Josh Kendall

Kendall’s pick: Orth won’t be problem as USC keeps it close

South Carolina's Perry Orth
South Carolina's Perry Orth

Perry Orth will not be the problem.

South Carolina has lots of potential matchup issues against No. 7 Georgia on Saturday. Their junior quarterback, a former walk-on who had no Division I scholarship offers coming out of high school in Florida, being overwhelmed by the moment doesn’t feel like it will be one of them.

Orth has moved seamlessly into the role starter’s role this week, graciously answering questions about working at Publix to help pay his bills before being placed on scholarship in August and chuckling at his newfound fame, including a local fast food restaurant predicting an “Orthquake” on its marquee.

“It’s pretty funny. I like all those jokes and stuff,” he said. “I think it’s hilarious. Everything that has come with it has been kind of funny.”

If he can win Saturday in Athens, it’ll be the feel good story of the early season, and the SEC Network will be on campus next week to film a feature on the College Kurt Warner (Warner is the former St. Louis Rams quarterback who went from out of football and working at a grocery store to being named MVP of the Super Bowl.)

“We understand Saturday is a very big game for us,” Orth said. “Everyone is excited for the next opportunity to get out there and try to turn it around.”

It won’t be easy. The Bulldogs, who are 17-point favorites, average 6.63 yards per carry and the Gamecocks have allowed an SEC-worst 5.85 yards per carry. Georgia is second in the SEC in sacks (six) and South Carolina will have a first-time starter at quarterback. The Bulldogs linebackers might be the best group in the nation, which will make it difficult for the Gamecocks to simply rely on the running game.

Orth won’t be the problem, but there are enough other ones that it’s hard to pick the Gamecocks to win.