Gamecocks' depleted defense dominated by Georgia
Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Cade Crenshaw | @CadeCren
COLUMBIA, SC --- Last October, Coach Will Muschamp and the South Carolina Gamecocks went to Athens, Ga., and upset the fifth-ranked Bulldogs, 20-17, in overtime with Israel Mukuamu having three interceptions.
Over a year later, that game feels like a distant memory as Muschamp has been fired and Mukuamu has opted-out of the season. Georgia didn’t forget about that overtime upset. They stomped the Gamecocks 45-16 Saturday night and got their revenge.
Georgia quarterback JT Daniels threw for 139 yards and two touchdowns against the Gamecocks. While Bulldog fans have been desperate for competent quarterback play, they did not really need it against the Gamecocks. Georgia’s rushing attack dominated an injury and opt-out depleted South Carolina defense.
With nine of the defensive starters from the season opener for the Gamecocks missing, Georgia’s running backs totaled 332 yards. James White and Zamir White had two touchdowns each.
Gamecock fans were hopeful coming into this game as freshman quarterback Luke Doty was set to make his first career start, but as the Bulldogs led 21-0 towards the end of the first quarter, those hopes quickly turned back into worries.
As the first quarter was ending however, South Carolina finally found their offensive spark. Doty would drive the Gamecocks down the field on an eight play, 65-yard drive capped off by a one-yard rushing score from running back Kevin Harris.
Harris came into the game needing just 125 rushing yards to reach the 1,000 mark on the season, but he would total just 53 yards against the stingy Bulldog defense.
The offensive spark would carry over to the next drive for South Carolina as Parker White would kick a 39-yard field goal to draw closer to the Bulldogs’ lead.
Georgia would respond, however, with a touchdown run by James Cook and take a 28-10 lead into halftime. They would put it out of reach in the third quarter.
From the beginning of the second half to the first play in the fourth quarter, South Carolina totaled just 17 offensive yards. In that same time frame, Georgia would score 17 points.
Following a fumble on a kickoff, the Gamecocks would be pinned at their own two-yard line with just over nine minutes left in the game and trailing by 35 points.
Doty gave the few fans still in their seats a reward for staying. South Carolina would close out the game with a scoring drive that ended with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Doty to tight end Nick Muse, the first of both of their Gamecock careers.
Doty completed 18 of 22 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown and an interception in the loss. Muse, a transfer from William & Mary, had his breakout game for the Gamecocks with eight catches for 131 yards and his first FBS touchdown.
“Nick Muse is made of the right stuff,” Interim Coach Mike Bobo said, “He’s what you want as a Gamecock, because he cares. It’s important to him.”
The Gamecocks are now 2-7. They will wrap up their pandemic-shortened schedule next week on the road at Kentucky.