The South Carolina Gamecocks won in Athens for the sixth time in 30 years on Saturday.
The mighty Georgia Bulldogs had a mind-numbing performance, which led to a double overtime loss to the tune of 20-17 that will no doubt see them tumble in the rankings and instantaneously put their SEC East Division Championship and College Football Playoff chances on the brink.
UGA faced trouble very early on. They were able to pick up a field goal from the reliable Rodrigo Blankenship within the first five minutes of the game. But after forcing a punt on South Carolina’s first drive, the Gamecocks proceeded to return the favor. The Gamecocks then took the ball 93 yards on nine plays and Bryan Edwards capped it off with a go-ahead touchdown.
To UGA’s credit, they were able to retaliate with a nine-play drive of their own that went 75 yards for a touchdown. D’Andre Swift punched the ball in from the one-yard line to put the Dawgs back on top. That would, ultimately, be the last time that Georgia would lead in this game, though. Parker White hit a booming 49-yard field goal with three minutes remaining in the second quarter. Then, Israel Mukuamu picked Jake Fromm off and ran it back 53 yards for a stunning go-ahead score with one minute remaining in the first half.
It would be a big day for the aforementioned Mukuamu. The Gamecock cornerback came away with three interceptions by game’s end, including one in overtime. It was a very glamorous performance for the youngster, and one that proved pivotal in deciding how this game turned out.
After a scoreless third quarter, the fourth quarter would nearly remain the same until the 1:48 mark. Fromm found Demetrius Robertson in the end zone for a game-tying score that would soon send the game to overtime. Of course, how we got there was rather ridiculous. South Carolina went out to kick a 57-yard field goal, one that was missed. Then Georgia went down and had to “settle” for a passing attempt at the horn that went south. Why UGA didn’t go with Blankenship isn’t known, but it certainly couldn’t have hurt (despite what would happen later).
OT went about as you might expect. Mukuamu’s INT sealed up UGA’s first drive, but Parker White missed another field goal, this one from 33 yards out. White would get another shot, and put it through the uprights in the second overtime period. Blankenship then went from 42, and went wide left on it to cap off the stunning upset for the Gamecocks.
Georgia outgained South Carolina in total yards, passing yards and rushing yards. They had almost twice as many first downs, converted 50 percent of their third downs versus the 29.4 percent mark the Gamecocks amassed. The Dawgs had a higher yards/play, yards per completion, yards per carry, led TOP by almost 13 minutes... and yet lost. Why? Well, the four turnovers didn’t help at all. The aforementioned three picks thrown by Fromm to Mukuamu, coupled with a fumble he lost at the start of the fourth quarter added to what was a dismal day for the Bulldogs quarterback.
Credit given where it’s due though to South Carolina, who amassed 3.9 yards per carry against a Georgia defense that had only given up 2.3 going into the weekend. The passing game wasn’t up to snuff, but an injury to (a clearly hobbled) Ryan Hilinski led to Dakereon Joyner coming into the game, and Joyner of course is a converted quarterback after playing wide receiver before. So that’s to say that it isn’t necessarily surprising that they only got 155 yards through the air.
This game certainly decreases the margin for error for Georgia going forward. They have major games lying ahead of them against the Florida Gators and Auburn Tigers. And let’s not discount the Missouri Tigers, either. The Tigers’ win over the Ole Miss Rebels gives them control in the SEC East, especially since they hold an edge — a win over these South Carolina Gamecocks.
For South Carolina? Well, they can hang their hats on this one. It’s the sixth time they’ve beaten Georgia in their home dwelling since 1989. They’ve picked up wins now in ‘89, 1993, 2001, 2007, 2011 and now 2019. That may not seem like a lot, but hey: A win percentage of .400 at Sanford Stadium ain’t too shabby.