Josh Kendall: Gamecocks in position to finish strong
South Carolina had its three-game winning streak broken Saturday in a 24-10 loss to No. 2 Georgia. Here are five things we learned in that loss, which dropped the Gamecocks to 6-3 overall and 4-3 in the SEC.
Defensive depth is an issue: Linebackers Skai Moore and T.J. Brunson didn’t play every snap, but they played almost every snap against a physical Georgia offense. Moore had a game-high 10 tackles and Brunson had seven tackles, but both players, and the entire South Carolina defense, wore down by the fourth quarter. “We got fatigued late, and that start’s to affect being able to disengage from blocks and tackling and things like that,” head coach Will Muschamp said. The season-ending injury to linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams weighed especially heavy on the Gamecocks on Saturday.
Field goals will be an adventure: Freshman Parker White had hit six of his last seven field goals entering the game but missed a 46-yarder on South Carolina’s first drive of the game. White is now 10-of-19 for the season. His 52.6 success rate ranks last in the SEC. “At the end of the day, he controls his own confidence,” South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley said. “He knows we have full faith in him to make every field goal we put him out there to try. He’s going to be fine. He made an error, but everybody who played made mistakes, too.”
The Gamecocks offense is methodical: South Carolina averaged 5.1 yards per play, not much off the pace set by Georgia, which had 5.8 yards per play. The difference is the Bulldogs ran 75 plays and the Gamecocks ran 53. South Carolina is 12th in the SEC and 118th in the nation in plays with 548 yards.
Skai Moore wants his tackles lead back: Moore could become the first South Carolina player ever to lead the team in tackles for four seasons, but he’s going to have to hold off T.J. Brunson first. Moore had 10 tackles against the Bulldogs and passed Brunson on the team tackles list for the first time this season. Moore has 67 tackles, and Brunson has 66 for the season.
Jake Fromm can throw the football: South Carolina safety Chris Lammons said before the game that Georgia “can’t pass.” It wasn’t a radical comment considering the Bulldogs don’t pass much, but Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm showed the Gamecocks he can when he has to. Fromm was 16-of-22 passing for 196 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. “We forced Jake Fromm to throw the ball, and I want to compliment Jake, he played extremely well tonight,” Muschamp said. Fromm is now third in the nation in passer rating (172.7).