E-mail Pete Fiutak
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Oh those college kickers and chain gangs.
Neither team played a lick of defense until late, and both offenses moved the ball without too much of a problem, but Georgia needed to do everything right against a fired up and sharp South Carolina team, and the record-setting, ultra-accurate kicker missed some chippies.
Georgia PK Marshall Morgan didn’t lose the game for Georgia – the offense did in the first half by settling for field goals, and the defense did in key moments as South Carolina’s Dylan Thompson threw efficiently and effectively with three touchdown passes and 271 yards, and the running game plowed away when it absolutely had to proving that for all the talent, and with so many great linebackers, and with a terrific defensive coordinator in Jeremy Pruitt, Georgia still needs to come up with more D before it can think about finally getting over the hump.
And now life begins again for South Carolina. Going 0-2 in SEC play with two home losses would’ve been a deathblow, but if the Gamecocks run the table, they’re the SEC champ and they’re in the College Football Playoff – if they find more of a pass rush and a stronger D, too.
As expected, Todd Gurley was brilliant, and as expected, South Carolina came out with a tremendous effort, and despite the rain and the late start, it was almost exactly what everyone expected.
Except for the two Morgan missed field goals, and in the SEC with such a razor-thin margin between championship potential and being an also-ran, Georgia missed its chance to take a huge step forward, literally, both on the kicks and the final spot of a South Carolina 4th-and-1, by inches.
E-mail Rich Cirminiello
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Earn a Ph.D. in college football … class is in session at Campus Insiders
It was fitting that this latest brawl between Georgia and South Carolina would come down to an ever-so-slightly wide right field goal try and a razor-thin spot in the final 90 seconds. The difference between the teams was a link in the down marker chain, both literally and figuratively.
So much for Georgia being the top-ranked team in the country. Sure, there’s plenty of time for the Dawgs to ascend, but on what basis was this the team to beat anyway? A strong second-half versus Clemson? An epic performance by one guy, Todd Gurley? It was far too convenient to dismiss the fact that QB Hutson Mason hasn’t proven anything yet, or that the Georgia D still has a ton of growing up left to be done.
And so much for heaping the dirt on South Carolina. The Gamecocks, too, are flawed, but they’ve gotten off the Week 1 mat to beat East Carolina, which shocked Virginia Tech today, and now rival Georgia. The D isn’t as bad as it looked on that first Thursday night of the season, and QB Dylan Thompson has taken charge of the offense. Plus, it helps immensely that Brandon Wilds can pick up the slack on the ground, because it looks like Mike Davis might not be 100% healthy all year.
Once inch in a different direction, and the outcome might have been different in Columbia. That’s often the margin of error in inter-divisional rivalry games the magnitude of Georgia vs. South Carolina.
By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN
This year in the SEC is going to be a wild, wild ride.
They say college football is a game of inches, and it held true today. In a game that may have had the most exciting first down measurement ever, along with a field goal that literally curved around both sides of the goalpost, we still don’t know just how good either team is, or who’s the top dog in the conference.
The Gamecocks were the recipients of a public flogging at the hands of Texas A&M in week one, and Georgia’s defense has some work to do in order to pull the same weight as Todd Gurley and the offense.
The Bulldogs got gashed in the first half against Clemson, then looked like world beaters in the second half, only to find it impossible to get off the field late in the game in this one. As a result, the coaching staff will need to work some magic defensively to get Georgia in championship form – but it was oh so close to being the other way.
The rest of the league is also anyone’s guess. There are a ton of question marks in a league that is deep and talented, and just when you thought you had it all figured out, South Carolina rises up to let’s everyone know that it’s still a factor in this whole thing — maybe.
The real question after this instant classic is not about the two teams that played in Columbia, but one that resides in College Station. If the Aggies dismantled this South Carolina team at home, then where is their ceiling? We may not know until a few weeks into the season until we don’t know again.
Yeah, this SEC season is sure to be a fun ride.
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