Gamecock defensive tackle Kobe Smith brings the heat on Georgia QB Jake Fromm (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

It finally happened. USC’s defense came to play the way Will Muschamp expects it to play. The result? A spell-binding, totally unexpected, double-overtime 20-17 upset of 3rd ranked Georgia in Athens. The Gamecocks break a four game losing streak to Georgia with their first win Between the Hedges since 2011, and only their 9th win all-time in Athens. And the victory matches the second best win in school history in terms of the opponent’s ranking. It’s also the Gamecocks’ first win over a top five opponent since defeating Missouri in 2013, and the first win over a ranked opponent since the 2016 win over Tennessee.

Here’s my RECAP from Sanford Stadium

Israel Mukuamu returns an interception for a touchdown late in the first half (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

Keys to the Gamecocks’ upset of Georgia:

  • The defensive front abused Georgia’s much heralded offensive line. To the tune of three sacks and six tackles for loss. Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm had been sacked once in his first five games. Javon Kinlaw and JJ Enagbare each had one sack and DJ Wonnum and Kobe Smith each had half-a-sack.
  • The pressure from the defensive front contributed to three Fromm interceptions, the first ones he’s thrown this season, all to corner Israel Mukuamu. The one late in the first half Mukuamu returned for a touchdown to give the Gamecocks a 17-10 halftime lead.
  • The defense gave up some yardage, 468 to be exact, but limited the big plays. Georgia’s longest run was 14 yards, its longest pass 33 yards, and that completion was the only one of more than 20 yards. They forced Fromm to attempt a career high 51 passes, 12 more than the previous high mark.
  • It took a complete team effort on defense to slow down Georgia and hold the Bulldogs to their fewest points since a 31-16 loss to LSU a year ago. Ernest Jones had a dozen tackles. Mukuamu added 11 hits to his three picks. TJ Brunson played one of the finest games of his career with 10 tackles, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery. And Javon Kinlaw was just a disruptive force to go along with his four tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss.
  • After the knee injury suffered by quarterback Ryan Hilinski on the second drive of the second half, the offense just needed to do enough to give the Gamecocks a chance to win. Hilinski had played well, hitting 11 straight passes at one point, and left completing 15-20 for 116 yards and a 46 yard touchdown strike to Bryan Edwards on the Gamecocks’ second possession of the game.
  • The Gamecocks led 17-10 at the time of Hilinski’s injury and had to turn to Dakereon Joyner, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the Kentucky game. Joyner completed a few passes and had a couple of nice scrambles. The best thing he did was not turn the ball over and not lose his composure. He led things together during that tense fourth quarter and in overtime and gave his team a chance to win at the end.
  • Just like against Alabama, the Gamecocks were able to carve out a better than their average running game with 142 yards. Rico Dowdle had 79 yards on 21 carries including a big eight yard gain in the second overtime that setup Parker White’s winning field goal.
  • Edwards showed again why he’s one of the better receivers in the country with six catches for 78 yards including that 46 yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. He set the school record with a pass reception in 44 straight games.
  • The Gamecock offensive line also deserves kodos, considering at one point they had to turn to their fourth offensive tackle, Eric Douglas, when Sadarius Hutcherson had to leave the game with cramps. They did not allow a quarterback sack or hurry, and yielded only three tackles for loss.
  • FINAL STATS
Dakereon Joyner held the offense together in place of the injured Ryan Hilinski (Travis Bell/SIDELINE CAROLINA)

Here’s what the Gamecocks had to say after their win in Athens

Will Muschamp (click HERE for video)

QB Dakereon Joyner on his reaction after Hilinski injury

PK Parker White on his feelings after the missed FG in the first overtime

RB Rico Dowdle on what the win means to the team

WR Bryan Edwards on the importance of that early touchdown catch

LB TJ Brunson explains what it means to finally beat Georgia

DT Javon Kinlaw gives his reaction to winning at Georgia

CB Israel Mukuamu reviews his three picks of Fromm

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