Tastes like chicken: a few thoughts on the S. Carolina game

Damn, that never gets old.

On paper, the ‘Cocks are off to a respectable 2-0 start:  middle of the conference pack in net ypp; ditto for scoring; first in defensive third-down conversions.

But then you realize that was compiled against the likes of Eastern Illinois and East Carolina — literally, directional schools, for the win.  It should come as no surprise, then, that Sagarin ranks South Carolina’s strength of schedule at an anemic 196.  (The only conference team with a weaker slate is Auburn.)

So what’s Georgia looking at with this season’s version of the team that handed it its last home conference loss?  Well, the freshest thing you can point to is that it struggled in its win against East Carolina, needing a field goal with time expiring to put the game away.  And by struggled, I mean here’s the way the series in the second half went for both teams:  punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, touchdown, field goal, field goal, punt, field goal.  Still, it does show a certain amount of resiliency to come back from a 14-point deficit on the road.

According to 247Sports, there’s a pretty significant talent gap between Georgia (1001.75 aggregate; 93.5 average) and South Carolina (748.26 aggregate; 87.14 average).  (Before you ask, there was a significant gap in 2019, though not as large.)

So how does that shake out in practical terms?  Well, here’s Jake Rowe’s take on two matchups:

Georgia’s front seven against South Carolina’s offensive line and run game: The Bulldog front seven is off to an excellent start in 2021. It’s a huge reason why the Bulldogs have given up an average of 177 yards in its first two contests. The Bulldogs have tallied 14 tackles for loss in two games while South Carolina’s offensive line has given up 13. The Gamecocks are still trying to get things figured out up front and the glaring stat from their 20-17 win over East Carolina last week is the run game’s average of just 2.81 yards per carry.

Dawgs247’s Take: This is a battle that Georgia should win and win decisively, but the Bulldogs aren’t coming off their best showing. They didn’t tackle well against UAB last week and the Blazers were able to open up a few holes. South Carolina can stay in this one if it can get the run game going and it has the running backs to make that happen. It’s going to be tough sledding against this UGA front, though. That’ll definitely be the case if Devonte Wyatt, who sat out last week due to undisclosed, non-injury-related reasons. If Georgia is as successful as ECU, the Gamecocks will have a really tough time keeping pace.

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Georgia’s quarterback vs. South Carolina’s defensive backs: We don’t know who’ll start for Georgia at quarterback. It’s going to be JT Daniels or Stetson Bennett IV and we lean toward the latter right now. Bennett had a huge game last week and Todd Monken had a tremendous plan going into it. It almost certainly won’t be that easy against the Gamecocks. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s secondary has a pair of interceptions in its first two games and it has done a great job of helping the defense get off the field on third down. Whoever plays quarterback for Georgia is going to have to stop that trend and keep the chains moving.

Dawgs247’s Take: It’s not a reach to suggest that the Bulldogs won’t be able to lean so heavily on the big play this week. South Carolina will likely do a better job of keeping the receivers in front and making UGA earn it. The Gamecocks are big and physical in the secondary and the Bulldog behind center will have to make good decisions and take care of the football. South Carolina got an upset win the last time it was in Athens due in large part to turnovers. Whether it’s Bennett or Daniels pulling the trigger, they’ll have to play with patience.

The latter of those two leads to my big question:  how does SC choose to defend?  Do the ‘Cocks take the Mississippi State path and sell out to stop the run while taking their chances with Georgia’s deep passing game, or do they follow Clemson’s strategy?  No, they’re not Clemson, but the strength of SC’s defense is their line, as Seth Emerson notes ($$).

South Carolina poses an interesting test, because its defensive line may be its strength: Former five-stars Jordan Burch and Zacch Pickens are back there, and the Gamecocks limited their first two opponents to a combined 2.37 yards per rush.

Playing soft in the secondary seems like the wiser course of action to me, as it may limit Georgia’s explosive plays and force the Dawgs to get more out of their running game than they’ve shown in the first two games.

Barring turnover diarrhea, though, it’s hard to see how much strategy will matter, given the sizeable talent gap between the two.  One thing I’ll be curious to see is whether Luke Doty, who’s recovering from an injury, gets any playing time this week, or whether they let Zeb Noland, who is pretty much a statue at quarterback, take the heat from Georgia’s defensive front seven.

And your thoughts?

64 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy, Georgia Football

64 responses to “Tastes like chicken: a few thoughts on the S. Carolina game

  1. Biggen

    Talent gap is massive and our Defense is too much for a middling tier SEC team. I’m not sure we cover the spread but I’d guess we win by 3 to 4 scores anyway. The Cocks are holding out hope this year turns into 2019. We lost that game more than they won it. I don’t see that happening again.

    Oh, and I almost forgot this little gem:

    Lord, that is a sad mascot to have to pull for.

    Liked by 16 people

  2. 79dawg

    Whew, glad to hear we are still playing South Carolina on Saturday, some dude on the radio this morning said we were playing USC, and I sure wouldn’t want to miss that!
    (P.S. East Carolina – who they almost lost to last week – is not even a real state!)

    Liked by 6 people

    • rugbydawg79

      I beg to differ, I live in N.C. and when you venture east of Raleigh it is all about the Pirates. Bill boards on the interstate and all that stuff. They are actually pretty good, won bowl games recently. Not being an Ass just had to stick up for them a little.

      Liked by 3 people

      • J.R. Clark

        What? East Carolina has been a dumpster fire recently.
        2021: 0-2
        2020: 3-6
        2019: 4-8
        2018: 3-9
        2017: 3-9
        2016: 3-9
        2015: 5-7

        Like

  3. The possibility of rain helps them out a lot. Everyone on their message boards are praying for it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. akascuba

    I would be surprised to see USCe risk Doty even if ready this week.

    The Clemson approach certainly seems their best course. They have the defenders to play soft slow the game down force Georgia into long sustained drives to earn touchdowns. That’s something we haven’t seen this offense do. I think they struggle mightily on offense and their defense may keep it close the first half. The second half they just wear down due to lack of depth and Georgia pulls away. It’s a night game against someone we really don’t care for the crowd should lubed up and loud. No rain please.

    Liked by 8 people

  5. David D

    I don’t care who starts at QB for us, who starts at QB for them. If we are who we think we are…we’re going to roll ’em up in a rout.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Down Island Way

      Let that fan base enjoy their two wins, cause that shit is gonna come to an neck snapping halt around 8:15 or so @ Sanford Stadium…ya figure they will look back around week 10 remembering the good times and that bitch slap UGA football gave ’em…

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Got Cowdog

    I’m thinking seeing an old fat dude running for his life will be cartoonishly funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. uga97

    UsCluckers aren’t any better than UAB. Dogs cover.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. originaluglydawg

    In a way, “South Carolina” is a directional State.
    Anyway…I watched a bit of the E. Carolina game. To be honest, SC should have beaten them by a little more. The ref’s screwed SC like a yard dog. They aren’t close to being UGA’s equal, but they aren’t awful. Their running game became real late in the game when ECU was worn down a little.
    Unless the Dawgs have been into the rat poison, it shouldn’t be scary for us.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. moe pritchett

    I need a Grizzard take on this

    “Cocks may be slippery in Athens rain.”

    Just to follow the greatest headline never used;

    “Dawgs to play Cocks with Dicks out.”

    I’ve waited years to be be able to post something like this.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Ran A

    Just do not see South Carolina with any chance of moving the ball and I expect turnovers from their group. I think they’ll have trouble getting across the 50 all day.

    While not expecting the explosiveness from last week, I do expect Georgia to be able to gash this defense, especially when/where their line-backers are involved.

    Field position and turnovers should lead to a not so stressful win over the over-matched Gamecocks.

    Like

  11. Similar to last week, if this team is what everyone says it is (the #2 team in the land), we will roll them. Whether we cover the spread is a completely different question. They tried to play off our receivers last year, and we absolutely gashed their defensive front in Columbia. I would suggest they’ll try something different and attack the run game right off the bus. On defense, we were as vanilla as instant grits … I don’t think that will be the case on Saturday night.

    Dawgs win big – 42-10. The Gamecocks get their annual moral victory of scoring more against us than Clemson.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. W Cobb Dawg

    “…the Bulldogs aren’t coming off their best showing.”

    Did we watch the same game 247? I saw our backup QB have a record-tying performance, and a defense that prevented the opposing offense from scoring.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Truth

      Best is relative. I’m plenty satisfied with the way things turned out last week but recognize that we can probably do some things better.

      If we keep doing better week to week, we might damn well be near perfection by the time we play in the SECC — but that’s not a bad place to be.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. TripleB

    If they have good secondary and d-line, I agree they will try to play us like Clemson. That’s probably a good thing because other more talented teams on our schedule will try the same approach (Kentucky. Florida, and maybe Auburn). We need to figure out how to make drives, and ironically, how to “run the damn ball.” Explosiveness is great, but against good teams, it doesn’t work without a run element. Bottom line, we need to use this time to get our OL run blocking up to snuff.

    Liked by 6 people

  14. practicaldawg

    Rain chance keeps going down, but the bottom fell out on ticket prices this week. I went to the first 2 games and was looking forward to selling my tickets this week and sitting on the sofa section in my living room. At least I can do the 2nd part of that plan.

    Like

  15. ASEF

    UAB 2.0. It’s going to be ugly early.

    JT needs these SEC reps, though. I hope he can go.

    Like

  16. Dawg in Austin

    With their young (and weak) secondary I expect to see a lot of heavy zone, dropping 6-7 into coverage and expected throwing lanes. Let’s see if Monken learned from the Clemson game how to attack that with different routes. I’d expect a lot of sit-down routes, RB screens and heavy TE usage.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. veryfinepeopleonboth Sides

    Muschamp finds a way to beat Georgia again. Always good to see him on the other sideline.

    Like

  18. Russ

    No way Sackerlina scores much, if at all, on our defense. I hope their defense gives our offense a good game because we need to be pushed getting ready for the rest of the season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • otto1980

      Agreed, I am bracing for a low scoring somewhat ugly typical UGA/USCe game.

      Just get the W with hopefully no injuries. We need an improving team regaining depth for the remaining schedule.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. hassan

    They are totally delusional as a fan base. I wore my UGA shirt to lunch today in South Carolina. Dude at the counter said that it might be close, but that South Carolina will probably “stomp the shit out of Georgia”. But regardless, the game doesn’t matter that much because “UGA is not the toughest game South Carolina will face this year, so there is plenty of time to still win the East”.

    What the hell? Did they legalize weed up here and I missed it on the news?

    Liked by 2 people