10 quick thoughts on South Carolina’s 20-17 overtime win over Georgia.
South Carolina 20, Georgia 17 OT
10. So much for the hot start. Georgia made a huge deal after the struggles at Tennessee that it needed to be sharper early on and come out with more production – it shouldn’t be such a struggle going into the locker room. Instead, the offense sputtered, Jake Fromm threw the pick six, and the Dawgs were down 17-10 at halftime. All of a sudden, South Carolina looked and played like it could win this thing.
9. The Georgia running game couldn’t get going. D’Andre Swift had a 113-yard rushing day, but he didn’t have any big dashes, and the team averaged fewer than four yards per carry. The South Carolina run defense is good, but it took its game up another level. The amazing Georgia offensive front couldn’t take control.
8. A 58-yard field goal try with 40 seconds to go? With the game tied at 17, South Carolina went for the lead, and PK Parker White has the leg, but that’s asking for WAY too much on a bomb of a try. Even worse, it gave Fromm time with a time left on the clock to get 30 yards in range for Rodrigo Blankenship.
Considering the way the defense was playing, it wasn’t that horrible a try, but watch out for Will Muschamp to get ripped to shreds for not keeping the offense on the field and going for the 4th and 3. At worst, you miss, and you’re in the same situation. Convert, and obviously the Gamecocks have the puck on their stick for the win. In the end, it worked out. Georgia imploded with a bad illegal shift penalty, wasn’t in field goal range, and ended up going into overtime.
7. South Carolina QB Ryan Hilinski was having a game. He hit 15-of-20 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown with no picks before suffering a leg injury. Dakereon Joyner couldn’t do much of anything through the air, but he added enough mobility to give the Gamecock defense issues. He wasn’t able to lead the way to any points in the second half, but he didn’t make any colossal mistakes.
6. The South Carolina linebackers balled out in a big, big way. Ernest Jones and TJ Brunson were all over the field, and it was a terrific effort in the team’s best overall performance of the season. They swarmed all over the Georgia ground game, they never let Fromm get comfortable, and they didn’t let the plays get to the second level. It also helped that …
5. Israel Mukuamu just had himself a day. The sophomore safety made 11 tackles, took a Fromm pass 53 yards for the pick-six at the end of the first half, and he came up with what turned into the game-sealing interception in overtime off the tipped pass.
His second pick, though, was probably the most impressive with the dive, extension, and grab. The D did enough, but …
4. College kickers. Parker White hit 7-of-9 field goals on the season, and he nailed the 49-yard try in the second quarter. All he had to do was hit a 33-yarder and South Carolina has one of the most amazing wins in the Will Muschamp era. Wide right. He did, though, nail the field goal in the second overtime for the lead, and Rodrigo Blankenship missed his shot.
3. +4. That’s what South Carolina was in turnover margin. Fromm threw three picks, the Gamecocks didn’t make any big mistakes, and it pulled out the great win with fewer than 300 yards of total offense and 11 penalties. USC didn’t play all that great, but the defense did its job and the team stayed alive, stayed alive, stayed alive, and it pulled it off. And now …
2. South Carolina can dream of a bowl game again. It’s now 3-3 and has to come up with three more wins with Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Appalachian State all a must. With this win, the Gamecocks are playing with house money – they got their big victory. However, blowing one of those three games, and struggling against Florida, at Texas A&M and Clemson, would ruin it all. It’s not happening now. This is the season-maker.
1. UGH UGA … the team just isn’t looking or playing good enough. However …
It kinda sorta doesn’t matter.
Of course the loss is a big deal overall to the SEC and to Georgia, but it has to beat Florida no matter what, and it has to win the SEC Championship. This takes out the potential of a 12-0 Georgia team getting into the CFP with a loss in the SEC title game, and there’s no more margin for error.
With the way the Dawgs are playing, it’s a TALL order, but remember, Clemson was the College Football Playoff No. 1 seed two years ago and it lost to a Syracuse team that went 4-8.
IF Georgia wins out – and that means it’ll have to beat Florida, Auburn, Texas A&M, and then take out Bama or LSU in the SEC Championship – of course it gets into the College Football Playoff.
This, however, certainly doesn’t help.