FINAL Georgia 41 – South Carolina 30
Quarterback Aaron Murray, despite all the criticism against his ability to play in big games, silenced everyone with a performance of his career against No. 6 South Carolina. Murray went 17-23 for 309 yards and four touchdowns. Behind Murray was the duo of Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley, both of which had an outstanding game.
The story of the game was the defense, which epitomized the “bend but don’t break” mindset. When they needed to most, they came up with a fourth down stop of Mike Davis on the 1-yard line that effectively ended the Gamecocks’ chances of victory. With a few first downs on the ground, Georgia took home the victory.
13:00 Georgia 85-yard TOUCHDOWN pass (41-30 Georgia)
Georgia got just what the doctor ordered. After appearing to shoot themselves in the foot and pinning themselves on the 15-yard line on a third-and-long situation, Justin Scott-Wesley broke loose for the touchdown. 13 minutes still leaves plenty of time for South Carolina, but Georgia can help themselves out with a stop here.
13:55 South Carolina 3-yard TOUCHDOWN run (34-30 Georgia) PAT no good
Georgia had an opportunity to put the game away and allowed a 75-yard run to Mike Davis instead. Once again the Georgia defense couldn’t put a game away when they had the chance. Now the offense needs a score, but thanks to the point after, a field goal puts Georgia ahead by a touchdown. It’s not much wiggle-room, but its something.
0:18 Georgia 8-yard TOUCHDOWN pass (34-24 Georgia)
Georgia needed to do something to gain some momentum and they did with a big score. Georgia methodically drove the field in just under six minutes of play clock and Murray did a good job directing his offense, especially on the final play of the drive when he directed Gurley to the sideline to make the catch. Georgia is now in the territory to put the Gamecocks down, but it needs to get a stop in order to do so. If Carolina scores, its right back in the game.
6:08 South Carolina punt
Georgia needed a stop, and they got one — kind of. Georgia’s secondary appeared weak again, but caught a break when an open Bruce Ellington could not make the catch on a ball thrown short. Georgia has an opportunity to capitalize on the Shaw throwing error on their next drive, and it will be a critical one if the team wants to establish any momentum.
8:03 Georgia 37-yard field goal GOOD (27-24 Georgia)
This actually encompasses three drives that ate up the first half of the third quarter. Georgia started with a three-and-out, but made a huge play by forcing a fumble when Connor Shaw was driving the field. Georgia seemed to have the momentum back, driving the field much like Shaw and Carolina did to start their drive. However, some backwards yards halted the drive. Georgia may have the lead, but the momentum is South Carolina’s after the big stop and getting the ball back. Georgia now has to come up with a stop of their own.
This is the Georgia team you should expect to see throughout the season. The offense carries no fault for the 24-24 score, they’ve done their job and done it well, particularly Todd Gurley. However, the team will continually shoot itself in the foot on special teams, as we’ve seen with the botched punt tonight and the botched field goal against Clemson. Georgia insists on not having a special teams coach, which would be fine, but they might want to consider making some adjustments to prevent these types of plays.
From the defense, you’ve seen a defense that’s come up big behind emotionally-charged drive stopping plays, but you’ve also seen a secondary that gets beat and some guys getting fooled when they shouldn’t. It’s part of the game that the young squad will have to pick up on quicker than they have in order to propel this team past South Carolina or LSU in two weeks.
Georgia gets the ball first in the second half, which is critical in the tie ballgame. They need a score here to win it.
0:13 South Carolina 30-yard TOUCHDOWN pass (24-24)
Georgia had South Carolina right where they wanted the team and just blew the play. A young DB gets beat in the corner of the end zone and South Carolina evens it up again going into the half. Georgia most likely just lets it go with only 13 seconds remaining, but the Bulldogs get the ball to start the second half.
1:42 Georgia 2-yard TOUCHDOWN run (24-17 Georgia)
Georgia goes back to their rhythmic offense with an 11-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a Gurley touchdown. Gurley is still running strong and you can only assume that he’ll get stronger here in the second half with a breather. Rhett McGowan was a big producer on this drive with two catches, including one that put Georgia within an inch of a first down that Keith Marshall later converted. Georgia will be charged with stopping the South Carolina two-minute offense.
5:07 South Carolina 18-yard TOUCHDOWN pass (17-17)
In just one play, South Carolina has shifted the momentum back in their favor. Georgia coverage broke down on the only play. Its up to the offense to get the team back up.
5:14 Georgia punt fumbled (17-10 Georgia)
The offense had no momentum for the first time all night, and that fumbled punt won’t help.
7:07 South Carolina TOUCHDOWN run (17-10 Georgia)
South Carolina fought hard for the touchdown here, but not without Georgia fault. The defense played a little sloppy, especially when they allowed Connor Shaw the 20 yard run when they vacated the middle of the field. Giving credit where it’s due, Mike Davis had a good drive, earning a first down on a fourth-and-2 run. The drive ought to be a reality check to the Georgia D–it’s not over yet.
12:22 Georgia 6-yard TOUCHDOWN pass (17-3 Georgia)
Georgia has seen almost no problems moving the ball this afternoon. We had our first Jadeveon Clowney sighting when he recorded a sack for 10 yards, but Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley runs negated that. Gurley lost his helmet on a run that would have sent him into the end zone, but Marshall finished the drive with the TD catch. Georgia will have no problems if they keep playing this way.
0:34 South Carolina punt
In the first non-scoring drive of the night, Georgia’s young and oft-criticized defense comes up big. The front four has really impressed so far, swallowing the running quarterback Connor Shaw up twice. Georgia has an opportunity to create some separation on the next drive.
2:51 Georgia 22-yard field goal GOOD (10-3 Georgia)
Georgia tricked everyone with the onside kick to open the drive. It paid off with the recovery. Georgia almost stalled out after two dropped passes, but a big play from Justin Scott Wesley in the middle of the field converted the fouth-and-13 play. A penalty in the red zone killed the drive and resulted in the field goal. However, the momentum still appears to be in the Bulldogs’ favor. The next drive will tell a lot about this Georgia defense.
7:28 Georgia 3-yard TOUCHDOWN pass (7-3 Georgia)
Georgia enforced their will on the South Carolina defense on their first drive. Gurley ran strong and just came up short of a drive-ending 20-yard touchdown run around the 8-minute mark. Murray had two passes, both complete, and that’s all he needed. Michael Bennett was the recipient of the big 32-yard play — the knee looks fine from up here.
9:28 South Carolina 35-yard field goal GOOD (3-0 South Carolina)
On a “bend but don’t break drive,” Georgia forces South Carolina in a field goal. What we did see is a Connor Shaw who is going to run the ball and a strong Mike Davis in the backfield for the Gamecocks. Georgia defense has a task on their hands. Now its the offense’s turn.
Pre game notes:
On defense, Josh Harvey-Clemons was listed as the starting strong safety. Harvey-Clemons plays the “star” position, so he won’t play much traditional strong safety, I don’t imagine. Connor Norman is listed above Corey Moore, who was injured last week, on the depth chart, but the depth chart has changed going into the game. Expect both to play.
On offense, the O-line has been juggled. Looked like Kolton Houston was going to move John Theus to the bench at RT, but that is no longer the case. Houston announced as the starting left guard, Theus remains at right tackle. I’d be surprised if the line remains the same all afternoon; expect more juggling.
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Cody Pace here from the Monday After-Show here, coming to you from Sanford Stadium for the Georgia Bulldogs’ season home opener against the sixth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks.