1 – Handle the Gamecocks Front:
Like his old friend and fellow former Bulldog safety Kirby Smart, Will Muschamp comes from a defensive background and will have his stop unit up for Saturday afternoon’s showdown. The Gamecocks are coming off a tremendous defensive showing in the 24-7 Williams Brice win over Kentucky. South Carolina’s pass defense allowed Kentucky to hit just 13 of 34 passes for 97 yards while giving up just 115 on the ground. Georgia’s highly acclaimed offensive line will have to be on top of its game on Saturday afternoon.
2 – Pressure Hilinski:
Young freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski answered the bell after Jake Bentley went down with an injury. The highly touted first-year signal-caller gave South Carolina a boost and has shown the ability to make a wide variety of throws while also creating problems for enemy defenses with his legs. Georgia’s defense must not give Hilinski comfortable throwing alleys, and the Bulldogs defensive staff has been burning the midnight oil trying to come up with schemes and looks to potentially confuse the freshman.
3 – Slow Down the Run:
Like any team, and this is a given, if the Gamecocks get the running game going, they can pull off the win. Both Tavien Feaster, a transfer from Clemson, and Rico Dowdle topped the century mark in the win over the Wildcats. Feaster ran for two scores and 107 yards on 15 carries, while Dowdle had 102 on 15 totes with a TD. When that rushing attack gets going, this is a dangerous offense, because Hilinski has the athleticism and play-action skills, plus a plethora of outstanding receivers, highlighted by Bryan Edwards.
4 – Hedges Howling:
The last time Georgia played between the hedges, it was a perfect storm, as the Bulldogs edged Notre Dame 23-17 before one of the most electric atmospheres ever in Athens. That was at night, and it was the first trip ever for the Irish to Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. This game could be every bit as tough. South Carolina had the week off, while Georgia was playing at night in Knoxville. And the early noon kickoff, that is a big edge for South Carolina. The Bulldogs need more magic from the red-clad 12th man, rocking and rolling early in the seats for a Southeastern Conference showdown against the upset aiming Gamecocks.
5 – Be Ready for Anything:
The open date, the potential for the signature upset, for the signature win of the last two years of Will Muschamp’s tenure, this one is a season-swinger. For both teams. On their last trip, the Gamecocks used a fake punt. Georgia started the game with an onsides kick. There will be no ‘secrets’ with Smart and Muschamp. It’s a good bet that South Carolina used that open date to come up with anything and everything.