As poorly as the defense played, Georgia had plenty of opportunities to win on Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Jeremy Pruitt failed miserably in his first big test as an SEC defensive coordinator, as his unit gave up 447 yards to South Carolina.

Here are five takeaways from Georgia’s loss to the Gamecocks:

  • Offense isn’t the problem: After hearing all week how long it had been since they scored 20 points or more in Columbia, the Georgia offense actually played very well. Hutson Mason proved he can perform serviceably in a tough road environment; he threw for 191 yards and a touchdown on 16-of-22 passing. Todd Gurley got his yards as well, rushing for 131 yards on 20 carries. The Bulldogs matched Carolina score-for-score, but a missed field goal cost them late after the defense forced a turnover.
  • The secondary has some serious holes: When they played zone, South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson torched the Georgia defense. The ‘Dawgs’ man coverage was soft with two high safeties playing deep leaving the middle of the field wide open for the likes of Rory Anderson, Nick Jones, Pharoh Cooper and Shaq Roland. Georgia got no pressure up front giving Thompson plenty of time to read through his progressions and make a throw.
  • Georgia hasn’t turned the ball over: What made the Gamecocks’ win more impressive is that Georgia won the turnover battle. Senior cornerback Damian Swann picked off Thompson in the fourth quarter and Lorenzo Carter recovered a South Carolina fumble in which running back Brandon Wilds dropped an option toss. The Bulldogs are now +3 on the season in turnover margin.
  • The Bulldogs’ freshmen are really good: The same rotation of true freshman saw significant action Saturday afternoon against the Gamecocks and showed no signs of stage fright. On the Bulldogs’ opening drive, Mason hit back-to-back passes to Isaiah McKenzie and Sony Michel that tied the game at seven. Later in the first quarter, Carter recovered the aforementioned fumble in Gamecock territory.
  • Third downs an issue for ‘Dawgs: Georgia converted just 38 percent of third downs; the same mark it converted in its opener three weeks ago. The Bulldogs left 13 points out on the field with a Gurley touchdown run called back due to a holding penalty and Marshall Morgan’s two missed field goals. If the Bulldogs want to compete in a wide open SEC East, they’ll have to extend drives by moving the chains.