This weekend in Columbia, SC will mark the 60th meeting between the ‘Cocks and Dawgs on the football field. This match-up might be in the biggest in the history of the game with both teams being ranked in the top 10 and both being undefeated. Georgia has been an offensive force so far this season, leading the SEC in scoring offense with 48.2 points per game and total offense with 536 yards per game. The Dawgs defense has also looked good this season only giving up 22 points per game and 370 yards per game. USC is also entering the game with good offensive and defensive numbers so this game has “SEC Classic” written all over it.
Georgia Offense: The Dawgs are led by junior quarterback Aaron Murray, who has passed for a 1370 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season, which ranks him 3rd in the SEC. Behind Murray, the Bulldogs have a pair of freshman running backs that have been as good as advertised. Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall will share the load against USC and will cause major problems for the Gamecocks secondary. Gurley has rushed for a SEC leading 536 yards and 9 touchdowns. As for Marshall, he has rushed for 428 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Dawgs leading receiver Michael Bennett went down Tuesday with a season ending injury, so look for senior WR Tavarres King to step up. USC must stop the run in this game.
Georgia’s Defense: The defense is led by junior linebacker Jarvis Jones, who has 32 tackles, 8 TFL and 4.5 sacks on the season. The defense should get a big boost having Alac Olgetree and Bacarri Rambo back in the line-up after being suspended for the first four games. Both played last week, and Ogletree recorded 14 tackles and three pass break-ups. On the defensive line, John Jenkins is the big man in the middle, weighing in at 360 pounds, he can really cause problems for any offensive line so USC must be ready. USC will have to be balanced on offense.
What might happen on Saturday: It always seems like UGA vs. South Carolina is a close game, and I don’t think this year will be any different. With ESPN College Gameday in town, the atmosphere around Williams Brice on Saturday should be electrifying.
Look for South Carolina to come out and establish the run with Marcus Lattimore, who has played some of his best games against Georgia. South Carolina will look for ball control and keeping the Georgia offense off the field. The one thing you don’t want to do is get in a shoot-out against the UGa. If South Carolina can run the ball and play good defense, I feel like the Gamecocks can win this game. If the Gamecocks come out and allow Gurley and Marshall to have big plays, like they have all season, it could be a long night for the ‘Cocks.
I personally think USC’s defense will shut down the Georgia run offense, and make Murray beat them with his arm. Look for Taylor and Clowney to once again step up and play a big part in the outcome of this game.
Prediction time: USC 24 UGA 21
University of Georgia
Head Coach: Mark Richt (111-38 overall record in 12 seasons)
Overall Record vs. USC: UGA leads the series 42-15-2, with USC winning the last two games
UGA’s 2012 record: 5-0 overall, 3-0 SEC with win over Tennessee last weekend (51-44)
Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.