South Carolina plays Georgia on Sunday. Here’s what you need to know about the game.
▪ Who: South Carolina (2-3, 1-3 SEC) vs. Georgia (3-2, 1-2 SEC)
▪ When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday
▪ Where: Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250), Columbia
▪ Series history: Georgia leads 48-18-2, but USC has won 4 of the last 6. This is the 69th all-time meeting. Only Clemson (113) has faced the Gamecocks more often than Georgia.
▪ TV: SEC Network (Brent Musberger, play-by-play; Jesse Palmer, analysis; Kaylee Hartung, sideline)
▪ Radio: 107.5 FM (Todd Ellis, play-by-play; Tommy Suggs, analysis; Langston Moore, sideline)
▪ Satellite radio: Sirius 126/XM 192
▪ Line: Georgia by 6 1/2
▪ Weather: Sunny, 76 at kickoff with a high near 78
What’s at stake
This is the first time since 1997 that both teams have come into the game unranked, and the first time since 1992 that both lost their previous game. South Carolina has lost three straight SEC games and needs a win this week to help its hopes of reaching a bowl game. This is the second of a five-game homestand for the Gamecocks. 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 those deflating losses?
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, has been moved to 2:30 p.m. Sunday because of the predicted impact of Hurricane Matthew on the state. USC classes have been canceled since Wednesday. Will all the changes affect anything on the field or the atmosphere? “I told our guys it’ll be a distraction if you let it be,” USC coach Will Muschamp said. “It is what it is. I’ve been pleased with how our guys have approached it.”
Muschamp vs. Smart
Muschamp and Georgia’s Kirby Smart were teammates at Georgia and have coached together. The Muschamp-Smart matchup is the biggest talking point surrounding this game, but it’s old news for the coaches, who have met five times when one or both were assistants. Muschamp’s 1-4 in those matchups, with his lone win coming in 2007 when Auburn, where he was the defensive coordinator, beat Alabama, where Smart was in his first season as defensive backs coach. Muschamp owns a 1-3 record as a head coach against his alma mater.
A late one
The South Carolina-Georgia game is traditionally played very early in the season. In fact, the Oct. 9 date for this year’s contest is the latest the teams have met since the 1980 season when they played on Nov. 1. Next year the teams will meet even later, as the Nov. 4, 2017, encounter will be the second-latest in history, surpassed only by the Nov. 18 game in 1939.
The teams, by the numbers
Opp. Yds Rush/Game
Opp. Yds Pass/Game
Opp. Total Yds/Game
South Carolina players to watch
1. Quarterback Perry Orth: The senior started the first two games of this season, then gave way to freshman Brandon McIlwain. Orth replaced McIlwain in the fourth quarter against Texas A&M and was more effective passing the ball. He could get the start against Georgia, but both should play.
2. Linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams: USC is expected to utilize a three-linebacker look most of the game. Allen-Williams, who is third on the team with 28 tackles, will be called upon to stop the run and rush the passer in Georgia’s pro-style attack.
3. Wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards: The duo expected to be the leaders of the 2016 receiving group missed last week’s game because of bad hamstrings. Samuel has missed three straight with his injury. Muschamp expects both to return against Georgia.
Georgia 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 Nick 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.
Projected South Carolina depth chart
Our projection of the South Carolina football depth chart.
WR – SAMUEL (Googer)
WR – J. SMITH (Banks)
WR – EDWARDS (Dawkins)
LT – ZANDI (Young)
RG – HELMS (Farrell or Bailey)
C – KNOTT (Knott)
LG – BAILEY (Farrell or Knott)
RT – YOUNG (Park)
TE – HURST (Crosby)
QB – ORTH (McIlwain)
RB – TURNER (Dowdle or Williams)
DE – LEWIS (Sawyer)
DT – STALLWORTH (Thomas)
DT – THOMAS (Jones)
DE – ENGLISH (Wonnum)
SLB – ALLEN-WILLIAMS (Bryant)
MLB – WALTON (Holloman)
WLB – HOLLOMAN (Allen-Williams)
CB – LAMMONS (Fenton)
S – D. SMITH (Montac)
S – MOODY (Elder)
CB – KING (Fenton)
NICK – FENTON (Diggs)
PK – FRY (Charlton)
P – KELLY (Charlton)
LS – DR. WILLIAMS (McGriff)
KR – TURNER (Fenton)
PR – HURST (Lammons)
H – KELLY