CFB Game Of The Week: Georgia vs South Carolina Recap

Chris Schisler
College Football Game Of The Week
Presented by Yogolaada

The 6th ranked Georgia Bulldogs traveled to Williams-Brice Stadium to do battle with the 24th ranked South Carolina Gamecocks. A weather delay made the 3:30 slated game start at 5:00 pm. Rain would be present all day but the thunder and lightning went away.The delay had no impact on the intensity of the stadium. The Gamecocks “Sandstorm” song seemed to create as much noise as ever.

South Carolina marched down the field with ease on their opening drive. Dylan Thompson completed 3 passes in the middle of the field that were wide open. Coverage problems were not the only thing to trouble Georgia’s defense. They burned a timeout to prevent being penalized for 12 men being on the field. The drive ended with a back shoulder touchdown pass from Thompson to Shaq Roland. It was a sharply sent statement; South Carolina brought their A game.

Georgia struck back quickly. Their drive started with great field position as the Gamecocks pooched the kickoff to avoid Heisman candidate, Todd Gurley II from touching the football. Two plays later Hutson Mason threw a 33 yard touchdown pass to Sony Michel. All signs pointed to a classic SEC barn burner.

The next Gamecocks drive ended early with a fumble by Mike Davis. Fortunately for South Carolina, the Bulldogs only managed to get a field goal. In this game kicking a field goal was like bringing a knife to a gun fight. South Carolina marched right back down the field to score a touchdown. Dylan Thompson was on fire and the Bulldogs defense got gashed. The drive lasted 11 plays and over 5 minutes and it made the score 14-10.

Dylan Thompson led three touchdown drives in the first half. Going into the game, the matchup was all about the running backs. But it was South Carolina’s quarterback that put on a show. Thompson had 240 yards passing and three touchdowns in one half of football. Thompson seemed unstoppable but Georgia’s defense was pretty weak. Mike Davis was stuffed at the line and only averaged 2.4 yards a carry. Georgia had a 54 yard Todd Gurley II touchdown called back because of a holding penalty.

The score at halftime was 24-13. At this point the difference in the game was Georgia’s inability to find the end zone. The Bulldogs attempted 3 field goals, only making 2 of them. The Gamecocks controlled the half and scored 3 touchdowns and a last second field goal. The Gamecocks had about 5 minutes more in time of possession by sustaining long drives. If it were not for one big play and a Gamecocks turnover, Georgia may not have been in this game. Georgia was awful on third down situations as they were 0 for 5 on first half third down conversions. Hutson Mason’s only incompletions of the half were on third downs.

The second half started with a beautifully powerful touchdown drive that featured a whole lot of Todd Gurley. Gurley had 4 carries on the drive that included a 40 yard dazzler, a 4th down conversion and a 2 yard touchdown. It was exactly what Mark Richt’s team wanted; they plowed forward with their ground attack and scored. The score was 24-20 after a critical Bulldogs touchdown.

South Carolina was not intimidated and came right back to take momentum. The Gamecocks shredded the Bulldogs defense, scoring on their 4th 75 yard drive. The score was 31-20. Dylan Thompson and the Gamecocks offense were dominant. At this point in the contest they had 373 yards. South Carolina quickly got the ball back, Georgia went 3 & out on the next drive. Georgia was down 11 points and time was becoming a factor.

The Bulldogs defense came up with a much needed 3 & out. The first play was a stuffed run behind South Carolina’s mammoth left guard and tackle. The second play was Georgia’s first sack of the game which they got with a double A gap blitz. The sack was a burst of hope for a desperate Bulldogs team. The Bulldogs looked like they would squander the opportunity their defense earned the offense. A 3rd & 11 became a 3rd & 16 after a false start. Todd Gurley ran across the field both ways, looking like Barry Sanders and picking up the first down. It was one of the most entertaining plays you’ll ever see. The Bulldogs started the fourth quarter with a touchdown and two point conversion. Georgia came within 3; the scoreboard read 31-28.

The pressure was right back on the Gamecocks offense. The offense was brilliant most of the day and it needed to continue their stellar play. The offense got great field position after a big kickoff return to the 42 yard line. The brilliance continued. 4 running plays for 58 yards put South Carolina back up by 10 points. Georgia had been climbing from behind all game long; if they were to win this game it would be the hard way.

The Bulldogs still had fight in them. The offense had a very impressive 11 play touchdown drive, in which they converted on a couple third and longs. The game hinged on Georgia’s defense. If they could get a stop it would give the Dogs a chance to take the lead. The Dogs defense got the Gamecocks on a third & long. The biggest play imaginable happened as Damian Swan intercepted Thompson. Georgia got the ball in the red zone with a huge opportunity. The opportunity was wasted as Marshall Morgan missed his second field goal.

After the blood pressure raising missed field goal, the Bulldogs needed to shrug it off and stop the Gamecocks. On a 3rd & 7 South Carolina barely was stopped short. This set up a 4th & an inch. Yes, if you needed a reminder, it is a game of inches. It was a fourth and very short for the “Old Ball Coach” anything could happen. On a muddled view the spot was a hard jib fir the refs. Georgia seemed to have stuffed the QB sneak and it was closer than any call I can remember. It was a controversial finish to an amazing game. The Gamecocks won 38-35.

The Bulldogs may have lost by inches but they left points on the board. Two missed field goals were the real difference. Regardless of what killed Georgia’s chances they did a lot wrong. The offense settled for too many field goals and were mostly terrible on third downs. The defense was embarrassingly poor. Credit should go to the winners though. Dylan Thompson especially had an incredible game. Every time Georgia came back, South Carolina made big plays to stay ahead.

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