A Recipe For Success: Brought To You By South Carolina
In what has arguably been one of the biggest upsets of the 2019 college football season, back in week 7, the South Carolina Gamecocks marched into Sanford Stadium and toppled the undefeated #3 Georgia Bulldogs 20-17 in double overtime. The 2-3 Gamecocks opened up as a 24.5 point underdog, closing the gap to 21 points at kickoff against the 5-0 Bulldogs.
Georgia Tech finds themselves in a similar situation as the Gamecocks. Against the Bulldogs this weekend, the Yellow Jackets are a 29-point underdog on their own turf. However, if Tech takes away what South Carolina did well to defeat Georgia, then it could give the Ramblin' Wreck a fighting chance in Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.
Perhaps the single biggest factor in South Carolina's win over Georgia is that the Gamecocks were able to force 4 turnovers. Half of UGA's total turnovers lost on the season came in this one game. All 3 of quarterback Jake Fromm's interceptions in 2019 also came against South Carolina, including a pick 6 in the second quarter to give South Carolina a then 17-10 advantage.
One of Georgia Tech's biggest strengths is in the secondary, but even that will not be enough. Not only will they have to be in the right place at the right time to force some crucial interceptions, but they will need assistance from the defensive front. 2 of Georgia's 4 turnovers were a direct result of quarterback pressure. The pick six was a product of Fromm trying to throw it away after being rushed up the middle, and the lone fumble in the game came from a strip sack.
Excel at Special Teams
When attempting to take down an opponent like Georgia, you have to excel in all three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams. The latter is especially important because without it, South Carolina might not have even gotten the game into overtime. At the end of the first half, the Gamecocks blocked a Rodrigo Blankenship field goal to keep it a touchdown lead heading into the locker room. Kicking might have won the game in double overtime for the visiting team, but it almost lost it for them as well as they went 2/4 in the game. The first miss would them given them the advantage needed in regulation, and the second would have won the game in the first overtime period.
Flipping the field also played a key role in the field position battle. South Carolina punted the ball 5 times inside the 20 yard line, the most by a Georgia opponent all season long. If Tech is unable to get drives going at points in the game, it will be up to Pressley Harvin to make sure the Dawgs have the same trouble.
Control The Run Game On Both Sides
This might be the hardest facet of the game to achieve given Georgia's prowess in this field. The Bulldogs not only have one of the best running backs in the SEC in D'Andre Swift, but also one of the best run defenses in the entire nation.
But nonetheless, controlling Georgia's run game and establishing a run game themselves might be the biggest key to a Georgia Tech win. All 4 of UGA's 1 score wins and their loss to South Carolina were the games in which they experienced their 5 lowest rushing totals of the season. On the other side of the ball, the 142 rushing yards by the Gamecocks was the second-highest rushing total by a Bulldogs opponent all season. Kentucky had 160, but the majority of it was from QB Lynn Bowden (Georgia won 21-0).
It might be difficult to achieve, but the blueprint is there to achieve victory in Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate in Geoff Collins' first year at the helm.
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