South Carolina looking for elusive third straight win against Georgia

October 1, 2012 

When the Georgia football team visits Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday night in Columbia, S.C., the South Carolina Gamecocks will try to do something they have never done in the history of their program, and that’s to beat the Bulldogs for the third straight time.

Georgia has dominated the series through the years, holding a sizeable 46-16-2 advantage. South Carolina won the 2010 game 17-6 and held on last year for a 45-42 win in Athens.

Prior to the current streak, the Gamecocks had two-game winning streaks against Georgia five times in the history of the series that began in 1894. They won back-to-back in 1903-04, 1958-59, 1978-79, 1988-89 and 2000-01.

Two of those wins prevented Georgia from having undefeated regular seasons.

Georgia’s 1959 SEC championship team was derailed 30-14 by South Carolina, at the time a member of the ACC, in Columbia. Miscues doomed the Dogs that October day before 27,000 fans ... can you imagine that few fans for a game today? Georgia lost four fumbles and had a punt blocked as Gamecocks fullback Phil Lavoie scored 20 points on three touchdown runs and a two-point conversion.

Georgia got both of its scores on passes. Quarterback Fran Tarkenton connected with Bill McKenny on a 6-yarder, and Charlie Britt hit Bobby Towns on a 53-yard scoring strike. The Dogs passed for 198 yards but had just 36 yards on the ground, while Carolina had 232 yards rushing and just 10 passing. The Bulldogs finished the 1959 season at 10-1 and ranked fifth in the nation after beating Missouri in the Orange Bowl.

Georgia’s only regular season loss during the 1978 season came at the hands of the Gamecocks, 27-10 in Columbia. Once again, turnovers proved to be the culprit, as the Gamecocks scored two touchdowns as a result of a Georgia fumble and an intercepted pass. Sophomore George Rogers, who would win the Heisman Trophy two years later, rushed for 128 yards, while Johnnie Wright added 156.

In that 1978 game, Georgia ran only 24 plays in the first half, and during that time the Bulldogs had possession for just 6 minutes and 42 seconds. Willie McLendon was the Dogs’ star with a 150-yard effort on the ground, including an 81-yard touchdown scamper.

That game is also remembered for Georgia unveiling new uniforms. They wore red pants -- or, as Larry Munson called them, britches -- with white and black stripes down the side and white jerseys with black numbers.

Georgia should stick with their traditional uniforms of red jerseys and helmets and silver pants. The black jerseys in 2008 against Alabama and the Nike uniforms they wore against Boise State last season certainly didn’t help their cause, either.

Georgia wound up the 1978 season at 9-2-1 and ranked 16th in the nation. In addition to the loss to South Carolina, the Bulldogs battled to a tie at Auburn. They also dropped a 25-22 decision to Stanford in the Bluebonnet Bowl that year.

In his 25 years as head coach at Georgia, Vince Dooley’s teams faced South Carolina 22 times and came away with a 17-4-1 record, which included 10 straight wins between 1966 and 1977.

Current Georgia head coach Mark Richt has compiled a 7-4 record against the Bulldogs’ SEC East rival, and Richt is 4-4 against Steve Spurrier, counting three losses against the Gamecocks and a loss to Florida in Spurrier’s final season with the Gators.

Contact Bobby Pope at bobbypope428@gmail.com

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