David Cloninger

USC vs. Georgia: 5 gameday storylines, 5 key numbers

Will it be Perry Orth or Brandon McIlwain on Sunday?
Will it be Perry Orth or Brandon McIlwain on Sunday? gmelendez@thestate.com

1. WEATHER OR NOT?

There will be a football game this weekend, just not on the day originally planned. The Gamecocks’ home game against the Bulldogs, which was originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, was moved to 2:30 p.m. Sunday because of the predicted impact of Hurricane Matthew on the state.

2. SNAPS

Who starts and who plays more between Perry Orth and Brandon McIlwain? The Gamecocks’ offense moved well under Orth last week but defenses know they can play straight pass coverage because he won’t run. McIlwain offers the threat to run but he has been hesitant to throw. USC has to find a medium.

3. SPLIT RUN FITS

USC has been mostly good against the run this year but has broken down in crucial times. With Georgia’s Nick Chubb expected to be full-speed and the explosive Sony Michel on the edges, the Gamecocks can’t afford any lapses.

4. MUS-SMART

Even though both coaches will say they’re not concentrating on their friendship or alma mater, TV will play it up as a War Between The States due to each’s Georgia heritage. Each coach is coming off two straight losses and needs a win, so they’re likely not thinking anything beyond winning. But it sure would feel nice for each if they can pull that off.

5. VACCINATED

The Gamecocks’ special teams played a large part in last week’s loss. USC didn’t change its kicker but may switch Hayden Hurst or Kiel Pollard to punt return. The Gamecocks can’t afford to give the Bulldogs any extra chances to score.

FIVE Key NUMBERS

3

Combined margin of victory in Georgia’s two wins before its last two games (both losses). Those were against football powers Nicholls and Missouri.

19

Years since neither USC or Georgia was in the Top 25 when they met.

425/524

Nick Chubb’s rushing yards despite missing most of the last two games/USC’s season rushing yards among nine individuals and one “team” rush.

8

Years since the Gamecocks lost a home game to the Bulldogs.

13th

Georgia’s SEC rank in scoring defense (30.8 points per game). The Gamecocks’ scoring offense is last in the SEC (14.0 ppg).

 
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