Josh Kendall

Georgia will be starting a freshman QB; Will South Carolina?

Game preview: Border battle up next as Gamecocks host Georgia

The State's Josh Kendall and David Cloninger preview and predict the Gamecocks' game against Georgia, set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
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The State's Josh Kendall and David Cloninger preview and predict the Gamecocks' game against Georgia, set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Georgia will be starting a freshman quarterback. South Carolina probably won’t be.

The Gamecocks face the Bulldogs on Sunday, and I expect them to make a change at quarterback, putting senior Perry Orth back at the top of the rotation in place of freshman Brandon McIlwain, who started the last three games. South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp has said both quarterbacks will play against the Bulldogs, but if the offense shows a little life, I expect Orth to get most of the snaps.

Just a little life would be an improvement for the Gamecocks. They are currently last in the SEC in yards (302 per game) and scoring (14 points per game). The Bulldogs are eighth in SEC in yards allowed (378 per game) and 13th in points allowed (31 per game).

Georgia will stick with its freshman quarterback. Newcomer Jacob Eason is sixth in the SEC in passing with 198 yards per game through the air, but he’s only 12th in the conference in passer rating thanks to a very freshman-like, touchdown-to-interception ratio of seven to four. Eason has thrown some long touchdown passes to the Bulldogs and to their opponents this season, and that type of erratic play gives an improving South Carolina defense a chance to make a big play in this game.

Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp certainly is aware he’s facing a freshman quarterback.

“You evaluate the film and you make decisions as a coach, ‘What are they letting him do? Is he doing much at the line of scrimmage, as far as going from run to run, run to pass, pass to run? Protection-wise, what are they doing?’” Muschamp said. “It’s not just that he’s a freshman quarterback. Everybody has their leash, as far as what they’re letting someone do. I think they’re letting him do a lot. They’ve got a lot of looks, a lot of personnel packages, a lot of things different things that they’re doing offensively. They’re really throwing a lot at him.”

South Carolina will, too, but it won’t be quite enough.

Georgia 28, South Carolina 21

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