Bulldogs end three-game losing streak to Gamecocks

Georgia 41, South Carolina 30

Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 7:55 PM
Last updated Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 12:47 AM
  • Follow College

ATHENS, Ga. — Early in the fourth quarter, Aaron Murray faced down his reputation of failing to win the big game.

Back | Next
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Georgia running back Todd Gurley dodges a tackle by South Carolina’s Ahmad Christian. Gurley rushed for 132 yards in Saturday’s victory.

With Georgia clinging to a four-point lead on third and 13, Murray eluded Jadeveon Clowney, threw on the run and connected with Justin Scott-Wesley at midfield. The play resulted in Murray’s fourth touchdown, helping the senior quarterback shed his albatross of his poor play against ranked opponents.

“Everybody said Aaron can’t win the big game,” Scott-Wesley said. “We knew coming in all we had to do was give him some time.

“I have full faith in Aaron.”

Murray threw for 309 yards and made clutch plays time and again as No. 11 Georgia stiff-armed No. 6 South Carolina, 41-30, in its Southeastern Conference opener at Sanford Stadium.

The Bulldogs bounced back from a 38-35 loss at No. 8 Clemson a week earlier with a relentless no-huddle offense that put up 536 total yards. Georgia snapped a three-game losing streak to South Carolina and now has a small cushion over the Gamecocks to win the SEC East.

“It’s a huge win,” Murray said. “I’m very, very happy right now the way we played as a team.

“It’s been tough for three years to be hoping that (South Carolina) loses so that we can get to Atlanta, so its a great feeling to be 1-0 in the (SEC East) right now. We know it’s a long season, though, and we just have to keep working.”

Much maligned for his 4-10 record versus top 25 opponents entering the contest, Murray completed 17 of 23 pass attempts – his receivers dropped four passes. More importantly, he didn’t throw an interception after doing so each of the past two seasons against the Gamecocks.

“Aaron played a pretty good game today,” said Clowney, the All-American defensive end who stated during the SEC Media Days in July that Murray was scared of him. Clowney finished with one sack, another tackle for loss and three total tackles.

“He threw it quick and ran it away from me the whole game. Their game plan worked out for them today.”

Led by Clowney, South Carolina’s defense had no answer for Georgia’s running game. Todd Gurley rushed for 132 yards and one touchdown as the Bulldogs rolled up 227 yards on the ground. Augusta freshman tailback Brendan Douglas recorded 31 yards on five carries – all in the fourth quarter – as Georgia ran out the clock.

After suffering a 35-7 blowout loss a year ago to South Carolina, Georgia looked like it was going to return the favor. Murray fired a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Arthur Lynch before hitting tailback Keith Marshall on a 6-yard pass play to lift the Bulldogs to a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter.

South Carolina, which posted 452 yards of offense, bounced back with a Brandon Wilds 7-yard touchdown run. Then, the Gamecocks capitalized after Georgia punter Collin Barber dropped the snap and recovered it on the 18. Connor Shaw tossed the first of two touchdown passes to Nick Jones to tie the game.

The teams went into halftime knotted at 24.

South Carolina blew an opportunity to take the lead in the third quarter when Shaw lost a fumble on the Georgia 25 – the lone turnover of the game. Georgia converted the mistake into a 27-24 advantage after Patrick Beless drilled a 37-yard field goal. Gurley followed with an 8-yard touchdown reception from Murray at the end of the quarter.

Mike Davis, who gained 149 yards on 15 carries, scored on a 3-yard run to start the fourth quarter to pull the Gamecocks within four. Then, South Carolina had its chance to stop the Bulldogs, with Georgia facing third and 13 from its 15. Murray scrambled left, dashed around Clowney and found Scott-Wesley wide open at the 45. The sophomore receiver blazed down the left sideline past the Gamecock secondary for an 85-yard touchdown, staking Georgia to a 41-30 lead with 13 minutes remaining.

“I guess it was blown coverage,” Scott-Wesley said. “(Murray) kept it alive. I did my job getting outside along the sideline. He threw the ball and I just turned on the jets.”

South Carolina threatened again when Shaw directed a 72-yard drive deep in Georgia territory. But on fourth and goal from the 1, Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson stuffed Davis on an option pitch from Shaw at the 1.

“That’s all we needed, one stop,” Murray said.

TURNING A CORNER

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray has struggled against ranked teams. He was 4-10 overall, including 0-5 in his first five games. He has won three of the past six, including Saturday’s win over South Carolina, where he went 17 for 23 for 309 yards, four TDs and no interceptions.

DATEOPPONENT, RESULTCOMP-ATT-INTYDSTDS
Aug. 31Clemson, L 38-3520-29-13230
Jan. 1Nebraska, W 45-3118-33-24275
Dec. 1, ’12Alabama, L 32-2818-33-12651
Oct. 27, ’12Florida, W 17-912-24-31501
Oct. 6, ’12South Carolina, L 35-1711-31-11090

Source: www.georgiadogs.com

GRADING THE GAME

OFFENSE: A. It’s hard to argue with what Georgia’s offense accomplished, especially in keeping Jadeveon Clowney’s long arms mostly off of quarterback Aaron Murray.

Murray passed for an interception-free 309 yards and four touchdowns and was sacked twice. The Bulldogs were resourceful, spreading the ball around to eight receivers, including Justin Scott-Wesley, the recently promoted rising star who finished with a team-high 116 yards and the Bulldogs’ insurance touchdown on an 85-yard reception in the fourth quarter.

Tailback Todd Gurley also had another big game with 132 yards rushing and a touchdown and caught one pass, also for a score.

DEFENSE: B-. Some of the previous week’s mistakes were cleared up, but the Bulldogs’ youth definitely showed again at times, and South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw passed for 228 yards and two touchdowns while the Gamecocks rushed for 226 yards and another pair of scores.

The defense’s saving grace is that it showed up when it mattered most with a goal-line stand in the middle of the fourth quarter. Though there are still concerns for Georgia moving forward, such as shoring up the secondary, the defense can take some pride in knowing it limited Clemson and South Carolina, both among the country’s best offenses, to a combined 68 points. It’s likely to only get better – and arguably easier – from here.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A-. Blake Sailors recovered a first-quarter onside kick for Georgia that led to a field goal and gave the team a torrent of early momentum. Patrick Beless could not have been more consistent, kicking field goals from 22 and 37 yards out and hitting all five of his point-after attempts, and the Bulldogs didn’t allow a return on their lone successful punt. Take away Collin Barber’s botched punt attempt in the second quarter, which quickly led to a South Carolina touchdown, and the Bulldogs’ special teams play was remarkably efficient with the opportunities it had.

OVERALL: A-. Georgia’s game was far from flawless, but the win was a gem for a team that had not defeated South Carolina since 2009. It’ll serve as vindication for Georgia’s offense, which is priding itself on firepower, proof of Murray’s continued improvement and as yet another test (this one passed) by the defense. At 1-0 in the SEC, the Bulldogs’ hopes of returning to Atlanta for the conference championship game look better than they have in years at this point in a season.

– Chris White, Morris News Service

Comments (21) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
ragingbull
945
Points
ragingbull 09/07/13 - 08:20 pm
4
1
The Real Georgia Power!!

The Real Georgia Power!!

etlinks
21233
Points
etlinks 09/07/13 - 08:38 pm
2
0
Congrats to the Dawgs on a

Congrats to the Dawgs on a good game. Murray was sporty but #3 is one heck of a player. South Carolina's defense needs work. I know JTF is smiling.

follower
59
Points
follower 09/07/13 - 10:52 pm
4
0
Great to see our local boy,

Great to see our local boy, Douglas, get the ball. His first run was impressive. He will be a factor with Marshall limping around.

KSL
131358
Points
KSL 09/07/13 - 10:59 pm
3
2
Congrats, especially to those

Congrats, especially to those who posted on here that USC had no business being in the SEC. I know that was a few years ago. But I have not forgotten.

