The waning moments of the first half between South Carolina and Georgia were ... frantic about sums it up.
After a third-down sack with about 1:15 on the clock, South Carolina let the clock run before Georgia’s punt. USC’s first play was a run, and with a little more than 20 seconds left, the Gamecocks started throwing.
A gain of 10 yards set things up with fewer than 20 seconds to go, but as Bryan Edwards broke free on a dig-and-go route, quarterback Jake Bentley was hit, causing a moon shot interception.
Then Will Muschamp called back-to-back timeouts in setting up a one-shot Hail Mary defense.
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So what was the plan?
“We were setting up the dig-and-go,” Muschamp siad. “That’s what we wanted. We had it dialed up. It was open, it was there. Their guy got Jake before he got rid of the football.”
USC also eschewed a 4th-and-5 from the Georgia 40 a drive earlier, and he explained the thinking there.
“We felt like there was going to be a four-down situation,” Muschamp said. “We ended up shooting the ball down the field. I would have managed a 4th-and-1, 4th-and-2 much better than 4th-and-5. At that time of the game, it’s still a one-score game.”
On the Hail Mary, star receiver Edwards was back as one of the deep safeties. He said he played the position at points in high school and credited his coaches for getting him ready for that stop.
Star defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth was hurt in the early going and was in a windbreaker and gym shorts at the end of the game.
Muschamp said he didn’t know much about the injury, saying the medical staff “removed” him and that he was “not available.” Beyond that, the coach said his team came away healthy.
Tight end Hayden Hurst has a baseball background, so it’s no surprise he can sling it around a little.
The Gamecocks called on him to do that in the third quarter, dialing up a fake punt with him testing out his arm. He fired a ball to linebacker Skai Moore, who drew an interference call and kept the drive alive.
“We got the look that we wanted, and I trust Skai as a good athlete,” Hurst said. “I just put the ball up.
▪ Right after Hurst’s first pass, he threw another on a double pass that fell incomplete.
▪ South Carolina captains were Alan Knott, Cory Helms, Taylor Stallworth and Skai Moore.
▪ USC won the toss and took the ball first for the eighth time in nine games. The opening possession ended in a missed field goal, which has happened three other times this season.
▪ The game was easily the shortest for the Gamecocks this season, lasting only 3 hours and five minutes.
▪ Attendance was 92,746.