Scott Michaux

Sports columnist for The Augusta Chronicle. | ScottMichaux.com

Gamecocks have flipped the script on Bulldogs

Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 11:27 PM
Last updated Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012 1:43 AM
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COLUMBIA — One of the favorite staples of journalism is the “last time” feature.

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Todd Gurley with the ball is tackled during a football game between The University of Georgia and The University of South Carolina.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Todd Gurley with the ball is tackled during a football game between The University of Georgia and The University of South Carolina.

SLIDESHOW: GAME ACTION

View more photos from the game


SLIDESHOW: FANS

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You know, the last time so-and-so did such-and-such, Grover Cleveland was in the White House and a gallon of milk cost a Confederate penny or whatever.

Well, the last time South Carolina’s Gamecocks beat Georgia in football three consecutive times there was infinite blackness. You can go all the way back 13.7 billion years in the media guide and not find an instance of it happening anywhere.

Then came Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium. In the biggest gridiron showdown ever waged on Columbia turf, the Gamecocks dropped a big bang on the Bulldogs. And suddenly everything we thought we understood about college football in this corner of the universe became obsolete.

“It was probably the loudest (stadium) in the country today,” head coach Steve Spurrier said of the eruptions from the record 85,199 that witnessed a historic turning point.

South Carolina has officially succeeded Georgia as the established power in this Southeastern Conference East border war. No more dismissing wins as aberrations (Georgia was weak in 2010 or the Bulldogs gave it away with stupid mistakes in 2011).

There is no way to draw any other conclusion from Saturday night’s 35-7 beatdown than that these Gamecocks are just better. Georgia came in with a No. 5 ranking, an offense averaging nearly 50 points a game, a defense with all the pieces back together – and South Carolina made them look like Ole Miss on a bad day.

“I knew it was going to be a special one if we win,” Spurrier said of his team’s record 10th consecutive victory. “This was my 250th win as a coach and having it against the Georgia Bulldogs was special, too. ... Good to get all those historical wins. Those are fun.”

The Gamecocks simply dominated from the start. They took the opening kickoff and drove with conventional ease. It wasn’t Marcus Lattimore doing the damage or Connor Shaw turning busted plays into big gains. It was standard drop-back passing and wide open receivers.

The second drive after an interception took a little longer but was no less easy. Eleven more plays, 69 yards and it was 14-0.

Then came Ace Sanders’ bob-and-weave 70-yard punt return touchdown and, less than 10 minutes into the “border bash of the century,” it was all but over. The stat sheet had the Gamecocks leading 247-39 in overall yardage for the first quarter, but the 21-0 on the scoreboard was starkly decisive.

Georgia was just trying to find a pulse and had no defibrillator. Desperately needing something – anything – before halftime to light a spark, the Bulldogs finally mounted a substantive drive. In 15 plays they moved 80 yards to the Gamecocks’ 1, where the drive ended on fourth down when Rantavious Wooten ran a pattern that didn’t bother crossing the goal-line when that was all that mattered.

“That was a good goal-line stand,” Spurrier said. “That was a key stop.”

By the time the fourth quarter came around and the Gamecocks were driving to push the lead to 35-0, fans were chanting “Over-rated!” to the soon-to-be formerly No. 5 Bulldogs. Ouch.

But this isn’t about Georgia and what it isn’t. This is about South Carolina and what it is – under-rated. The only thing that wasn’t working for the Gamecocks on Saturday was the state-of-the-art, $6.5 million video board that went black for most of the second half.

They had their way offensively and defensively with a team that was being sized up nationally as a BCS contender. And this was no fluke.

“We came into this game expecting to win,” said Lattimore, who has never lost to Georgia in three tries.

Saturday night wasn’t a game changer – it’s a mind-changer. The last thing to move in a culture shift is outside perception. South Carolina’s established rep was as a chronic underachiever for more than a century. There would be the occasional moments of relative glory, but nothing that changed people’s minds in Arizona or Alabama.

This was different – even beyond the paradigm-shifting victory over No. 1 Alabama two years ago that sprung a first SEC East title.

“We definitely sent the message out to the whole country that this is not the old South Carolina,” Lattimore said. “We can play with y’all. We can play with anybody.”

Establishing a legitimate top-tier football program doesn’t happen overnight, but in eight seasons Spurrier has indeed made the Gamecocks an annual force to be reckoned with. He’s flipped the tables in the Palmetto State on hated rival Clemson with three unambiguous wins in a row.

