Can South Carolina block the Bulldogs?
Georgia has switched to an attacking 3-4 defense, and the Gamecocks’ offensive line played “average” last week, according to line coach Shawn Elliott. The keys for South Carolina will be recognizing where the pressure is coming from and maintaining enough of a running game with Marcus Lattimore to keep the pass rush honest.
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Freshmen Lattimore and Ace Sanders were electric in their debuts, but that was against Southern Miss. If they can keep up that performance against the Bulldogs, it will give the Gamecocks’ offense a dimension it has been missing for years and will give Georgia’s defense fits.
Who wins the kicking game?
The game features three of the best kickers in the nation with Georgia’s duo of Blair Walsh and Drew Butler and South Carolina’s do-everything Spencer Lanning. But it doesn’t stop there. Kickoff return specialist Brandon Boykin killed the Gamecocks last year with a 100-yard return for a touchdown, and South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore is a threat every time he touches the ball.
How will UGA’s freshman quarterback fare?
Aaron Murray held up well against Louisiana-Lafayette last week, but he has not seen anything like he will see today. Not only will he have to rely on hand signals to call most plays, but he will have to deal with Ellis Johnson’s defense. The Gamecocks will try their best to force Murray to make mistakes, and that could be the difference.
How will loss of A.J. Green affect Georgia?
Green is the Bulldogs’ most talented offensive weapon, and he is the player who had the best chance to make South Carolina pay for its pressure on the quarterback. Without Green to keep the secondary honest, the Gamecocks can ratchet up the pressure on Murray. Georgia must have someone step up in the passing game, and South Carolina must not let its guard down because Green is gone.