UGA Football

Georgia runs all over South Carolina to defeat rival

Georgia running back Nick Chubb (27) runs against South Carolina Sunday.
Georgia running back Nick Chubb (27) runs against South Carolina Sunday. AP

Georgia didn’t need much flash to put away South Carolina.

In a fast-moving game, thanks to a lot of running plays called, the Bulldogs defeated their SEC East rivals 28-14 on Sunday. The game was delayed a day due to Hurricane Matthew crushing the South Carolina coastline, with the storm clearing out long before Sunday’s kickoff arrived.

Georgia (4-2, 2-2 SEC) saw its rushing attack churn out 326 yards on the ground and bled the clock throughout the second half. South Carolina (2-4, 1-4) did hang around and cut Georgia’s lead to one score with 1:40 to go in the game, but the Gamecocks could never put together any consistent offense.

The Bulldogs’ rushing total bested a previous season-high of 289 yards in the season opener against North Carolina.

Four who mattered

Georgia running back Nick Chubb: Chubb had his best game since the opener against North Carolina, running for 121 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. He opened the game with a nifty 18-yard run on the first play from scrimmage and had a long of 40.

Georgia running back Sony Michel: Michel also had a big day, totaling a game-high 133 yards on 21 attempts. Michel also seemed to work as the closer, getting more reps toward the end of the game than Chubb.

Georgia inside linebacker Roquan Smith: Smith had a big day on defense as he was in on two turnovers. He recovered a fumble on a botched option play and later forced a fumble, with cornerback Deandre Baker recovering it.

South Carolina linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams: Allen-Williams was all over the field for the Gamecocks and recorded nine tackles, with one going for a loss. All nine of those tackles were recorded as solo ones.

Turning point

South Carolina cut Georgia’s lead to 21-14 with 1:40 to play and then tried an onside kick. The ball bounced perfectly to Georgia receiver Terry Godwin, who returned it 43 yards for his first touchdown of the season. That score put the game away for the Bulldogs.

Observations

How Georgia ran the ball: A week ago, the Bulldogs relied on a lot of spread formations to loosen the box and let the running backs find creases. Against the Gamecocks, Georgia lined up in traditional pro-style formations and hammered the ball ahead. Both Chubb and Michel were able to find lanes behind an offensive line that has improved each week since struggling against Missouri.

Eason’s forgettable day: Freshman quarterback Jacob Eason completed 5-of-17 passes for only 29 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The 29 passing yards, which are also what the team finished with, are the fewest Georgia has had in a game since 1990. The Bulldogs threw for 28 yards in a game against Auburn that year.

Unable to put away an opponent: It sure looked like Georgia was going to go up by three scores early in the third quarter. But then Eason threw a pass to Javon Wims, which was tipped in the air and intercepted. South Carolina took that turnover and turned it into points by driving down the field and having Deebo Samuel run for a 9-yard score. And then up 21-7, Georgia allowed South Carolina to drive down the field and score a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to keep its hopes alive.

Worth mentioning

Sunday first: This is the first time Georgia has ever played a regular-season game on a Sunday. The last time the Bulldogs played a Sunday game was the 2000 O’ahu Bowl, with Georgia beating Virginia on Christmas Eve. This now means Georgia has played a regular-season game on every day of the week. The program’s long history included the Bulldogs playing games on each of the other six days.

Lucky Long: Near the end of the third quarter, Georgia was forced to punt from its own 38-yard line. Freshman Marshall Long kicked a low and wobbly punt that didn’t seem to travel too far. But the ball ended up hitting the turf and took a Georgia-friendly bounce all the way to the South Carolina 3-yard line. That backed the Gamecocks up and helped lead to Georgia’s touchdown on its ensuing offensive possession.

Two with 100: This marked the first time since 2014 that Georgia had two running backs with more than 100 yards. The last time this occurred was on Nov. 15, 2014, when Georgia played Auburn. In that game, a 34-7 win for the Bulldogs, Chubb ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns and Todd Gurley ran for 138 yards and one touchdown. Gurley, however, tore his ACL against the Tigers, which ended his college career.

They said it

Michel on Georgia having a big day running the football: “It started with our preparation. We had a physical week of practice. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are our really work days, where we grind it and are in full pads. One thing we focused on was to be physical in the front and pound the football well. I think everyone did an excellent job.”

Godwin on Georgia only throwing for 29 yards: “I feel like the passing game was off because of the wind conditions. I feel when we have more time to go through that we’ll be better at it.”

Georgia cornerback Malkom Parrish on his interception: “I didn’t know (South Carolina quarterback Perry Orth) was going to throw the ball. But once the ball was in the air, I knew that it was coming down to me.”

What’s next?

Georgia returns home on what’s now a short week to host Vanderbilt at noon on Saturday.

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