COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Gamecocks got a reality check on Saturday when the Georgia Bulldogs came to town and defeated the Gamecocks in impressive fashion. The Bulldogs proved that they are one of the elite teams in college football and the Gamecocks aren’t.
South Carolina got the ball first in the game and came out with the intent to move the ball down the field via the pass. On that opening drive quarterback Jake Bentley threw a pick-6 that resulted in Georgia’s first points of the game.
The Gamecocks next drive wouldn’t be much more successful as they were unable to move the ball and punted to the Bulldogs who scored just a few plays later to go up 14-0. South Carolina was able to put a drive together after that to cut the score to 14-7 on a touchdown pass from wide receiver Deebo Samuel to Bryan Edwards.
On the Bulldogs next drive quarterback Jake Fromm threw an interception to Gamecock defensive back Fenton, but the Gamecocks were unable to capitalize on the takeaway and came away with no points. Georgia would kick two more field goals in the half and South Carolina would kick one and the score was 20-10 at the half.
To me at this point it felt like the game was much worse than it really was. Yes, South Carolina was only down ten points but it felt like the lead was much bigger than that. The Gamecocks has been unable to move the ball very well on offense and the defense was bending a lot but not really breaking. Georgia had moved the ball with relative ease. The second half would prove that.
Georgia came out firing on all cylinders in the second half. Georgia would score early in the second half and often. The Bulldogs scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 41-10 lead. South Carolina was able to add a touchdown late in the fourth to make the final 41-17.
On the way out of the game I heard many Gamecock fans talking about how bad the team was and how upset they were with the performance. That is understandable, as the performance was not good. To me, however, I think that this game was more of an indictment of how good Georgia is instead of how bad South Carolina is. I don’t think the Gamecocks are a bad football team, they just aren’t nearly as good as Georgia. The Bulldogs, in my opinion, are one of the top two teams in the country.
The Gamecocks were never going to compete for the National Championship or even the SEC title this year. This team is a good football team but they are not on the level of Georgia, Alabama, or Clemson. Coach Will Mushcamp is building a program and has so far exceeded everyone’s expectations of where this program should be. Gamecock fans need to take a step back and look at where this program was three years ago versus where it is now. This is an eight, maybe nine win football team. They still have a long way to go before being able to compete with the Georgias of the world. They have competed and been there before but they fell hard and far and it’s taking a while to climb that ladder one rung at a time.
This week the Gamecocks should get back on track as the play host to the Marshall Thundering Herd. These two teams have only met one time before and that was 20 years ago in 1998. Marshall won that game 24-21. The Gamecocks only won one game that season, an opening week victory over Ball State. After that season Coach Brad Scott was fired and Lou Holtz took over at the helm. Chad Pennington was the quarterback of the Marshall Team. Pennington went on to have an eleven year NFL career most of which was spent in New York with the Jets.
Tyler Shugart is the host of “Bump and Run” from 7-9 a.m. on Fox Sports 1400 AM 98.3 FM in Spartanburg. He can be reached at [email protected]