Georgia Bulldogs at South Carolina Gamecocks: 'Cocks Dominate Dawgs

Kevin C. Cox - Getty Images

What is there, really, that can be said about last night's game? Words don't really capture how amazing this victory was. I felt fairly confident that we would pull out the win, but I certainly didn't expect us to win like that. This wasn't just a win. It wasn't just a convincing win, like the one over Alabama in 2010. This was complete dominance. The Gamecocks outperformed Georgia in every phase of the game. Our defense held a vaunted offensive juggernaut to just over 200 yards, and many of those yards and Georgia's only points of the game came after many of the starters had been pulled. Our offense moved the ball at will, and our tailback and quarterback looked like Heisman contenders. We ran a punt back for a touchdown. It was simply a magical performance.

More than anything else, this win says volumes about how far this program has come. Watching the game, I couldn't help but think of all the times we were hoping we might get lucky and beat teams like Georgia. Maybe we'd get one win over a team like that over the course of a season. Now, we have every reason to expect to win games like this. And the nation has noticed. Gameday was in town, touting us not only as a threat to Georgia, but also as a national title contender. We looked the part. These are unprecedented times, folks. Part of the credit goes to Steve Spurrier, who has built a formidable staff and constructed a deep, talented roster. Part of it goes to the athletics department more generally, which has made shrewd hires across the board and which has made key facilities upgrades that have us looking more and more like an elite program. It all adds up to the showcase performance we put on last night.

A few more particular thoughts on the game:

--As well as Connor Shaw obviously played, you have to also give our receivers tons of credit. Neither the long pass to Damiere Byrd or the one to D.L. Moore were thrown in perfect spots, but both receivers made excellent plays on the ball. Receiver play was supposed to be one of our weaknesses this year, but it's turned out to be a strength. My hat especially goes off to Moore, who has been maligned by fans--including myself--but who came up with a highlight-reel play in the big game.

--Marcus Lattimore, obviously, had another strong game, breaking the century mark yet again against the Dawgs. He also, though, did it on only 24 carries, which isn't a light load, but also isn't the brutal load he's been put under in games like this in past years. I was afraid we would need him to carry the ball 30-35 times to win in this game, but we didn't. That means it's more likely that he'll be fresh against LSU and Florida.

--The offensive line deserves a shout-out for the way it played. Shaw generally had plenty of time to throw, and there were abundant holes to run through. This is the kind of line play we were hoping for prior to the season. Being able to run for 200+ yards against a team like Georgia says volumes. Corey Robinson, a guy who came completely out of nowhere this year, owned Jarvis Jones last night. Amazing.

--As good as the offense was, it was the defense that really stole the show in this game. I mean, they were absolutely unbelievable in every possible way. Obviously, a lot of credit goes to the defensive line. Jadeveon Clowney was the best player on the field at any position and simply took Kenarious Gates to the woodshed. He looked shockingly good. He wasn't the only one, though. The interior line also played very well, contributing greatly to a complete shutdown of "Gurshall." The secondary played well--Jimmy Legree's breakup down field comes to mind as a highlight from the back group. Victor Hampton was on his receiver like glue. And, of course, the defensive gameplan was well-conceived. As I expected, Lorenzo Ward came out in Cover One, more or less begging the Dawgs to try to throw the ball. Due to the consistent pressure we got on Aaron Murray and to our secondary's strong play, Georgia couldn't do it. Ward is proving to have been an excellent hire. He's taken what used to be a good defense to the next level.

--I also want to comment on the atmosphere at Williams-Brice Stadium in this game. Simply unbelievable. The stadium was rocking from the beginning of the game. When Ace Sanders returned the punt for a touchdown, I thought the place was going to fall apart. That was the single loudest moment I've ever experienced at a Carolina game. I mean, it was loud. And everyone--except for the Dawg fans--stayed the entire game. Even the students stayed. That was important. The list of recruits who were on hand for this game was impressive. If those guys aren't convinced that this is the kind of program they want to be a part of, a program that whips the tails of SEC powerhouses in front of an electric atmosphere in a modernized stadium, well, I don't know what will convince them.

That's it for now, folks. I'll be ranking USC second in my blogpoll ballot. More on that this evening.

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