Jeff Dantzler’s five keys for a Dawg’s victory in Saturday’s Georgia-South Carolina game.
1. HANDLE HURST:
Without a doubt, tight end Hayden Hurst is one of the most dangerous receivers in the Southeastern Conference. He highlights an impressive group of Gamecock pass-catchers. Now 24 years old, Hurst began his career in baseball. This long-haired 6-5, 250 junior is easy to spot on the field, but difficult to corral. In Georgia’s 28-14 win in Columbia last season, Hurst consistently got open and had six catches for 86 yards. The Gamecocks figure to focus on this physical, tough to cover, big target again between the hedges.
2. HARASS BENTLEY:
What a lift Jake Bentley gave to South Carolina last season. While Hurst is in his mid-20’s, Bentley graduated early and took over midway through the 2016 campaign – what should have been his senior year in high school. Bentley’s play has coincided with the Gamecocks emerging as one of the SEC’s success stories over the last year. He can run and throw. Georgia has to rattle Bentley with a relentless pass rush. He has a lot of weapons to throw to.
3. RUN THE BALL BETTER:
Georgia’s offense is at its best running the football with those great backs behind the big line. South Carolina is always going to be tough defensively. It’s what Will Muschamp does. The key to the Bulldogs win last season was an awesome ground attack. That South Carolina didn’t have Skai Moore, he was injured and missed the entire year. The fifth-year senior has led the Gamecocks in tackles in all three of his previous seasons. Georgia must find a way to get a body on him and get some movement up front.
4. WIN THE KICKING GAME:
This is the area that Georgia should be able to control. It’s an absolute must for Georgia to get the win. Controlling that “hidden yardage” is something that Georgia has been good at many times this season. The Sanford Stadium crowd could get a huge lift out of solid, sound and explosive special teams play.
5. BRING THE FIRE:
This was the game when the schedule came out that wreaked of “trap.” Georgia and South Carolina usually play early in the season – or at most in the middle of October. This will be the latest match-up ever between the two, and for Georgia, it falls right between Florida and Auburn. The ‘Cocks tangled with beaten up Vandy last week. So much is put into the Florida game, and there is the south’s oldest rivalry next week. But Kirby Smart’s team has brought the energy every week. And the crowds and this team have fed off one another. Sanford must be at a fever pitch for Georgia to take a step towards the SEC Championship Game.
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