Leading up to this week’s matchup against South Carolina, Saturday Down South’s Jordan Cox breaks down the battle between the Bulldogs and the Gamecocks.

South Carolina Gamecocks
Week 3 at South Carolina (3:30 p.m. EST; CBS)

THE SKINNY: We’ve heard it all week; Georgia is one of the top teams in the country after its huge win against Clemson and South Carolina has yet to look like itself. While that’s true, this game will separate one team in the SEC East and if there’s any coach who can prepare an underachieving team for a big game, it’s the Head Ball Coach. Both teams expect the best effort from the other, and this game should mirror the recent ones in Columbia: low-scoring and physical.

KEY PLAYER: Hutson Mason. For many of you, Todd Gurley would be the obvious choice, but Mason is going to have be effective and play well if the ‘Dawgs are going to come out of Williams-Brice with a win. On the other side, Mike Davis is who you need to watch for South Carolina. He’s been hampered during the first two games with a rib injury, but this is a personal game for the Georgia native, so look for him to make his presence felt.

WHAT TO WATCH: Both defenses. For Georgia, can the front seven create pressure on Dylan Thompson and the Gamecocks’ offensive line? With South Carolina’s playmakers out wide, look for Georgia to bring blitzes in order to make Thompson get rid of the ball early. For the Gamecocks, can its pass defense hold up against Mason and the Georgia passing game? After attempting just 26 passes against Clemson, expect offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to throw the ball more against one of the nation’s worst secondaries.

FINAL SAY: Not so fast, my friend. Georgia hasn’t scored 20 points or more in Columbia in 20 years. The line continues to creep down as we near kickoff, so the experts expect a close one. I think they’re correct; it’s the first road test for Georgia that’s historically been a tough place to play for them. South Carolina will be hungry and eager to get its season back on track with an upset.