USC Gamecocks Football

Scouting USC’s next opponent: the Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason was 17-of-28 passing for 211 yards, two touhdowns and an interception in the loss to Tennessee.
Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason was 17-of-28 passing for 211 yards, two touhdowns and an interception in the loss to Tennessee. AP

Game Info

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C.

TV: SEC Network

Radio: 107.5 FM

Line: Georgia by 8 1/2

Three Story Lines

1. Will Muschamp vs. Kirby Smart: The two defensive experts played at Georgia and are friends and former colleagues at Valdosta State and LSU. Muschamp walked on at Georgia and played safety from 1991-94, while Smart was a four-year letterman at defensive back from 1995-98.

2. How will Georgia bounce back? Georgia is coming off two consecutive SEC losses, including a blowout 45-14 loss at Ole Miss and a last-minute Hail Mary heartbreaker to Tennessee on Saturday. Will the Bulldogs be able to mentally push past both defeats and beat the Gamecocks on the road?

3. Running back Nick Chubb’s injury status: The amount of playing time Chubb will see against the Gamecocks is uncertain. After he suffered an ankle sprain in the second half against Ole Miss, Chubb was a game-time decision against Tennessee. He entered in the Bulldogs’ second series Saturday, recording a three-yard gain for his only carry.

Three Players to Watch

1. Quarterback Jacob Eason: The Georgia offensive line has struggled to protect the freshman the past two games, but Eason has managed to put up impressive numbers. He’s completed 52 percent of his passes for 780 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.

2. Running back Sony Michel: If Chubb’s injury holds him back against South Carolina, expect to see Michel carry most of the load at tailback. He rushed for a season-high 91 yards on 16 attempts as the starter against Tennessee.

3. Wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie: He’s racked up 318 receiving yards in five games and caught four touchdowns in Georgia’s first three games of the season. His production dropped off in the losses to Ole Miss and Tennessee, but it’ll be interesting to see if USC’s defense can keep his yardage in check.

Scouting report

▪  The Bulldogs’ offense is purely the work of coordinator Jim Chaney: a power-based, pro-style attack that deploys subtle wrinkles and elements that make it notably creative.

▪  The offense is heavy on draws and toss plays. It uses a lot of vertical routes and relatively few screen passes.

▪  McKenzie isn’t big, but he moves well, finds space in zones and stands out on tape.

▪  The backs outside Chubb are solid, mostly above-average runners, but none are in the same stratosphere as him.

▪  Despite Smart’s defensive pedigree, his unit hasn’t yet caught on. Muschamp described Texas A&M as only fully taking on the attitude of its defensive coordinator in year two. Georgia seems to be short there.

▪  The defense has a three-down base, but is multiple and can match spreads well.

▪  Defensive back Maurice Smith is third on the team in tackles, notable since he is primarily a nickelback.

The State’s Ben Breiner contributed to this story

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