In this heavyweight battle between SEC powers the #5 Georgia Bulldogs will head to Williams-Brice Stadium to take on the #6 South Carolina Gamecocks. This game features one team with a superb offense which is led by a spectacular running game (Georgia) versus a defense that has been one of the most dominant units in the nation all season long (South Carolina). Here are some things and players to watch for in this top ten ranked grudge match.
Entering the game Georgia ranks 29th in the FBS in passing yards per game (285.6), 11th in rushing yards (250.4), eighth in points scored per game (48.2) and 47th in points allowed per game (22). In comparison, South Carolina ranks 60th in passing yards per game (237.2), 57th in rushing yards per game (171.8), 34th in points scored per game (36.6) and sixth in points allowed per game (11.2).
The Bulldogs (5-0, 3-0 in SEC) will look for a great balance of their air attack led by junior quarterback Aaron Murray with their potent ground game led by freshmen backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall to keep South Carolina’s dominant defense guessing throughout this one. Murray has had a very good season so far passing for 1,370 yards along with 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions while completing 68.2% of his passes. Georgia’s pair of first-year running backs have electrified so far this year with Gurley rushing for 536 yards and nine touchdowns on 68 carries while Marshal has carried the ball 52 times for 428 yards and five touchdowns of his own. These three players and their success against the Gamecocks defense will undoubtedly be the key to whether or not the Bulldogs remain perfect at the end of this contest.
The Gamecocks (5-0, 3-0 in SEC) are certainly a defensive orientated team but they are going to need their offense to produce plenty of points in this game because Georgia is definitely capable of lighting up the scoreboard quickly. Most of the burden with making the offense run smoothly will fall on the shoulders (or should I say the legs) of the Gamecocks’ junior star running back Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore appears completely healthy following last season’s horrific knee injury as so far this year he has rushed for 440 yards and two touchdowns on 50 carries. If Lattimore can control the tempo of the game running the ball and quarterback Connor Shaw (50-64 for 571 yards, 5 TD and 2 INT this season) can make enough plays with his arm then South Carolina can defeat Georgia and take over sole possession of first place in the SEC East (with a Florida loss to LSU happening as well).
Even though South Carolina’s defense is very formidable I think Georgia’s backfield is just too strong for them and I like the Bulldogs to pull out a tough road victory 34-24 in this one.