 of 10 passes for 162 and a pair of scores, and he rushed 14 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. Better yet, he didn't commit any turnovers.

Key stat: Murray came into the game averaging 275 passing yards per game, yet he completed only 11 passes for 109 yards. The freshman running back duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, who combined for 294 rushing yards and five touchdowns last week against Tennessee, managed just 76 total yards against the Gamecocks defense.

Hot start: The Gamecocks delivered the bulk of their damage right at the start in what was an electric atmosphere at Williams-Brice Stadium. South Carolina took the opening kickoff and marched 76 yards to a touchdown in just five plays. The South Carolina defense forced a Georgia three-and-out, and the Gamecocks went on a 69-yard march for an early 14-0 lead. The Bulldogs' second drive again took just three plays, only this time the Bulldogs' punt was returned 70 yards to the end zone by South Carolina wide receiver Ace Sanders.

The Gamecocks built a 21-0 lead 10 minutes into the first quarter of play, and they didn't look back.

What it means: South Carolina joins Florida as Saturday's big winners after both programs notched statement wins. Their Oct. 20 showdown in Gainesville, Fla., could go a long way in deciding the SEC East race, but the Gamecocks must first deal with next week's trip to Baton Rouge to face a talented LSU team. Georgia is now behind the Gamecocks in the race to Atlanta, but the Bulldogs have only one ranked team left on the schedule. It wouldn't be the first time Georgia lost the meeting with South Carolina and still found a way to win the East; it happened last fall.

Ogletree gets his shot at Gamecocks

October, 6, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. – It’s been well-chronicled how much success South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore has had running the ball against Georgia’s defense the last two seasons.

He’s combined for 358 rushing yards and three touchdowns and has had more than 150 of those yards in the fourth quarter.

But whereas Alec Ogletree didn’t play at all in one of those games and sparingly in the other, he’ll be in the middle of that Georgia defense Saturday at his inside linebacker spot.

The Bulldogs think Ogletree will make a big difference against the Gamecocks’ running game. He was injured and didn’t play last season. And two years ago, he was a freshman safety playing in his first college game.

This is a different Georgia defense with Ogletree in the middle. He’s probably the Bulldogs’ second-best defender behind outside linebacker Jarvis Jones.

Ogletree should also be a lot better Saturday than he was last week against Tennessee, which was his first game back after a four-game suspension.
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.”

Video: Georgia-South Carolina pregame

October, 6, 2012

Chris Low and Gene Wojciechowski break down Saturday's Georgia-South Carolina game.