Two SEC East heavyweights collide this Saturday afternoon (4:30pm ET, ESPN) when the 6th ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (1-0) travel to Sanford Stadium in Athens Georgia to take on the 12th ranked Georgia Bulldogs (0-1). South Carolina topped North Carolina 27-10 at home last week to open their season. The Bulldogs were outgunned at Clemson last week 38-35 in Death Valley. Georgia is trying to avoid their second 0-2 start in 3 years and falling behind the Gamecocks in their division.
Quarterback Connor Shaw was 26 for 43 passing with 194 yards and a touchdown and running back Mike Davis rushed for 115 yards in the opener, averaging 9.5 YPC and ripping off a 75-yard touchdown. All–world defensive end Jadeveon Clowney had a sub-par game last week with only 3 tackles and no sacks, and cited a stomach virus as the reason for his seeming lack of stamina. Expect him to answer his critics who say he was taking plays off last week with a big game this week as he has 3 sacks, one tackle for loss and a force fumble in his 2 career games against Georgia.
Quarterback Aaron Murray was 20 for 39 passing for 323 yards last week against Clemson, but he threw a costly interception and has a reputation for struggling against top-25 teams. Running back Todd Gurley rushed for a career-best 154 yards and two touchdowns against Clemson. The Bulldogs’ defense was shredded by Tajh Boyd and company for 467 yards of total offense, including 270 and 3 touchdowns through the air in last week’s game.
South Carolina vs. Georgia Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
South Carolina Gamecocks +3.5
@Georgia Bulldogs -3.5
Over 56.5 (-110)
Under 56.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
South Carolina vs. Georgia Pick
The Gamecocks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 conference games and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games overall. Georgia is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall, but 4-11 ATS in their last 15 home games against a team with a winning road record.The over is 5-2 in Gamecocks last 7 games overall and 4-1 in their last 5 road games. The over is 8-3 in the Bulldogs last 11 home games and the under is 5-1 in their last 6 SEC games. In head-to-head play, the Gamecocks are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings in Georgia. South Carolina is 1-0 ATS this season, while Georgia is 0-1 ATS. The Gamecocks are 14-9 ATS as road underdogs under Spurrier and 6-1-1 against the spread versus the Bulldogs, while covering four in a row against them, and he has 15-5 career record against Georgia. The last three meetings in the series have averaged 50.6 points. Georgia leads the series 46-16-2 all-time
Murray is 4-11 against ranked teams as Georgia’s starting quarterback and has never beaten the Gamecocks, this week he faces a Gamecock defense that is vastly superior to Clemson’s. Last season against South Carolina he was 11 for 31 passing with an interception, and Gurley was held to only 45 yards rushing.
South Carolina has a prime opportunity on Saturday. With wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell out for the season, Georgia has one less dynamic target. That might allow South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward to leave more men in the box in an attempt to stop Bulldog running back Todd Gurley. This would give the Gamecocks a huge advantage and mean that the Bulldogs’ offensive line needs to whip the Gamecocks in the running game in order to have a chance to win. Defensively the Bulldogs were pushed around by Clemson last week, and South Carolina running back Mike Davis showed last week against North Carolina that he can run wild if his line gives him holes to run through. The call here is that the Gamecocks are stronger upfront on both offense and defense and that will be the key to this game. Take South Carolina on the road as Georgia is likely to have a shocking 0-2 start to their season.