One nice thing about a win like the one in Columbia on Saturday night, one can watch in relative comfort. Since the game was never in doubt, fans tend not to have that nervous feeling that the Georgia faithful has grown accustomed to when playing the Gamecocks.
Yes, South Carolina was undermanned, but that has been the case for most of the series’ history. The ‘Cocks usually play UGA tough; this series is noted for battle after battle in an ongoing war. Saturday night’s contest was an exception, at least in terms of the final score.
The South Carolina defensive staff predictably followed the pattern that other teams have used successfully against the Dawgs. The defensive game plan was simple … crowd the line of scrimmage with defensive backs and linebackers and pressure the quarterback by outnumbering the offensive line. That strategy has worked well for multiple opponents this season. Now there is a new guy spinning passes for the Dawgs, and teams will sell-out with pass pressure and run blitzes at their peril with JT Daniels dealing the football.
Georgia’s offensive line did not have a perfect game, of course. Daniels was hurried several times and sacked twice, but they blew open holes for the run game to the tune of 332 rushing yards. On the flip side, the defense allowed a total of just 83 yards on the ground.
One good thing that comes out of a convincing victory is young players’ chance to see game action. Xavier Truss, Sedrick Van Pran, Broderick Jones, and Clay Webb saw action in the fourth quarter. That unit moved the ball into scoring position against a worn-out South Carolina defense before Coach Smart called off his Dawgs and assumed the victory formation to run out the clock.
Running backs are not the focus of this article, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the HARD running by all of Georgia’s backs. Backs rarely gain ground without good blocking, but what happens after they break through the scrimmage line is all about them, and those guys ran with purpose. Yards after contact must have been impressive.
This team is just finding its groove. Unfortunately, only a couple of games remain on the schedule, but those two contests should be fun for Georgia fans.