The South Carolina football team failed to produce on either side of the ball all game during its 48-7 loss against the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs Saturday.
The Gamecocks were outmatched right from the opening kickoff. After picking up a first down on the first play of the game, the team’s offense stalled and punted the ball to Georgia for the first of many punts on the day.
Every possession except the final drive of the game ended in either a punt or turnover for the Gamecocks.
During South Carolina's second drive of the game, redshirt junior quarterback junior Spencer Rattler connected on a big passing play with junior tight-end Jaheim Bell for 46 yards. However, immediately after Rattler threw his first of two interceptions for the game, giving the ball back to Georgia. This season, Rattler has thrown for two touchdowns and five interceptions.
“We felt like, even if you go back to last year's game … we felt good about our opportunities to make big plays downfield, and Jaheim showed it on that one, and we just got to not make mistakes like that,” head coach Shane Beamer said.
In the first half, the Gamecocks earned just 153 total yards, went 0-5 on third down and 1-2 on fourth down. Meanwhile, Georgia converted four out of six third downs in the half.
The second half was not much better for the Gamecocks. The team continued to struggle to move the ball on offense and gave up more easy opportunities for Georgia on defense. When the team made it to the red zone for the first time in the game, late in the fourth, backup quarterback junior Luke Doty threw an interception, ending the most promising drive of the game so far.
“Last year, we were not very good offensively, we were last in the SEC in turning the ball over, and we are certainly on pace to do that against this year, so whatever we’re doing, we clearly have to do a better job,” Beamer said.
Georgia scored on all but three of its 11 drives. Tight-end sophomore Brock Bowers was a problem for the Gamecocks all game. He scored three of the six Georgia touchdowns in the game, one on the ground and two in the air, and finished with 126 total yards.
“He’s an explosive guy, he’s athletic, he’s physical, he makes plays and that’s what it comes down to,” sixth-year linebacker Brad Johnson said. “When the ball is in his hand, he executes, and I feel all football comes down to is execution.”
The Bulldogs dominated the line of scrimmage this game. On offense, Georgia rushed for 208 yards, gave up just one tackle for a loss and allowed three quarterback hurries. On defense, the team held South Carolina to 92 rush yards, pressured the quarterback nine times and recorded six tackles for a loss.
The Gamecocks scored late in the game to avoid a shutout. Doty hit junior tight-end Traevon Kenion in the back corner of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown.
With the loss, South Carolina falls to (1-2) on the year and (0-2) in SEC play. The team will attempt to forget today’s blunder and get back on track for its next game against the Charlotte 49ers for a night game under the lights of Willams-Brice Stadium.
“Three hours ago is dead. You can’t turn around and go back to it,” sophomore running back Juju McDowell said. “The more you relish on that, the worse off the rest of the season is going to be.”
Kickoff between the 49ers and Gamecocks is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNU.