Story by Matt Smith and Chris Burgin
South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer addressed the media, Tuesday, ahead of this week’s home game against top-ranked Georgia. There are connections between the two coaching staffs as Beamer worked under Kirby Smart at Georgia and former Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp is now the co-defensive coordinator for the Bulldogs.
Beamer fielded several questions about how they plan to move the ball against one of the nation’s best defenses. South Carolina hasn’t gotten much out of its rushing attack, so far, gaining 3.48 yards/carry from the combination of Marshawn Lloyd, Juju McDowell and Jaheim Bell. The Gamecocks can expect tough sledding again, Saturday, as the Dawgs have surrendered just 3.31 yards/carry through two games.
With that in mind, USC may be forced to rely on the capable arm of Spencer Rattler (61.8%, 603 yards). But protecting Rattler long enough for Antwane Wells, Jr. (244 yards) and Jalen Brooks (117 yards) to work themselves free is a big hurdle facing the Gamecocks veteran line. The receiving corps will get a boost as the versatile Dakereon Joyner is expected to be fully healthy. Beamer said, “Last year Georgia was no. 1 or no. 2 in stopping the run … We’ve got an NFL caliber quarterback and I’d be an idiot to say we’re going to run it 60 times.”
Defensively, USC is facing a resurgent Georgia pass attack led by Stetson Bennett. Bennett has been nearly flawless in two outings, hitting 75% of his attempts for 668 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Beamer anticipates another great atmosphere and encouraged the fanbase to play their part, “We set the standard against Georgia State. No one cares that it’s a noon game. If you need more time to tailgate, wake up earlier. We need that place to be absolutely rocking.”
Georgia leads the all-time series 53-19-2. The Gamecocks got the better of the Bulldogs during the height of the Steve Spurrier era, winning four of five between 2010 and 2014, before Georgia reasserted its dominance with double-digit victories in six of the last seven meetings.
The South Carolina-Georgia game has produced some memorable moments for Gamecocks fans including Mike Hold’s game-winning touchdown run in 1984, Brandon Bennett’s 1993 dive over the pile and into the end zone, Marcus Lattimore’s SEC debut (182 yards) in 2010, Melvin Ingram’s punt-fake touchdown run in 2011 and Ace Sander’s electrifying 70-yard punt return in 2012. Cornerback Israel Mukuama added his name to the list with three interceptions in 2019’s upset “Between the Hedges.”
A new chapter will be added to the storied rivalry when Georgia pays a visit to Williams-Brice Stadium for a noon kickoff, Saturday.
Shane Beamer Tuesday press conference