Rapid Reaction: Georgia runs all over South Carolina for Kirby Smart's 50th win
Last season, Georgia was left searching for answers after a 20-17 upset loss at home against unranked South Carolina.
It served up a healthy dose of revenge on Saturday.
A dominant rushing performance was the difference as the Bulldogs routed the Gamecocks 45-16 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, the 50th career win for Kirby Smart as the head coach of Georgia. After 8 rushing yards in their last game against Mississippi State, the Dawgs finished with 332 against a banged-up Gamecocks defense.
Georgia made the most of its opening possession. Less than 3 minutes into the 1st quarter, it took a 7-0 lead on a Tre’ McKitty receiving touchdown from JT Daniels.
But it was the ground game that stole the show on this night. Helped in part by a 44-yard run by Zamir White, it opened up a 14-0 cushion on its next drive as James Cook took a pitch along the left side of the defense from 5 yards out an easy score.
The advantage grew to 21-0 as the Dawgs strung together 5 straight running plays, capped by a much-too-easy 22-yard scoring run by White with less than 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the 1st for his 2nd touchdown of the evening.
South Carolina briefly showed signs of life on its next 2 possessions.
Highlighted by a 35-yard flea-flicker from Luke Doty to Nick Muse, the Gamecocks’ ensuing drive ended with a short punch-in by Kevin Harris on the 1st play of the 2nd quarter. They found themselves on the move again after a Bulldogs 3-and-out, aided in part by a questionable pass interference call on Georgia, but ultimately settled for a 39-yard Parker White field goal to cut it to 21-10.
The Dawgs’ run-heavy offensive attack, though, struck again as Cook had another easy trip to the end zone — this one from 29 yards out as their lead grew to 28-10. Parker White’s 53-yard try late in the frame sailed left of the uprights as Georgia took an 18-point lead into the locker room, holding a 208-52 edge in rushing as Cook and Zamir White combined for 16 carries, 173 yards, and 3 touchdowns in the opening half.
As for Daniels, he wasn’t called upon heavily following his massive debut against Mississippi State as the Dawgs largely kept it on the ground.
Georgia went to work immediately in the 3rd quarter. Following a South Carolina 3-and-out, an excellent punt return by Kearis Jackson put the Dawgs at the Gamecocks’ 13, and they capitalized as White scored his 2nd touchdown of the game to make it 35-10. Later, a Jack Podlesny 32-yard field goal stretched it to 38-10.
A 31-yard touchdown by true freshman Arian Smith — the 1st of his career — made it 45-10 to open the 4th following Tyson Campbell’s 1st career interception. A consolation touchdown from Doty to Muse saw the Gamecocks tack on a consolation score with the game well out of hand.