Georgia vs. South Carolina – Game Recap – September 17, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Georgia coach Kirby Smart and his No. 1 Bulldog are sending a message to anyone who thought he was going to quit after a national championship.

The latest statement came Saturday in a 48-7 win over South Carolina (1-2, 0-2) in their Southeastern Conference opener, where the Gamecocks needed a touchdown with 53 seconds left to avoid becoming their fifth victim of shutting out the Bulldogs (3-0) in their last 14 games.

Georgia’s offense, meanwhile, gained 547 yards, scoring on eight of its first nine possessions and averaged nearly 10 yards per play before the backups came in and took their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter.

Although 15 players left for the NFL after Georgia won its first national title since 1980, there is still plenty of talent and attitude that winning a championship leaves behind, coach Kirby Smart said.

“It was a very special group. That’s going to stay in our building,” Kirby said. “Not the championship, but the way they practiced, the way they carried themselves.”

Stetson Bennett went 16 for 23 for 284 yards and two touchdowns and run out for another score. Just like in the Bulldogs’ 49-3 win over Oregon and 33-0 win over Samford, Bennett failed to make a fourth-quarter shot. He reminded his teammates that it won’t be easy.

“We’re going to have to play a four-quarter game at some point. We’re going to have to stay fit,” Bennett said. “It’s not going to happen every week.”

Tight end Brock Bowers had five catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns and was also running for a score. Georgia let 10 players carry the ball, rushing for 212 yards.

The Bulldogs’ defensive line overwhelmed South Carolina’s front. A defender was in quarterback Spencer Rattler’s face almost every time he dropped back more than three steps. Oklahoma’s turnover came after just three deep balls, two of which were interceptions. He did not play in the fourth quarter and was 13 of 25 for 118 yards.

“Obviously, I did a crap job getting our team ready to play today, regardless of how many guys we had,” said South Carolina coach Shane Beamer, who was missing six quarterbacks. “I don’t even want to hear. We had a good enough team to go out there and compete.”

The 41-point victory was Georgia’s most against the Gamecocks in their 75 meetings. It was South Carolina’s worst loss since a 56-6 loss to Florida in 2008.

SHUTOUT SO CLOSE

That touchdown that ruined the shutout still stung, especially after Treisman Martin intercepted a fourth-down pass at the Georgia 9 that appeared to snuff out the Gamecocks’ last chance with 4:33 left.

Linebacker Nolan Smith said there was no garbage time for Georgia’s defense, which allowed an offensive touchdown for the first time in the last five regular-season games.

“If you’re on the field, you’re a starter,” Smith said. “That’s our job. This is all our protection.

BENNETT BARFS

After touchdown throw to Bowers in the second quarter, Bennett threw up on the field as his teammates celebrated in the end zone. He said he was dry and heaving during the drive, but stayed on. Smart said he thinks Bennett was nervous from the heat and drank too much water.

Bennett didn’t miss a game.

“It hit me all of a sudden,” he said, smiling. “I ate a lot of grapes. Maybe I had bad grapes.

THE EXECUTION

Georgia: Struggles against teams like South Carolina used to define the Bulldogs. At one point when Steve Spurrier coached the Gamecocks in the early 2010s, South Carolina won four of five in the series. But after Saturday, Georgia has won 15 of its last 16 over SEC East teams.

South Carolina: Beamer looks to breathe life into a program that lost 13 of its last 16 when he took over in 2021, but still has a big gap to the best. In his second season, Beamer is 0-4 against Top 25 teams, losing by an average of nearly 24 points.

CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURVEY

A win over an SEC opponent by 41 points should be enough to keep the Bulldogs at No. 1.

NEXT

Georgia: The Bulldogs have another non-conference tuneup, this time against Kent State, before playing seven SEC games.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks are out of the SEC for a home game next Saturday against Charlotte.

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