South Carolina’s first offensive possession of the game gave a strong clue as to how its matchup with Georgia was going to go.
Jake Bentley’s pass bounced off Rico Dowdle’s hands and up into the air. It was picked off by Georgia cornerback DeAndre Baker, who returned it for a score … though he dropped the ball before the end zone and needed a teammate to bail him out. While the pick-six was unconventional at best, Georgia’s statement to the Gamecocks was clear.
Three Georgia running backs rushed for touchdowns as the No. 3 Bulldogs routed the No. 24 Gamecocks 41-17.
Georgia has early control of the SEC East
South Carolina entered the game as Georgia’s top contender in the SEC East. With a Week 2 home game, Saturday was an early opportunity for South Carolina to show it was a real challenger for the division title and potentially get a game ahead in the standings.
The Gamecocks looked nothing like a team that could hang with Georgia. South Carolina kept it close in the first half thanks to some stout defense and a trick play pass from wide receiver Deebo Samuel for the Gamecocks’ only touchdown until the fourth quarter. But the trick play was necessary because South Carolina couldn’t do much straight-up with the Bulldogs.
Things got worse in the second half. Until a deep touchdown pass from Bentley to Bryan Edwards, South Carolina started the half with two punts and an interception. Georgia, meanwhile, scored touchdowns on its first three drives of the second half.
The Bulldog run game still looks good
Georgia didn’t have a tough time running the ball without Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. The stars of Georgia’s 2017 run game are off to the NFL, but D’Andre Swift, Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien are proving to be capable replacements. All three scored touchdowns Saturday and averaged over five yards a carry against a South Carolina defense that gave up less than four yards a carry in 2017.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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