Rapid Reaction: Boom! South Carolina shocks UGA, rocks SEC East
South Carolina pulled off the biggest shocker of the 2019 college football season on Saturday, beating Georgia 20-17 in double overtime in Athens.
The result, with No. 3 Georgia falling to an unranked Gamecocks squad, shook up the SEC East race and the College Football Playoff race as well.
The Gamecocks’ Parker White, who missed a chance to win it in the first overtime, hit a 24-yard field goal in the second OT to put South Carolina ahead. Then Georgia’s top-notch kicker, Rodrigo Blankenship, missed a 42-yard field goal which would have forced a third OT and sent the Bulldogs to the first defeat of the season.
Georgia’s drive in 2OT went nowhere — D’Andre Swift, who rushed for 113 yards in the game, ran for no gain on first down, then Jake Fromm threw incompletions on second and third downs.
It was South Carolina’s first win over an AP Top-5 team since 2013
In the second overtime, Georgia’s Tyler Clark stuffed a third-down run, and South Carolina took the lead for good (as it turned out) on White’s field goal.
In the first overtime South Carolina had a perfect chance to put the Dawgs away before the 2OT dramatics.
Israel Mukuamu picked off a Fromm pass on the first Georgia possession, the defensive back’s third interception of the day. The Gamecocks kept the ball on the ground for three straight plays to give White a chance at a winning field goal, but he missed the 33-yarder.
After the Bulldogs took an early 3-0 lead on a long field goal by Blankenship on their first drive, the Gamecocks found the scoreboard with 1 minute, 58 seconds left in the 1st quarter. Ryan Hilinski (15-of-20, 116 yards) found Bryan Edwards with a nice pass on the left sideline. Edwards, who had six catxhes for 78 yards, escaped his defenders and made a great catch on his way to the end zone to put the Gamecocks up 7-3.
Georgia was quick to respond. A steady dose of runs from Swift and Zamir White, who handled Brian Herrien’s usual touches in the lineup, dotted a 9-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 1-yard Swift punch-in to put the Bulldogs up 10-7.
Then things took a bad turn for Georgia. After White’s 49-yard field goal tied the score at 10 with 3 minutes left in the 1st half, Fromm, facing heavy pressure at his own 47, forced a throw to the right sideline that was picked off by Mukuamu and returned 53 yards to give South Carolina a 17-10 lead with a minute to go.
Blankenship’s 53-yard field goal attempt to end the half was then tipped at the line by D.J. Wonnum, and if Bulldogs fans weren’t a little shell-shocked after the pick 6 — Fromm’s first interception all season — they were at this point.
On the other end of the spectrum, South Carolina fans had plenty to cheer for, but those feelings went sour on the Gamecocks’ 2nd drive of the 2nd half as both Hilinski and Edwards had to be led off the field after both sustained leg injuries. That meant that Dakereon Joyner, the 3rd quarterback the Gamecocks have played this year, took over behind center.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s offense, held scoreless since the 1st quarter thanks to South Carolina’s stiff defense, appeared to come alive to close out the 3rd, but a botched handoff between Fromm and center Trey Hill on the opening play of the 4th was recovered by the Gamecocks. Later, with more than 9 minutes remaining and the Bulldogs looking once more to put together a scoring drive, Fromm (28-of-51, 295 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs) threw his second pick of the afternoon, again to the right sideline and again grabbed by Mukuamu.
Georgia’s offense came through in the latter stages of the 4th quarter. A drive that had advanced to the South Carolina 11 looked as if it would fizzle on 4th down, but a South Carolina holding penalty reset the downs. Then Fromm found Demetrius Robertson on the very next play at the back of the end zone to tie it at 17 with 1:48 left in regulation.
That left it to Joyner to set the Gamecocks up for a potential winning field goal as White was called upon to attempt a 58-yard field goal with 40 seconds left on 4th down, but the chance came up well short. Then in the final seconds, Georgia got to Blankenship’s range but was burned by an illegal substitution penalty and the game headed to overtime.