October 6, 2012

Dawgs served humble pie

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Humbled, humiliated, embarrassed.

For Georgia, there's really not many other ways to describe what happened at Williams-Brice Stadium Saturday night after sixth-ranked South Carolina bludgeoned the Bulldogs 35-7.

"The bad news is, we took a whipping. The good news is, we took it together," head coach Mark Richt said. "I don't think anybody can look in the mirror and say 'we had a great day but the other boys didn't.'"

Talk about utter and complete domination.

The Gamecocks did that in every single phase - offensively, defensive and on special teams - proving to the rest of the nationally televised audience that they're indeed one of country's premiere teams.

Georgia, meanwhile, looked anything but.

The Bulldogs' offense, which came averaging 48.5 points per contest, could manage just one touchdown, which Ken Malcome scored with just two minutes left in in the game.

The win marked the first time that Gamecocks (6-0, 4-0) have beaten the Bulldogs three straight years.

"They can't say they own us anymore, that's for sure," said a gleeful Steve Spurrier after the game. "We'll see where this leads. One thing we'll have to guard against is everyone telling us how great we are, which when you win convincingly, that's what happens."

Saturday's statistics told the ugly tale.

South Carolina (6-0, 4-0) held the Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1) to just 224 total yards, making life simply miserable for Aaron Murray who completed just 11 of 31 passes for 109 yards as the Gamecocks dominated Georgia's offense line and kept the junior quarterback on the run all night.

"I just didn't feel like we were in synch all night," Murray said. "Too many third and longs really killed us."

Murray wasn't the only one who struggled.

Georgia's freshman running back corps of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall also were held completely in check.

Gurley rushed 13 times for just 39 yards, with Marshall adding only 37 on 12 attempts. In fact, the only positive running came from Malcome who came on in the fourth quarter and rushed five times for a team-high 45 yards and scored the Bulldogs' only touchdown on a 3-yard run with 1:55 to play.

"The whole offense we were just not on point like we needed to be," Murray said. "We definitely took a couple of steps back tonight."

Meanwhile, the South Carolina combo of Marcus Lattimore and quarterback Connor Shaw were a two-man wrecking crew for the Gamecocks, which scored 21 of their 35 points in the first quarter.

Lattimore rushed for over 100 yards (24 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown) against the Bulldogs for the third time, while Shaw completed 6 of 10 passes for 162 yards and two scores while rushing 14 times for 78 yards and a touchdown.

Talk about a poor start from a Bulldog perspective.

South Carolina scored on its first two offensive possessions, followed by a 69-yard punt return by Ace Sanders, stunning Georgia with a 21-0 lead.

With so much focus on running back Lattimore, Shaw used his arm to put the Bulldogs in their early hole.

A 42-yard pass from Shaw to Damiere Byrd who appeared to take away from safety Bacarri Rambo, put the Gamecocks in position for their first score, a 20-yard pass to Bruce Ellington.

It was about to get worse.

On Georgia's ensuing possession, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles tipped a Murray pass that DeVonte Holloman made a diving interception on to give the Gamecocks back the ball.

Eleven plays later, Shaw found a wide open Anderson from 14 yards out and a 14-0 advantage.

Ace Sanders would give the Gamecocks another shot of momentum a short time later.

Following a quick three-and-out by the Bulldogs, Collin Barber went back to punt, Sanders momentarily bobbled the ball before regaining his footing to return the ball 70 yards for what turned out to be the knockout blow.

Georgia's only real opportunity dent the scoreboard in the first half came late in the second quarter, but after picking up a first-and-goal at the Gamecock 4, the Bulldog offense wilted like a weed.

Two straight runs by Gurley netted just a couple of yards and following an incomplete pass, Murray threw a fourth-down pass to Rantavious Wooten who was knocked down at the 1 giving the Gamecocks back the ball.

Lattimore and Shaw capped the scoring for South Carolina with touchdown runs of 1 and 7 yards in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

"The thing I told the guys is whether you lose by 28 or you lose in overtime, it is still a loss, but that doesn't mean the season is over for Georgia," Richt said. "We still have an opportunity to keep fighting and keep playing, getting better and winning."

Georgia will have next weekend off before resuming play at Kentucky on Oct. 20.