South Carolina Gamecocks inept on offense and defense in Georgia loss
Georgia won the 63rd installment of its rivalry with South Carolina in convincing fashion during Week 3 play.
For South Carolina, the 52-20 loss exposed many of young Gamecocks’ weaknesses on both sides of the ball. While No. 7 Georgia flexed its muscles as the SEC East’s team-to-beat, South Carolina is forced to ask itself some serious questions.
Here’s a breakdown of South Carolina’s Week 3 performance against Georgia.
- The Gamecocks had some fight in their offense until starting tailback Brandon Wilds and center Alan Knott left the game with injuries in the second quarter. The Gamecock offense just wasn’t the same in the second half as Wilds’ replacement David Williams finished with 22 yards on the ground.
- The South Carolina defense can’t stop anyone — allowing Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert set an NCAA-record for accuracy. Lambert completed 24-of-25 passes.
- Steve Spurrier’s offense has no identity and no stars. South Carolina saw 13 different players tally a rush or reception against the Bulldogs. Aside from Lorenzo Nunez, no Gamecock produced more than 34 yards — rushing or receiving.
- As the deficit escalated out of control in the second half, so, too, did some chippy play between the Bulldogs and Gamecocks. That said, South Carolina played a relatively penalty-free game, being flagged just four times for 40 yards.
- South Carolina had won four of their last five meetings with Georgia, but the opposite directions these two programs are heading in was painfully evident in Week 3. South Carolina showed a few glimpses of brilliance, but the Gamecocks felt overmatched throughout the entire game and perhaps showed signs of Spurrier’s weakening recruiting classes.
Offense: C- — The offense struggled mightily in Perry Orth’s (66 yards) first career start under center. The ‘Cocks rushed for 174 yards and passed for a paltry 84. The offense flashed glimpses of greatness, especially with a spark created by backup quarterback Lorenzo Nunez, who led the team in rushing (76 yards), but a non-existent passing offense doomed South Carolina.
Defense: D — The Gamecocks defense surrendered 576 yards and allowed Georgia to score in seven of its eight trips to the red zone.
Special Teams: A — Steve Spurrier praised his squad’s special teams play after the 52-20 loss. That was about the extent of his praises. Elliott Fry hit field goals of 45 and 51 yards, and Shon Carson returned kicks for 162 total yards.
Coaching: C — Steve Spurrier finally got creative late in the second quarter, utilizing a gadget play with Pharoh Cooper and an effective option offense. Perry Orth capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, but the excitement was short-lived.
Overall: D — The defense couldn’t stop Georgia. The offense showed some spark, but was wildly ineffective, if not downright inept.
South Carolina wanted to control the clock against Georgia, and, for the most part, did. The Gamecocks held the ball longer than Georgia 30:38 minutes to 29:22. The problem was stopping the Bulldogs. Georgia doubled up South Carolina in first downs (32-16), more than doubled them up in total yards 576-256, and didn’t punt until the game was well out of hand.
- QB Lorenzo Nunez: The freshman quarterback flashed his speed in an alternate-option role, leading the Gamecocks in rushing with 76 yards and a 7-yard rushing score. He completed four of his five passes, but only connected for 18 yards.
- PK Elliott Fry: Elliott Fry hit a career-high 51-yard field goal as time expired on the first half to give the Gamecocks some momentum heading into the half. The junior hit both his attempts, also connecting from 45 yards out.
- KR Shon Carson: Shon Carson led the Gamecocks with 169 all-purpose yards — with 162 of them coming on kick returns. His 51-yard scamper with time running out in the second quarter set up Elliott Fry for a 51-yard field goal as time expired on the half.
- C Alan Knott left the game at the 12:33 mark of the second quarter with a sprained left ankle and didn’t return. True freshman Zack Bailey replaced the injured redshirt sophomore and shook off some early jitters.
- Brandon Wilds went down with roughly five minutes to play in the second half. The Gamecocks starting tailback did not return after suffering a bruised left rib.