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South Carolina vs. Georgia Report Card

Grading the Gamecocks after a 41-17 loss to the Bulldogs

NCAA Football: Georgia at South Carolina Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Passing offense: South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley completed 30 of 47 passes for 269 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, one of which was returned by Georgia for the game’s opening score. Sophomore wide receiver Bryan Edwards led the Gamecocks with 7 catches for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns, including one from fellow receiver Deebo Samuel. After averaging 11.8 yards per completion against Coastal Carolina a week ago, South Carolina averaged just 9.1 yards per completion on Saturday. The Gamecocks looked off their game early, and by the time they settled in, Georgia started to pull away. I liked offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon’s strategy, but the game plan had to be altered when the Bulldogs jumped to a 14-0 lead in the opening minutes. GRADE: C+

Passing defense: The Gamecocks seemed intent on not letting the Bulldogs beat them deep. Unfortunately, Georgia QB Jake Fromm was devastatingly efficient, completing 15 of 18 passes for 194 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. The Bulldogs put their speedy wide receiver corps in space, allowing them to exploit the Gamecocks’ young secondary. Without All-SEC linebacker/defensive end D.J. Wonnum, South Carolina had difficulty pressuring Fromm. Because of Wonnum’s absence, I’m giving the Gamecocks a break. GRADE: Incomplete

Rushing offense: Redshirt junior running back Ty’Son Williams was the Gamecocks’ leading rusher with 26 yards on 6 carries. South Carolina averaged just 2.7 yards per rush on 20 attempts. After the disastrous opening minutes in which South Carolina spotted Georgia 14 points, the Gamecocks were forced to abandon any semblance of a balanced attack. GRADE: D

Rushing defense: Georgia has a tradition of outstanding rushing attacks - and that continued on Saturday at South Carolina’s expense. The Bulldogs rushed for 271 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 5.2 yards per rush. Down an All-SEC performer and with limited experience in the trenches, the Gamecocks were incapable of stopping the Bulldogs’ never-ending cache of running backs. A silver lining: This experience will prove invaluable for South Carolina’s younger defenders. Unfortunately, I’m grading the Gamecocks in a vacuum, though my garnet glasses prohibit me from giving out an F. GRADE: D-

Special teams: South Carolina sophomore kicker Parker White drilled his only field goal attempt of the day from 26 yards. Redshirt junior punter Joseph Charlton had one out-of-character shank that led to a Georgia field goal to end the first half. Even with the miscue, Charlton averaged 40.8 yards per punt, including one inside the 20. GRADE: B-

Coaching: It’s hard to know what South Carolina’s game plan looked like before the early Georgia scores. McClendon showed creativity and confidence early to help the Gamecocks calm down and go into halftime trailing by 10. Head coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Bryan McClendon knew what the Bulldogs were going to do, but with Fromm at the helm, behind a massive offensive line, South Carolina’s defense could only do so much. I’m not writing off the progress this coaching staff has made in just over two years because of a loss to the No. 3 team in the country. Credit the win to the Georgia’s talent and execution, not poor coaching from the South Carolina sidelines. GRADE: B-