Nightmare in Williams-Brice as Gamecocks KO Dogs early, 35-7
Posted on Oct 7, 2012 by Murray Poole |
COLUMBIA, SC – Coming into their big SEC battle with 6th-ranked South Carolina, the 5th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs knew they would have to run the football well to keep the rugged Gamecock defense from teeing off on quarterback Aaron Murray when he dropped back to throw.
Well, the Bulldogs couldn’t run it and they couldn’t throw it either as Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks made a statement to the nation they are serious about making a run to the SEC championship game with a 35-7 pummeling of a stunned and flustered Georgia team. But then, the Bulldogs’ offense can’t shoulder all the blame for this debacle. The UGA defense that was rated so highly in the preseason couldn’t slow down Carolina’s balanced attack, which took it to the Bulldogs with Connor Shaw’s passing arm and Marcus Lattimore’s churning legs as the Gamecocks won an unprecedented third consecutive meeting with Georgia.
With the Bulldogs’ offensive line simply unable to provide any room for the Georgia running backs, Murray was rushed relentlessly by Jadeveon Clowney and his fellow Carolina defenders and a contest that figured to be fiercely fought throughout turned into anything but that. The Gamecocks, in fact, threw a haymaker at the Bulldogs from the very opening whistle, blowing out to a 21-0 first quarter lead on a 20-yard pass from Shaw to Bruce Ellington, a 14-yard pass from Shaw to Rory Anderson and a dazzling 70-yard punt return by Ace Sanders. And the shell-shocked Bulldogs could never recover. This, mind you, from a Georgia team that had scored more than 40 points in its first five outings.
Late in the second quarter, the Bulldogs marched down to the Gamecocks’ 2-yard line before coming up short on a fourth-and-goal, keeping the halftime tally at 21-zip and Georgia was to get no closer the rest of the evening. South Carolina’s lead went to 28-0 midway of the third quarter when a 62-yard Shaw-to-D.L. Moore connection set up Lattimore’s one-yard scoring plunge. The Gamecocks then added insult to injury by getting a 7-yard TD scamper from Shaw with 6:17 remaining to blink the board to 35-0. The Bulldogs then cashed their only score of the night with just 1:55 left to play when Ken Malcome bulled over from three yards out.
“We just got our butts handed to us,” said junior quarterback Murray, who was harassed all night by the South Carolina defensive front and limited to 11 completions in 31 attempts for 109 yards and no touchdowns with one interception. “Our guys didn’t quit, we didn’t give up; we just didn’t make plays tonight.”
Bulldogs’ head coach Mark Richt wasn’t into making excuses either after watching his team not only fall for the first time this season after five consecutive wins but get manhandled by a South Carolina team that rated just a two-point favorite entering the contest.
“Like I told the guys, we took a whipping, but the good news was that we all took it together,” Richt declared in his post-game session with the media. “I don’t think anyone could look in the mirror and say ‘I had a great day but the other boys didn’t.’ I don’t think either side of the ball could say ‘We did our job and the other boys didn’t.’ It was a team loss. We got beat by a very good team that was primed and ready to go. I thought their fans were outstanding. I guess they broke a new record in attendance (85,199). They grabbed the momentum early and held on to it. The second quarter, I thought we slowed them down a little bit and stopped the bleeding to a certain degree. I thought the momentum was up for grabs in the second half. Their defense the entire night just took care of business. We have to give them credit.
“The other thing I told the guys is whether you lose by 28 or you lose in overtime, it is still a loss,” added Richt. “That doesn’t mean the season is over for Georgia. We still have an opportunity to keep fighting and keep playing and getting better and winning. If we are able to do that, then we will have a chance to get back to Atlanta and that’s where we want to be.”
What can one say? When hopes are so high among the Bulldawg Nation about this being a special season and then to get taken apart in a game such as this, absolutely nothing worked well on a night when it seemed Georgia was really never in this football game.
What Didn’t Work
You name it, the Bulldogs couldn’t stop the Gamecocks early, when it mattered the most, and they couldn’t stop them in the second half when South Carolina was pretty well content to scale back its offense and be content to let Lattimore pound the ball inside the tackles. And, as duly noted, a Georgia offense that had proved pretty much unstoppable in this 2012 season had to go down inside the last two minutes before crossing the goal line.
There simply can’t be many when a team loses in such a manner as this. But sophomore linebacker Amarlo Herrera again acquitted himself well for the Georgia defense, being in on 11 total tackles. And John Jenkins and Alec Ogletree chipped in with eight tackles each. And with standout freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall being limited to 39 and 37 yards, respectively, Ken Malcome charged for 45 yards on the Bulldogs’ late touchdown drive to pace Georgia’s meager 115-yard rushing total.
Welcome Week Off
The Bulldogs get to lick their wounds during the open date week before then traveling to Kentucky Oct. 20 and then encountering unbeaten Florida in Jacksonville Oct. 27.
“It’s tough right now but we’re going to stick together and fix the mistakes we made,” offered senior cornerback Sanders Commings. “Hopefully, our fans will stick behind us. We’re sorry we lost tonight because everyone was so excited about this game but we’re going to continue to fight and continue to play. We can still go 11-1.”
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