Now he’s officially flipped the border war with the Bulldogs. Anyone from Athens among the record crowd in Williams-Brice walked away knowing that nothing in this series will ever be the same.

“Our fans have paid their dues and needed something in return,” said Spurrier “They are getting something in return now.”

Spurrier owns Georgia now the same way he owned them from the Southern flank at Florida. And he has reestablished a new stronghold in the SEC East and has his sights set on challenging the West.

He has the better big-game team. He has the better shut-down defense. He has the better path to Atlanta and the better shot at contending for a BCS title shot.

This is a new day in the SEC East, and the Gamecocks are the program with the expanding promise while the Bulldogs are reduced to hoping for back-door entree to its goals.

Nothing that comes next is guaranteed.

But one thing is for certain after Saturday’s three-peat over Georgia – it won’t be the last time.

Comments (23) Add comment
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scoopdedoop64
2488
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scoopdedoop64 10/07/12 - 12:17 am
1
2
crude

While the fact that Georgia got a good beating tonight is self evident there is no reason to down grade them like you did in this article. I think Georgia displayed good sportsmanship and gave the best they could tonight. Spurrier on the other handeling may know how to put together a winning team but he will never be on the same character and level with Marc Ricth.

etlinks
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etlinks 10/07/12 - 06:40 am
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0
Downgrade?bs

What a game!!!

Techfan
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Techfan 10/07/12 - 07:03 am
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That is when Richt can keep

That is when Richt can keep his players out of jail. That plus a bad no call on a late hit of SC's QB out of bounds, doesn't exactly make them a class act. We blew our game, but UGA got trounced. They still might win the East due to the weak schedule (the weakest in the SEC) and dodging Bama for Mizzou. That would be a joke.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 10/07/12 - 07:38 am
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How bout the dawgs?
Unpublished

It is a good thing they were in Columbia, cause the hoorah at the Braves game would have paled to the mess at Sanford Stadium.

But if you live in GA, you have to love the Dawgs. It is #5 on the DMV license restrictions. And you have to love UGA, a dog that is bread with a spinal deformity and a short snout that impairs breathing and perspiration.

Both are "party schools", show over substance, so lets party.

IsAnyoneAlwaysRight
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IsAnyoneAlwaysRight 10/07/12 - 07:41 am
2
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Wouldn't be football season if Ironman didn't say:

Hey, Dave, Claudia, Craig, Dennis, Dave, Reab and Terry!

Who didn't let the dogs out ;) just teasing.

Maybe next year. Miss y'all.

A

soapy_725
43949
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soapy_725 10/07/12 - 07:41 am
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0
If Spurier could just put all of his
Unpublished

skills, competitive spirit and energy into each of his players, they would be unbeatable. What a game!!!

YeCats
11642
Points
YeCats 10/07/12 - 08:31 am
1
0
Well, I was only 50% wrong on

Well, I was only 50% wrong on my prediction.
We got out classed, out prepared, out played, and out coached. Give it up for the Gamecocks. They do the simply things well. What a beating. On national tv.
I'm very concern about the last "out".

rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 10/07/12 - 08:38 am
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We Gamecock fans
Unpublished

are just thankful. Good luck Dawgs.

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 10/07/12 - 12:23 pm
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Want to say 2 things...first

Want to say 2 things...first off, congratulations to the Gamecocks! We got whupped on both sides of the ball. Spurrier is a great coach and you know that he is what got you here, and will take you even further.
Now, the second thing I want to say is to Techfan. Please do not post on here if you do not know what you're talking about, because you're just wasting everyone's time. It IS true that we got trounced, but have you forgotten the loss y'all had LAST WEEK??..against Middle Tenn. State??? At least we got beaten by a peer school...you lost to a directional school that GOT PAID to beat you! Now THAT is embarassing! And talking about Georgia's weak schedule?? Tell me, where is it weak? Is Carolina weak (now #3)...is Florida weak (up to #4). See? You don't know what you're talking about.

