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South Carolina at No. 2 Georgia: Game Preview

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Can another miracle happen between the hedges?

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

After escaping East Carolina last week, South Carolina’s road swing continues with a stop in Athens, Ga., to tangle with the No. 2 team in the land and open SEC play. While dealing with some quarterback quandaries of their own, the Georgia Bulldogs are nonetheless the most formidable opponent on the schedule.

What have the Bulldogs been up to lately? While it was a difficult game to find a true rooting interest in, most USC fans likely still ginned up some enjoyment watching Georgia come away victorious in its season-opening matchup against Clemson, a 10-3 rock fight that featured no offensive touchdowns but plenty of fearsome defense on display. The Bulldogs followed that up with an offensive explosion against UAB, dispatching the Blazers 56-7 — but notably, starting quarterback JT Daniels exited that one with a hip injury.

What happens when the Gamecocks have the ball? Hey, another week when I don’t really know how to answer this! The possibility of Luke Doty getting snaps at quarterback is once again being dangled in front of fans, but I’m still working off the same assumption I had before ECU: Zeb Noland will start, and Doty will enter after him at some point. Of course, some folks are advocating for Doty — who has been dealing with stubborn foot soreness — to sit this one out entirely, given Georgia’s incredible defensive line (seven sacks against Clemson) and the Gamecocks’ porous offensive line, which so far has struggled to block rushers who are not exactly SEC-caliber.

What happens when the Bulldogs have the ball? The story of the week thus far has been the uncertain status of Daniels, and now backup Stetson Bennett — the reigning SEC offensive player of the week — is dealing with a sore back. Throw in a few top-shelf receivers who are also coming back from injury and you might begin to wonder if there are some ingredients available for an upset. Unfortunately, even if the UGA offense bogs down or stalls out at times owing to its missing personnel, the Bulldog defense is just so overwhelming that a lot would really have to go wrong here.

What are we wearing? Unless I missed it, I don’t believe there was a mention of the Gamecocks’ uniforms during media availability this week. Given Beamer’s penchant for Spurrier-era combos, I’m going to assume this will be another appearance for the all-white look. Speaking personally, garnet-white-garnet is by far my favorite road combination, and I hope we see it again at some point.

How are we feeling about this? The last time South Carolina played in Athens, it came away with one of the most improbable victories in program history: a 20-17 win in double overtime over a third-ranked Bulldog squad. The odds are at least that long again, with the Gamecocks tabbed as overwhelming 32-point underdogs and otherwise looking outmatched by every conceivable measure. Shane Beamer himself said this is likely the most talented team in Georgia’s history, so, you know, I’m not feeling great. But any given Saturday, right? Right??