Just My Opinion
5712
Points
Just My Opinion 09/07/13 - 11:40 pm
4
0
Great game. VERY happy for

Great game. VERY happy for Aaron Murray and local juggernaut Douglas! Todd Gurley is a sure Heisman candidate...the kid just LOVES having the ball in his hands (30 carries tonight!). I heard a Carolina fan say that Gurley is like their Lattimore...and I'd consider that a compliment.

Bodhisattva
6309
Points
Bodhisattva 09/08/13 - 05:33 am
2
5
The NCAA and ESPN bias,

The NCAA and ESPN bias, favoritism, and monetary interest in the SEC will again rear its ugly head and UGA will undoubtedly hop back into the top 10. Keep USC and UF around and they'll make sure the SEC is the only conference with a 1 loss team in the top ten and 1 loss teams in the top 15 or 16. The bias is blindingly obvious. Claim the SEC is so great so a loss drops you a few places. Another team from a different conference loses and they're out of contention for the nation title, period. Start the preseason with 6 out of the top 12 teams from one conference and it's almost impossible for the SEC not to have a team in the national championship game, if not their ultimate dream and plan, both teams. Big schools with big bases, most of whom never matriculated. When the people that make the rankings have a monetary interest in one conference, I wonder which conference they'll favor come hell or high water? So now UGA, who has a loss to Clemson :) and is 1-1, will be back in the top 10 over undefeated teams by virtue of beating USC who is now 1-1 and has only had a 27-10 win against a team that lost to Duke and Wake Forest last year. Man do they need a playoff, but then ESPN would just make sure it was all SEC teams. BTW, could someone please tell me when the SEC eliminated the holding penalty. I've noticed 2 weeks in a row that it's obviously perfectly legal for UGA to grab and not let go of opposing teams jerseys. Definitely a plus in the running game and pass protection. The grab around the neck and sling down like a wrestling move tackle is a new twist too. I figured since they worry about neck injuries so much that would be a no no, but it must not be. It's hard to keep up with the rule changes.

justthefacts
22203
Points
justthefacts 09/08/13 - 07:56 am
4
1
Haha

Bod, you are hilarious. UGA had 9 offensive penalties called on them at Clemson. Clemson ran 80 offensive plays and had exactly 0.

justthefacts
22203
Points
justthefacts 09/08/13 - 08:06 am
0
0
8-5

gcap. Good morning.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 09/08/13 - 08:45 am
0
0
Congratulations
Unpublished

Georgia! You beat us and looked good in doing so. My wife is the happiest she's been ( football wise) since 2009. Go Gamecocks.

localguy55
5477
Points
localguy55 09/08/13 - 09:57 am
1
0
Bod. waking up angry at the

Bod. waking up angry at the world every day is not good for the soul. It's just a game and the SEC is a big part of the entertainment. I can remember a decade or so back the Big 10 conference was the talk of the town, so to speak. It is a fact that a great number of Pros come from SEC schools. There is money to be made by promoting them. It's good business Bod. I know you don't like the business aspect of most anything, but it is what makes our world go round. I guess you would relish watching a good ol game of socker( european football). You could leave the game, have dinner, watch a movie, return and the score will be the same. The most exciting part of the whole game is when the fans riot.

gcap
290
Points
gcap 09/08/13 - 10:31 am
2
0
Make no mistake.

Murray's passing was good, but the Dawg's running attack won the game. Eight and a half minutes on the ground in the final quarter accomplished two things. First, it killed the clock. Second, it kept our hapless defense off the field. The running game beat USC. Period.

