So, I’m just sitting in my dorm today thinking, “What do we need to do to beat Georgia this weekend?” As soon as I thought this, my phone lit up. “Georgia shocks Alabama, as they have the No. 1 ranking in the CFB playoff committee ranking.” If that isn't an omen as to what’s gonna happen this weekend, I don't know what is.
(Side note: I was right about Georgia being better than Alabama in my SEC Power Rankings, I just didn't want to pull the trigger.)
Anyway, Georgia isn't some absolutely impossible force that can't be beaten. Jake Fromm hasn't been forced to beat anybody with his arm yet, but it’s mainly because Georgia is averaging 6 yards per carry and close to 300 yards rushing a game. On the defensive side for South Carolina, our defense is only giving up 3.8 YPC and 137 rushing yards per game.
A deeper look in to Fromm’s stats would be simple: most of his passes come on play action, and he only is averaging close to 13 passes per game because he simply doesn't have to throw it. In the two games Georgia struggled, Fromm had to throw it 25+ times. The Georgia QB is averaging close to 10 yards per attempt, which obviously means they’re taking shots down the field.
The game in which I thought we would struggle with the most was the one that we actually pummeled our opponent. This would be Arkansas: We held them to one hundred yards rushing, and I thought we were gonna give up over 200. I just was shocked, as it always seems like we can never stop the run. This may be a good sign, or it may mean nothing considering how bad Arkansas has been this year.
One big reason we could have a close game this weekend would be Dante Sawyer. He’s currently grading out on PFF as the best interior defender in the SEC:
Top graded SEC interior defenders thru WK7:— Vinnie Ronca (@PFF_Vinnie) October 20, 2017
Also, he’s been doing this:
#Gamecocks DL Dante Sawyer has 22 total pressures, 13 hurries, 5 QB hits and 4 sacks in 140 pass-rush snaps.— Brad Crawford (@BCrawford247) October 25, 2017
It’s his first fully healthy season.
I really do think for USC to win, we’re going to have to keep Georgia to 21 and below. Notre Dame came the closest to beating them. They held them to 20 points, 185 rushing yards, and Fromm had a QBR of 13. If we can come anywhere close to that, it will be a closer game than people expect. I really think South Carolina has a pretty good chance to cover the spread, which is 24 in favor of Georgia.
Now, can Carolina keep Georgia around the 150-165 mark on the ground? I doubt it. If Georgia crosses 200 rushing yards, it’s going to be a L. Make Jake Fromm beat us. If he can, Georgia is going to be a tough match for just about anyone. Most of Georgia scores are from 20 yards or more, so limiting the big plays would be clutch.
Now, for the offense.
This one isn't going to be easy, boys. Georgia is currently third in scoring defense, and the Gamecocks come in at 79th. Not a good stat for us. Over the last three SEC contests, we’re averaging closer to 32 points per game instead of the 26 across the season. Our rushing offense has come alive and Jake Bentley is coming somewhat alive. I say somewhat mainly because he’s making better throws, but he still has only thrown for 300 yards twice this year.
Against Tennessee and Vanderbilt, we actually ran the football well. AJ Turner ran for over two hundred combined in those two games, and scored a touchdown in both. Oh yeah, apparently Jake Bentley can now run the ball. He’s a sneaky athlete, he was just waiting to show you guys.
This game is going to start with our run game. If we can get that going early and keep the ball away from Chubb and Michel, this could be a close one. The run game sets up play action pass, and most consider the Bulldog secondary their weak link. This isn't to say their secondary is bad, the rest of the defense is just equally as good. Getting chunk plays with our WRs and busting 10-yard runs up the middle are two things the offense has to do to win this game. And Bryan Edwards, catch the damn ball when it hits you in the hands.
Yeah guys, I doubt any of the stuff I said is going to happen. I hope it does. Hell, I hope Bentley throws for 315 and 4 TDs and we win by 14. Again, Georgia is a really good football team, but there is room for hope. I think the Bulldogs are going to be cocky coming in to this game, considering they just spanked an awful Florida team and got ranked #1 in the nation by the CFB Playoff Committee. They deserve it, but we’ve knocked off Alabama before. But, Alshon Jeffery and Marcus Lattimore aren't walking through that door. Here’s one spotlight of hope:
"Brush your teeth physical this week"— JBLACK 9️⃣9️⃣ (@9_thegreat) October 31, 2017
I’m assuming that’s a Will Muschamp quote. If he is preaching that, Saturday could go well for the Cocks. South Carolina will most likely not win, but I’ll bet any of you $20 we’re going to cover the spread. I’m saying something like 31-14 Bulldogs, but it has a good chance of getting a lot more ugly than that.
I’ll leave you with this, an actual video of me if the Cocks pull off the upset in Athens: