Matt Hinton’s excellent piece about what South Carolina’s defense can do to slow down Todd Gurley makes this excellent point:
Against the best defense he faced in that span, Alabama, Gurley ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman in the 2012 SEC Championship Game. Against Florida’s blue-chip defense, he accounted for 141 yards from scrimmage in 2012 and 187 yards in 2013, largely carrying the offense in back-to-back UGA wins.
If Gurley can rack up the yardage against defenses like those, why should we expect this year’s edition of South Carolina’s to do any better?
Matt’s conclusion is spot on, too. There is a way South Carolina can stop Gurley. But it won’t be with its defense.
The fact is, if Gurley gets his touches, he’s going to get his yards, and Georgia’s almost certainly going to get its points as a result. The longer the score is within reach, the more comfortable the Bulldogs will be in their four-deep rotation at tailback, and the fresher Gurley will be when it comes time to drop the hammer down the stretch. The most foolproof way for Carolina to prevent that from happening is to threaten to put the score out of reach, even if that means taking some early risks.
And that’s the problem Spurrier has with taking a grind-it-out approach to win tomorrow. Georgia is better equipped to grind things out than Carolina is.