Georgia and South Carolina square off Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night in Williams-Brice Stadium. The Bulldogs coming off a thrilling 31-24 victory over Mississippi State are 5-2 on the season. The Gamecocks are 2-6, coming off a 17-10 loss to Missouri in Columbia, South Carolina.
There will be new and familiar faces on the gridiron Saturday.
Former Bulldogs quarterback and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is the Gamecocks interim head coach, taking over for former Georgia defensive back Will Muschamp, who was fired following a 59-42 loss to Ole Miss on November 7.
JT Daniels is slated to start at quarterback for Georgia. In his Bulldogs debut, the redshirt sophomore transfer from Southern Cal threw for four touchdowns with no interceptions on 28 of 38 passing for 401 yards. It was the first 400 yard passing performance for Georgia since Aaron Murray went over the plateau in “The Prayer at Jordan-Hare,” a 43-38 loss to Auburn in 2013. Kearis Jackson, George Pickens and Jermaine Burton combined to catch the four scoring tosses. Burton, like Daniels, played his high school football in California. He had eight catches for two touchdowns and 197 yard, eight yards off the single game Bulldogs receiving yardage record set by Tavarres King in an Outback Bowl loss to Michigan State on January 1, 2012.
While it was Georgia’s finest passing game of the year, the Bulldogs must rediscover a running attack. Mississippi State held the Dogs to eight yards on the ground.
South Carolina pulled off a huge upset against the Bulldogs last season in Athens. The Gamecocks won 20-17 in overtime. It was Georgia’s lone regular season loss in 2019.
After an 0-2 start, the Gamecocks of 2020 notched a pair of wins, most notably over Auburn in Columbia. It was South Carolina’s first victory over the Tigers since joining the Southeastern Conference in 1992.
Things then got sideways for the Gamecocks.
LSU beat South Carolina 52-24, Texas A&M downed the Gamecocks 48-3 and then came the aforementioned 17 point loss to the Rebels.
Bobo has been charged with finding a way for a strong close to the season. He and Smart are longtime friends. The two played together at Georgia in the 1990s. Bobo’s senior season was 1997, Smart’s 1998.
The Gamecocks also had a new face at quarterback. Highly touted freshman Luke Doty split time with Collin Hill, and threw for 130 yards on 14 of 23 passing. South Carolina showed fight against Mizzou. The Gamecocks trailed 17-0 at the half, but fought back to draw within what would be the final margin of seven.
Georgia has the chance for an excellent record. An 8-2 mark in the craziness of 2020 would be impressive. But this team can certainly take no one for granted.