#24 USC beat 19th ranked Georgia 17-6 Saturday at Williams-Brice stadium. It is the first time the Gamecocks have knocked off the Bulldogs in Columbia since 2000. USC improved to 2-o on the season, 1-0 in the SEC.
Check out the highlights below, including postgame audio from Steve Spurrier, running back Marcus Lattimore and quarterback Stephen Garcia, among others.
1st quarter highlights
USC won the toss and took the ball. Most coaches prefer to defer until the second half, but Steve Spurrier has always been a guy who puts the offense out as soon as he can. The Gamecocks made his choice look very wise on their first drive. Carolina went 79 yards on 16 plays and chewed up 8:02 off the clock. The Gamecocks managed to overcome two penalties, one dropped touchdown pass and a TD that was called back during that opening drive. It was the Gamecocks longest drive, in terms of time of possession, since Spurrier took over the program
Georgia’s offense moved the ball well on its first possession too. Washaun Ealey, playing his first game after being suspended last week, rushed for 13 yards on the Bulldogs first play, in fact, there was a steady does of Ealey on the drive. Redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray also had a couple of nice throws to convert third downs. He certainly didn’t seem frazzled early in his first road start. The drive stalled on the Gamecock 10 and lead to a Blair Walsh 27 yard field goal. The Bulldogs went 60 yards on 12 plays and took 6:20 off the clock on the drive.
Star of the quarter: Gamecock running back Marcus Lattimore: 10 carries, 52 yards, 1 touchdown.
Score: USC 7, Georgia 3.
2nd quarter highlights
USC started the quarter with possession on its own 24 yard line. The Gamecocks moved the ball to the Georgia 33 and looked like they were poised to score another touchdown. However, Garcia’s second down pass to an open Jason Barnes in the end zone was overthrown and they had a busted play on third down that ended up losing a year. That led to a 51 yard field goal attempt by Spencer Lanning. His career long was 47 yards and that is about how far his attempt made it. The Gamecocks came away empty.
The USC defense did its job on the Bulldogs next possession though. The unit forced a three and out and sent the Gamecock offense back on the field with a first and ten on their own 33 yard line with 9:46 left in the second.
The Gamecocks ended up punting from their own 46 yard line. Lanning’s punt sailed into the end zone for a touchback, giving the Bulldogs first and ten on its own 20 with 7:53 left in the half. Once again the Carolina defense forces a Bulldog three and out.
With a little under six minutes left the Gamecocks took possession on their own 38 yard line. The offense efficiently moved the ball right down the field, mostly using a healthy dose of one Marcus Lattimore. The freshman from Byrnes capped the drive with two yard touchdown run, his second TD of the game. The Gamecock drive covered 52 yards in eight plays and took 4:52 off the clock.
The defense forced another three and out on the Bulldogs ensuing possession.
Star of the quarter: The USC defense. The Bulldogs offense failed to pick up a first down the entire quarter. The Dawgs only had 73 yards of offense the entire half.
Halftime score: USC 14, Georgia 3.
Third quarter highlights:
Georgia opens half with possession and starts its drive on its own 28 yard line. The Bulldogs offense showed signs of life right away. A ten yard pass on first down gave the Bulldogs their first 1st down since the first quarter. Murray made a lot of nice throws, including some key third down conversions to get the Bulldogs deep into Gamecock territory. The drive stalled at the Gamecocks eight yard line and the Bulldogs settled for a 26 yard Walsh field goal to cut the Gamecocks lead to 14-6. The Dogs drive was 12 plays, 64 yards and took 6:43.
USC started its first possession of the second half on its own 22 with a little over eight minutes left in the third. The Gamecocks converted a third and five by getting on offside penalty on Georgia and the hit a 40 yard pass to Alshon Jeffery to move to the Bulldogs 28. The drive would end badly for USC though. On a second down play Garcia fumbled the football on a scramble play and Georgia recovered.
Georgia regained possession on its own 24 with a 5:57 left in the third quarter. On the second play of the drive Murray completed a 55 yard pass to Kris Durham to move to the USC ten yard line. Just when it looked like Georgia was going to seize the momentum Ealey fumbled a second and goal carry that was recovered by Stephon Gilmore. Devonte Holloman caused the fumble. Gilmore returned the fumble to the Georgia 14.
USC’s offense was able to move the ball out to the Georgia 47 yard line as the quarter ended.
Star of the quarter: Stephon Gilmore’s fumble recovery was huge. Georgia was on the verge of scoring a touchdown and potentially tie (with a two point conversion) the game and take the momentum.
Third quarter score: USC: 14, Georgia 6
Fourth quarter highlights:
USC opened the quarter with second and seven from the Georgia 47 yard line. After an incomplete pass on second down, Garcia was sacked on third down forcing a Gamecock punt.
A 46 yard Spencer Lanning punt was returned for a five yard loss by Georgia. That started the Bulldog drive on its own ten yard line with 14:07 left in the game. The Gamecock defense stepped up again and held the Bulldogs to another three and out.
The Gamecock defense also set up a short field for USC as it started its next drive on its own 49 yard line with 11:49. The Gamecocks couldn’t take advantage of the great field position and punted after a three and out. They actually lost 10 yards on the possession and ended up punting from their own 39. The drive killer was a second down sack of Garcia that lost 14 yards.
Georgia had an illegal block in the back on the return and started its next drive on its own nine yard line with 9:39 left in the game. And, once again, the USC defense forced a three and out by the Bulldogs.
USC reclaimed possession on the football on its own 37 with 8:19 left. Lattimore carried for 15 yards to the Georgia 47 on the first play of the drive. That would be the trend on this game clinching drive. Lattimore reeled off a series of impressive runs to move the Gamecocks to the Bulldogs three yard line. The Gamecocks ended up kicking a 23 yard field goal to ice the game for USC with a 17-6 lead with 1:12 left in the game.
Star of the quarter: Marcus Lattimore. He was amazing all game and his hardnosed running on the Gamecocks final drive sealed the win. Lattimore finished with 187 yards on 37 carries
Final score: USC 17, Georgia 6