Sara Yang/The Daily Gamecock

Gamecocks drop prime-time SEC matchup to Bulldogs

Coming into Saturday's matchup under high expectations being ranked for the first time since September 2014 in the AP polls, the No. 24 South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1 SEC) fell to the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 SEC) 41-17 in South Carolina's second home game of the season at Williams-Brice Stadium. 

South Carolina has not defeated Georgia since the 2014 season in Columbia. On Sept. 13, 2014, the Gamecocks outlasted the Bulldogs by three points: 38-35. 

The Bulldogs struck early, as an interception from Juwan Taylor and a 17-yard run from D'Andre Swift put Georgia up 14-0 within the first five minutes of the game. Going into halftime, the Bulldogs were up 20-10 on the Gamecocks. 

Leading off a tipped pass from Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley in Georgia's first scoring play of the afternoon, the junior starter recollected after the game that mistakes were made with regard to where he wanted the ball to go. 

"I have to put the ball in a better spot to make it easier to catch," Bentley said. "With Rico [Dowdle] ... granted it was at his head but I know he likes them at his chest, so I have to do a better job with that. Other things may have been a little too tight, it may have got there ... but go look at it, maybe there was other places to go that maybe weren't so contested." 

South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp acknowleged the difficulties the Gamecocks faced while on the line of scrimmage. However, with it only being week two, South Carolina has the ability to make improvements based off what the team learned in Saturday's game against one of the top programs in the nation.

"We got whooped on the line of scrimmage," Muschamp said. "At the end of the day, we discussed that the line of scrimmage would be a key part of the game and we did not perform well. We wanted to have a balanced offense establishing the run and the pass game. At times our run game was effective on some scoring drives. We had 46 snaps in the first half offensively, which I felt well about ... Disappointed with how we played, but Georgia has a great team. I would also like to thank our fans for all of the support. But we have a lot of ball to play, and we are going to keep working hard." 

Bryan Edwards recorded two touchdowns for the Gamecocks, with the first coming during a point of the game in which Williams-Brice was filled with a raucous atmosphere. His second and final touchdown of the afternoon came in the second half, off a perfectly coordinated 44-yard pass from Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley. 

"We're going to continue to get him the ball more and create some one-on-ones," Muschamp said. "He's a good football player and a competitive young man, and we've got to continue to find ways to get him the ball." 

The Gamecocks will return home next Saturday for their third consecutive appearance of 2018 at Williams-Brice Stadium as they take on the Marshall Thundering Herd (2-0-0). South Carolina will be under the lights for the first time this season as part of a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. 

"We've got a lot of football ahead of us," Muschamp said. "The big thing we need to do is be technical. Starting with me and all the way down with what we need to do to improve ... We'll put it all into Marshall next week." 

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