South Carolina and Georgia will face off Saturday evening in Athens, Ga.
▪ WHO: South Carolina (1-1) at Georgia (2-0)
▪ WHERE: Sanford Stadium (92,746)
▪ WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday
▪ TV: ESPN (Brad Nessler, play-by-play; Todd Blackledge, analysis; Holly Rowe, sideline)
▪ RADIO: WNKT-FM 107.5 (Todd Ellis, Tommy Suggs, Langston Moore)
▪ SATELLITE RADIO: Sirius 115/XM 191
▪ LINE: Georgia by 16.5
▪ SERIES RECORD: Georgia leads 47-18-2; South Carolina has won 4 of the last 5 meetings.
▪ JERSEY REPORT: The Gamecocks will wear white jerseys and garnet pants.
▪ WEATHER REPORT: Saturday in Athens will see mostly sunny, with a high near 86. At night, expect partly cloudy, with lows dipping into the 60s.
Cornerback Chris Lammons, who started the North Carolina, will miss his second straight game because of a knee sprain. Al Harris and Rico McWilliams are expected to start at cornerback.
▪ Georgia QB Greyson Lambert vs. South Carolina’s defense. Lambert looked shaky in last week’s 31-14 victory over Vanderbilt, rekindling worries among the Bulldog faithful that the team lacks a quarterback capable of leading it to a championship. Georgia needs him to produce more than 11 of 21 for 116 yards, especially as teams stack the line even more to stop the running game.
As downtrodden as the Kentucky loss was, the Gamecocks can still have a fine season. They have to realize that. As unlikely as a win looks today, it could still happen. One mistake by Georgia or one big South Carolina play and the pressure is all on the Bulldogs – they’re the ones who have lost four of five in the series, and they’re the ones who would have to live with another year of the Steve Spurrier Smirk.
2. FIRST-HALF TEAM
It’s mind-boggling how well USC’s defense has played in each second half of the season, when by logic it should be tired and less energetic. It hasn’t been just adjustments; it’s been night-and-day different. If the Gamecocks can just slow down Georgia, particularly Nick Chubb, in the first half, perhaps its offense can begin to spark.
3. FOLLOW ME, BOYS
Perry Orth had no hesitation when asked to lead the Gamecocks last week, and he says he anticipates no problems in leading it this week and in the future. It’s his team now, fair or unfair, and Orth is at least winning the primaries. If he can just be steady and not asked to do too much, Spurrier can likely find some wily move in his love-to-beat-Georgia playbook and pull another Melvin Ingram Special out of thin air. Orth will simply have to execute it. Two words – “Erik Kimrey.”
Brandon Wilds frustratedly asked for it, so give it to him. Especially on the goal line. Orth is allowed to ease his way in, Chubb is kept off the field, the Gamecocks don’t have to worry about forcing a ball to Pharoh Cooper between four defenders. Run. And then run some more.
Elliott Fry has only missed from 42 and 57 yards, but his miss last week loomed large. Fry has been labeled one of the best kickers in the country and he needs to prove it if given the chance. All four of his makes this year have been less than 30 yards, so if the Gamecocks’ offense stalls in Athens, he has to deliver no matter where he is. It often comes down to who can kick the best down there.
1 Number of Georgia wins in the last five meetings with South Carolina. It was in Athens, though.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
▪ South Carolina: QB Perry Orth, a former walk-on, will get his first career start in place of injured Connor Mitch (shoulder). Orth spent part of the summer working in a grocery store, and then was rewarded with a scholarship before the start of the season. Taking over last Saturday in a loss to Kentucky, he completed 13 of 20 passes for 179 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
▪ Georgia: RB Nick Chubb has picked up where he left off in his stellar freshman season, extending his streak of 100-yard rushing games to 10 in a row. He ripped off 189 yards against Vanderbilt.
0 Career starts of USC quarterback Perry Orth and the number of times he’s played at Sanford Stadium.
As usual, the Gamecocks are stocked with Georgia natives. USC has 27 Peach State natives on the roster all aching for a piece of the home-state Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs have two South Carolinians on their roster – Dorchester’s Michael Barnett and Goose Creek’s Tramel Terry.
FACTS & FIGURES
▪ Georgia is plus-three in turnover margin, leading to 17 points.
▪ LB Skai Moore has three of South Carolina’s four interceptions.
▪ Georgia’s Mark Richt is moving up the list of the winningest coaches in SEC history with a record of 138-48. He is two behind another Georgia coach, Wallace Butts, and 10th overall.
▪ The Gamecocks are averaging 19.5 points per game, next-to-last in the SEC.
▪ Coach Steve Spurrier is 16-6 in his career against Georgia, but most of his success (11-1) came at Florida.
▪ Georgia will honor former SEC commissioner Mike Slive as part of a campaign to fight prostate cancer.
DEPTH CHARTS, ROSTERS, STATS
South Carolina senior running back Shon Carson has jumped David Williams to take the No. 2 spot on the running back depth chart. Carson is second on the team with 111 rushing yards and is averaging a team-high 12.3 yards per carry.
USC DEPTH CHART - OFFENSE
WR – SAMUEL (Jeffery, Neal)
WR – P. COOPER (Belton, J. Smith)
WR – GOOGER OR HEARD (Christian)
LT – SHELL (Pellage)
LG – MATULIS (Bailey)
C – KNOTT (Bailey)
RG – SPORT (Stanley)
RT – ZANDI (Camper)
TE – ADAMS (Hurst, August, Markway)
QB – ORTH (Nunez, Scarnecchia)
FB – BEDENBAUGH (Gist)
TB – WILDS (Carson, Da. Williams)
USC DEPTH CHART - DEFENSE
DE – C. COOPER (D. Johnson, Dixon)
DT – STALLWORTH (Sawyer, Griffin)
NT – DIXON JR. (Dukes, Lamin)
DE – LEWIS (English, Whitlow)
MLB – MOORE (Holloman)
WLB – WALTON (Allen-Williams)
SLB – BRYANT (Hawkins)
SPUR – GURLEY (Sasser, Boyd)
LCB – McWilliams (Elder, Fenton)
FS – I. JOHNSON (Moody)
SS – DIGGS (D. Smith)
RCB – HARRIS (Elder, Fenton)
KO – ARD (Fry)
PK – FRY (Ard)
P – KELLY (Almond)
KR – SAMUEL (Carson)
PR – P. COOPER (Lammons)
LSN – DR. WILLIAMS (McGriff)
H – KELLY (Ard)