By Cadie Carlson
The Georgia Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0) defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks (1-2, 0-1) 24-14 on Sept. 16 in Sanford Stadium with help from a career best rushing game from Daijun Edwards. Edwards ended the game with 118 yards on 20 attempts including a seven yard touchdown in his first start.
Georgia faced its first test this season, trailing by 11 at halftime. Slow offense that couldn’t capitalize in the red zone led to upset alerts spreading across social media. However, a quick touchdown drive by the No. 1 team in the nation to start the second half set the tone for the rest of the game.
“I felt us taking over the game, with the momentum of the fans,” said head coach Kirby Smart. “It was like a steamroll.”
South Carolina started the game with ease, scoring on a 17 yard catch by Antwane Wells Jr. The Gamecock defense then held Georgia to a field goal. South Carolina scored again with a minute left in the half to keep momentum on their side.
South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler ended the game 22-42 with 256 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The Gamecocks were held to 53 total rushing yards and one score by Dakereon Joyner.
In the second half, Georgia scored 21 unanswered points with three rushing touchdowns by Edwards, Dillon Bell and Cash Jones. Quarterback Carson Beck finished the game 27-35 with 269 yards.
“I thought that we created an identity today in how we came out and played in the second half,” Smart said.
Dan Jackson caught his second career interception with four minutes remaining in the game. Tykee Smith also intercepted one of Rattlers throws with 18 seconds left. The Bulldog defense finished the game with three sacks and seven tackles for loss.
The back-to-back defending national champions are set to face the University of Alabama at Birmingham (1-2) on Sept. 23 in Sanford Stadium. The Blazers are coming off a loss against Louisiana-Lafayette. Georgia is hoping to improve first half performance and build off the second half momentum gained against South Carolina.