Just My Opinion
5712
Points
Just My Opinion 09/08/13 - 01:31 pm
0
0
Bod, I'll admit that the

Bod, I'll admit that the polls aren't always easy to figure out. But it sounds to me that you are only counting wins vs losses. You can't do that. To make a more valid poll, you HAVE to figure strength of schedule.
Yes, Georgia dropped to 11 in last weeks poll, but the were beaten by only 3 points by a team in the top 10...that does play into their strength of schedule points. We beat a top 10 team in Carolina...that benefitted us and help keep Carolina from dropping too far (because we were #11). Florida dropped pretty far because they were ranked well and Miami was unranked.
As far as the media bias, I will bet you a thousand dollars that if the ACC wins several national championships in a row, then the media attention will be all over the ACC!

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 09/08/13 - 02:19 pm
0
0
"Bod. waking up angry at the
Unpublished

"Bod. waking up angry at the world every day is not good for the soul."
you need to remember that bod is a tech fan and they would have hard time beating Slippery Rock.

justthefacts
22203
Points
justthefacts 09/08/13 - 02:44 pm
1
0
Surprising

At least Bod didn't blame it on the Koch Brothers..........

bdouglas
5144
Points
bdouglas 09/08/13 - 04:12 pm
1
0
@gcap

"The running game beat USC. Period."

Umm...the box score says GA had exactly 3 yards more rushing than USC. It was not the running game.

bdouglas
5144
Points
bdouglas 09/08/13 - 04:21 pm
1
0
The polls are completely

The polls are completely screwy this year...

UGA definitely should've dropped after last week, but not all the way from 5 to 11.

Clemson should've come up after last week also, but not all the way from 8 to 4 to leapfrog a team they only beat by 3 points. And moving up to 3 this week by blowing out a non conference, pay-for-play team is unwarranted, too.

Lastly, USC dropping from 6 to 13 on a fairly equal game offensively is also pretty ridiculous.

justthefacts
22203
Points
justthefacts 09/08/13 - 05:32 pm
0
0
bdouglas

Clowney? Is he done now?

bdouglas
5144
Points
bdouglas 09/08/13 - 08:34 pm
0
0
@JTF

If every SEC team continues to construct their entire defensive game plan around him, then likely yes (as far as his Heisman hopes, since that's what you're referring to). It's hard for *anyone* to make much of an impact when every single play has them double- or triple-teamed.

Just My Opinion
5712
Points
Just My Opinion 09/08/13 - 08:35 pm
0
0
Clowney has issues. Saw today

Clowney has issues. Saw today where he was criticizing the plan his coaches have for him. He was gassed for the game..again. His foot hurt. He "only" had one sack. He can't go on like this and still be considered a #1 draft pick. But I'm glad he wasn't "on" this week!

justthefacts
22203
Points
justthefacts 09/09/13 - 07:49 am
0
0
bdoug

OK, just wanted to make sure we were on the same planet. Last week I felt a little lonely on my observations about Clowney. You are right, teams scheme against Clowney. But, didn't they last year? I really believe he is playing not to get hurt. Just my opinion.

bdouglas
5144
Points
bdouglas 09/09/13 - 10:18 am
0
0
@JTF

I can't say I blame him. All these kids get paid nothing (so they say...) throughout college. Play your hardest and you get noticed by the NFL, but also, play your hardest and you're more likely to get injured. So once you've already been noticed by the NFL--especially with the recognition he's gotten--it's gotta go through your mind how many millions you could lose if you get injured. Can't help but think Lattimore would be getting paid much more if he hadn't spent most of the last two seasons on the injured list.

justthefacts
22203
Points
justthefacts 09/09/13 - 10:35 am
0
0
@ bdouglas

I hear you. Still though, if you are not going to give it your all (as Lattimore did), then go pro early. Didn't Clowney have the option? I forget. Side note, what did you think of Spurrier not stopping the clock and trying to get the ball back. Weird huh?

bdouglas
5144
Points
bdouglas 09/09/13 - 12:59 pm
0
0
@JTF

There was a good bit of questionable coaching in that one. Defensive coaching, in particular.

Back to Top

Top headlines

SRS shipments halted until 2016

Savannah River Site can't resume shipments of Cold War nuclear waste materials to an underground repository in New Mexico until at least 2016 when the federal government reopens the facility to ...
Search Augusta jobs