The Dawgs are currently a 31.5-point favorite against the Gamecocks in their first year under head coach Shane Beamer.
They may be the heavy favorites, but this Georgia team will not lack any motivation. All they have to do is remember what happened last time the Gamecocks came to town.
It was week six in 2019, Georgia was 5-0, ranked No. 3 in the nation, and had beaten a good Notre Dame team earlier in the season. They were at home against the Gamecocks and were a 21-point favorite. The Gamecocks ended up upsetting the Dawgs in double overtime after now Indianapolis Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 43-yard field goal to tie the game.
Georgia would go on to beat Florida and Texas A&M but lost to LSU in the SEC Championship game. Dawgs’ fans have been haunted by the “what if” of if they could have made the playoffs as the four seed if they would’ve been undefeated going into the SEC Championship game against the Tigers.
Although no one can possibly know the answer to that, it would be easier to project that the Dawgs have not forgotten that game.
The story of this year’s No. 2 ranked Georgia team thus far has been the defense. The Dawgs still have yet to allow an offensive touchdown. They held Clemson to just three points in the season opener, and beat UAB at home last week 56-7, with that lone UAB touchdown coming as a result of a pick six.
Georgia gave up just 47 passing yards to UAB last week while recording three interceptions.
It’s hard to imagine the Gamecocks will have much more success than the Bulldogs first two opponents, especially with their current quarterback situation.
Due to a foot injury to the expected starting quarterback Luke Doty, the Gamecocks were forced to employ the services of graduate assistant Zeb Noland. Noland joined the South Carolina staff with no plans of playing, but because of injuries and because he had one year left of eligibility, he received an opportunity to be the man behind center.
Although the Gamecocks beat a competent East Carolina team on the road last week 20-17, they needed a game-winning field goal as time expired to do so. In addition, Noland and the Gamecock offense struggled. Noland was just 13-24 for 214 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Beamer talked about Noland’s performance against the Pirates during Monday’s Paul Finebaum Show.
“Obviously, Zeb Noland has started the last two games and credit to him, it’s a great story, he did not play well early on and he will be the first to tell you that,” Beamer said.
Beamer then stated that he expects Doty to be 100 percent and ready to play Saturday, but that the starting role is yet to be decided and will come down to each player’s performance in practices this week.
Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart is also unsure of who will be the Dawgs’ starting quarterback on Saturday.
Junior quarterback JT Daniels is the undoubted starter, but an oblique injury kept him from playing against UAB last week. Senior Stetson Bennett stepped in and flourished, throwing five touchdowns.
Smart said Daniels will start this Saturday if healthy.
“It will be evaluated day-to-day, I don’t have any hypotheticals,” Smart said in his press conference after the UAB win.
Regardless of who’s playing quarterback, the Dawgs will be able to score early and often, especially if they run the football like they want to do.
On the opposite side of the ball, the Georgia defense simply has too many playmakers for South Carolina to handle. Watch out for Georgia's starting nose guard, 6'6", 360-pound Jordan Davis, to be a big part of slowing down South Carolina’s running game and forcing the Gamecocks into unenviable passing situations. Subsequently, the quarterback that is in at quarterback for the Gamecocks will struggle with little running game support.
South Carolina will turn it over too many times to keep this one close. Long third down plays will be the difference. The Dawgs get their revenge between the hedges.
Georgia 34 South Carolina 6