Defensive Players to Watch vs. South Carolina

Expect Georgia's defense to perform at its typical level this week against a South Carolina team that is missing its best offensive weapon.
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Georgia's defense struggled last week against Mississippi State's air-raid offense, but the Bulldogs should fare much better Saturday at South Carolina.

The Gamecocks already have one of the weaker offenses in the SEC and they'll play without leading receiver Shi Smith. South Carolina has a solid running game, but without Smith to help balance the offense, Georgia shouldn't have a difficult time shutting them down. Here are the defensive players who will play the biggest role in beating South Carolina.

Monty Rice and Nakobe Dean, linebackers

Without Smith, South Carolina will lean on running backs Kevin Harris and Deshaun Fenwick. Both are capable runners who have combined for almost 1,200 yards this season.

Nose guard Jordan Davis might not be healthy enough to return, so Georgia will rely on Monty Rice and Dean to seal running lanes and keep Harris and Fenwick from running free. If Rice and Dean do their part well, Georgia will make South Carolina one-dimensional.

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Azeez Ojulari and Jermaine Johnson, edge rushers

Quarterback Collin Hill will already be under pressure having to play without his leading target, so the last thing he needs is Ojulari and Johnson breathing down his neck on every dropback. South Carolina is also second-to-last in the SEC with 23 sacks allowed.

Ojulari and Johnson account for 8.5 of Georgia's 20 sacks this season. They're going to continue to lead the team in that department this week, applying pressure to Hill every time he drops back for a pass. 

Adam Anderson, edge rusher

Another edge rusher primed for a big game is third-down specialist Anderson. He is a handful every time he's on the field and that will be amplified against the South Carolina offense. Anderson has only 3.5 sacks this season, but he has a whopping 15 quarterback hurries and a total of 30 sack yards.

Against a South Carolina offense still reeling from Smith's injury and the firing of head coach Will Muschamp, Anderson could have a career game in South Carolina's backfield.