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Opponent Preview: Can history repeat Itself between the Hedges?

The Gamecocks will look for another big win in Athens.

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Continuing on with our 2021 opponent previews, the South Carolina Gamecocks are set to face the Georgia Bulldogs on Sept. 18. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series versus the Gamecocks with a record of 52-19-2. Even though last season’s game between these two easily went in Georgia’s favor, the 2019 matchup is more memorable for both fanbases.

The last time the Gamecocks traveled to Athens, the Gamecocks pulled off one of the biggest upsets in school history. Led by Israel Mukuamu’s three interceptions, the Gamecocks beat the No. 3 Bulldogs 20-17 in a defensive slugfest. Maybe history can repeat itself; maybe the Gamecocks can achieve the impossible in Week 3. First, let’s talk about the Bulldogs.

Georgia Bulldogs Breakdown

The Gamecocks are going to have their hands full on both offense and defense against the Bulldogs. Instead of doing weaknesses for Georgia, considering I do not see any, we are just going to break down the team as whole. First, the Bulldog offense is set up to have a lethal run-pass attack in 2021. This offense is very balanced. Transfer quarterback J.T. Daniels had an electric second half of the season in 2020 once he won the job and the Bulldog offense really caught their stride. Veteran running back Zamir White has proven time and time again that he can be an elite back in the SEC. The main weapon on this offense however is wide receiver standout George Pickens. Pickens has been one of the more dominant wideouts in the country since he enrolled at UGA. The young Gamecock secondary is going to have a very tough time trying to stop the Georgia passing attack.

If there is one thing that Georgia has always seemed to have (besides running backs) is a solid defense. The 2021 Bulldog defense is no different. Led by DT Jordan Davis, who easily could have gone pro, the Georgia pass rush should be elite. DE Travon Walker could very well have a 10 sack season and that is just the tip of the iceberg for this defense. Linebackers Nakobe Dean and Tykee Smith look to dominate SEC offenses this season. This defense is so stacked and full of NFL talent. The Bulldogs should be one of, if not the toughest test, for the Gamecocks in 2021.

How the Gamecocks Can Win

This one is tough. It almost feels like 2019, where we would need a miracle to win this one. Unfortunately, I think that is the case. This Georgia team should be even better than the 2019 team and that makes this a tough test for the young Gamecock squad. Even when things seem impossible, there are ways the Gamecocks can win this game. One of, if not the most important ways, the Gamecocks can get it done is ball control. There are things that the 2019 Gamecocks had that the 2021 team does not. There is no Bryan Edwards, Jaycee Horn, or Israel Mukuamu, but the 2019 team did not have the rushing attack that this team has. It seemed that when we had the ball in 2019, we couldn’t do anything with it. Imagine if we would have been able to run the ball like we can now that day. If we can keep J.T. Daniels and George Pickens off the field and keep Kevin Harris on the field, we have a shot to win this game. Turnovers and ball control, just like 2019.

How the Gamecocks Can Lose

This is more straight forward. There is a very good chance that we go down to Athens and just get dominated. Georgia has the ability to beat us by three scores, there’s no doubt about that. If the Gamecock offense can not stay on the field we will lose, no matter how the defense plays. This Georgia team will be way too good to make as many mistakes as the 2019 team did. If we want to win this game, it has to be another perfect Saturday in Athens.

I personally think Shane Beamer is the answer Gamecock football is looking for. I think this team will come into Athens ready to play. Unfortunately, the talent gap is still there and it is going to take Beamer some time to get things going. If the team is fired up and ready to go, miracles can happen. We’ve seen it before. Let’s get another W in Athens.

Game Time and Location:

September 18, 7 p.m.

Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.

Prediction: 38-20 Bulldogs