[su_spacer size=”20″] Sanford Stadium is the site for a big showdown between border rivals Georgia and South Carolina. The Bulldogs have dominated the all-time series, but the Gamecocks have won four of the last five and are hungry to spoil Georgia’s championship dreams. No coach has beaten Georgia like Steve Spurrier, and he has a classic underdog/ spoiler role to play out Saturday night. These are the days and nights that make college football so special.
1. Raucous Sanford Stadium
[su_spacer size=”20″] It was rocking for the season-opener against Louisiana-Monroe, the Georgia faithful so anxious to open the 2015 campaign. Now Sanford Stadium will be at a fever pitch with the rival Gamecocks and their rather famous hall of fame, iconic coach in town. The Bulldogs sit at 2-0 and 1-0 in Southeastern Conference play while the Gamecocks are 1-1 and already 0-1, and this is likely an elimination game for Atlanta for the loser. The Bulldogs were in a similar “must win” situation in 2013, the stadium was electric and Georgia prevailed. The team and the crowd have a symbiotic relationship. For Georgia to prevail, the red and black faithful must feed and fuel the young men in silver britches to greatness.
[su_spacer size=”40”] 2. Steve Spurrier
[su_spacer size=”20″] No coach has beaten Georgia like Steve Spurrier. That number is 16. All since 1990, and that’s with three years off from coaching in the collegiate ranks from 2002-2004. There is no team that he enjoys beating better than Georgia. Spurrier is one of the great coaches in SEC history, and the one that opposing fans love to beat. His constant needling and the backing up of said “war of words” has driven many a fan base into madness – none more so than Georgia’s. With his mid-summer rant, which seemed directed at a completely non-offensive, and in fact quite complimentary column from an esteemed Atlanta writer, the blood will be pumping even faster and more furious.
[su_spacer size=”40”] 3. Dogs Gotta Have it for History
[su_spacer size=”20″] Georgia has completely dominated the all-time series. South Carolina had never beaten the Bulldogs more than two consecutive times prior to the arrival of Steve Spurrier. Under his watch, the Gamecocks have won four of the last five. A South Carolina 16-12 win in Athens in 2007 is one of the most costly in Bulldog annals, as it proved to be the roadblock for a berth in the SEC Championship Game and potential national title shot. With the end of his incredible career at least on the near horizon, this is an opportunity for the Bulldogs to tilt this series back Athens way.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 4. Dogs Gotta Have it for ‘15
[su_spacer size=”20″] Georgia must have it for any championship hopes in 2015. Let’s face it, if Georgia doesn’t beat South Carolina, is there any realistic hope for the Bulldogs to have a great season with the brutally tough schedule that looms. A win over the ‘Cocks, and the Bulldogs are 3-0 and 2-0 in the league, with a pair of wins of SEC East foes. This will be a major test for Greyson Lambert at quarterback. Yes the crowd will clearly be on his side, but this is his first taste of big time SEC pressure with a big, fast, nasty defense snarling on the other side, complete with an outstanding coordinator in Jon Hoke. The offense is going to have to “take its medicine,” “take the bogey,” and punt a couple of times. Georgia outstanding defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt will have to draw up a great plan, plus the special teams must deliver.
[su_spacer size=”40”] 5. Stars Must Shine
[su_spacer size=”40″] This goes for any big game, and will be repeated for Bama, the Vols, Mizzou, etc. To win the big games, a team’s best players must play big. So for Georgia, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Malcolm Mitchell, Jeb Blazevich, Greg Pyke, Leonard Floyd, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Carter, Dominick Sanders and Isaiah McKenzie – just to name a few – need to make those difference-making plays for Georgia to prevail. Think back to South Carolina’s last win in Athens, 45-42 in 2011. Marcus Lattimore, Jadaveon Clowney, Melvin Ingram and Stephon Gilmore – that’s three first rounders, and Lattimore would have been were it not for the knee injuries – that carried the Gamecocks to victory. Georgia needs that kind of performance from its front-liners Saturday night between the hedges.