Anyway, don't want to take the focus off of Carolina's win. Scott, I thought that was a good line you wrote about how this "wasn’t a game changer – it’s a mind-changer.". I'm going to give Carolina more respect in the future.

csrareader
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csrareader 10/07/12 - 01:26 pm
0
2
Scott, you must be trying to

Scott, you must be trying to stay off Spurrier's "Ron Morris list." I think Steve is 4-4 against the Dawgs as the USC coach? That is not flipping the series around. Dawgs still have the inside track to win the SEC East. However, this article should get you on Spurrier's Christmas card list.

etlinks
23391
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etlinks 10/07/12 - 04:02 pm
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CSRAreader I love your

CSRAreader I love your predictions, keep it up.So sad!

class1
299
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class1 10/07/12 - 04:03 pm
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Coaching

Once SC got the lead, it was all about running time off the clock. It was a different Spurrier calling the game. Many years ago, he would have ran up the score on GA when he coached FL.

faithson
5449
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faithson 10/07/12 - 05:44 pm
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can richt

If coach Richt cannot WIN with the talent he has on this team, WE need to find someone who will. If the three and out on the opening of the second half didn't say something to us, nothing ever will. GA will NEVER win or play in a National championship with richt at the helm, period... sorry to step on your bulldog dreams, but the truth is staring us in the face, especially after that beginning of the second half, nothing more than POOR coaching can be taken from what I and many who I talked to saw.

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 10/07/12 - 06:40 pm
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faithson, I agree. I love

faithson, I agree. I love Coach Richt, and I think what he does to the personal lives of these young men is wonderful. But, to be brutally honest about it, I pay good money for my family and I to watch Georgia football....not to make sure some city kid goes on a Mission trip to Honduras. I know that sounds crass, and I don't mean it to, but my point is that we need a coach who is absolutely driven to win! Nick Saban does not love Alabama, he loves Nick Saban. Urban Meyer did not love Florida, he loves Urban Meyer. Steve Spurrier did not love Florida nor does he love South Carolina, he loves Steve Spurrier. My point is that these 3 examples of successful coaches love themselves and want nothing more than to win, win, win! Their goal every year is a National Championship. Mark Richt?? I honestly don't think it's his pure, driven, ultimate goal. He's had 12 years at Georgia. 12 years to do what it takes to dominate the SEC East and the SEC. Has he done that?

zcock
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zcock 10/07/12 - 06:52 pm
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Scott that is a very...

fair article on UGA and USC. I don't think anybody could have predicted that outcome. I came to the site to see what your take on the game was. I am impressed that you gave the Gamecocks their just respect.

KSL
140394
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KSL 10/08/12 - 11:35 am
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I like Riciht. My UGA

I like Riciht. My UGA familiy likes him. But he has a problem with bull dog players being in the news in the wrong part of the newspaper. I remember during my son's time on the team, something bad happened with a player, "Gamecocks in the news."

All the while, UGA players seemed to be "clean."

Something has changed.

scoopdedoop64
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scoopdedoop64 10/07/12 - 07:48 pm
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I can't believe what you just said

Justmyopinion, I can't believe what you just said. Yes, its is crass and I think so wrong. You can sell your soul for a national championship but what a cheap price you put upon your soul. I for one would rather have a godly man of character than a thousand Spurriers or national titles. You are right a national championship is not the only goal of his life.

KSL
140394
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KSL 10/07/12 - 08:13 pm
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JMO

Cannot that same thing be said of Obama?

I cannot believe you said that.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 10/07/12 - 08:13 pm
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Just saying

If I was a Ga. Tech fan, I would probably refrain from posting on College Football articles.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 10/07/12 - 08:17 pm
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What he said

Good response scoop.

KSL
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KSL 10/07/12 - 08:18 pm
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sorry scoop

I posted before seeing your post.

KSL
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KSL 10/07/12 - 08:21 pm
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jtf

Never thought that you would stoop to being that nasty.

justthefacts
24016
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justthefacts 10/07/12 - 08:28 pm
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Well

You go read techfan comment and tell me who is being nasty.

KSL
140394
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KSL 10/07/12 - 08:51 pm
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Al Groh

The main problem with GT football. The players at USC could not stand him.

KSL
140394
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KSL 10/08/12 - 01:31 am
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JTF, every post that techfan

JTF, every post that techfan posts embarrasses me. Just remember. He has admitted he didn't go there in the past.

Just My Opinion
6084
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Just My Opinion 10/08/12 - 11:29 am
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Scoop, I knew when I wrote

Scoop, I knew when I wrote that it'd get your type of response, and that's okay because I know you missed my point. Football coaches are ULTIMATELY responsible to win games and championships. Richt has won games, helped to win souls, but hasn't won the championships wanted. Georgia has provided him the means to continue in a missionary venture if he feels led...his wife is getting her nursing degree now to help that mission. So he knows where his future path has turned, and it's not dominated by football. Nothing wrong with that...it's Godly-driven and who can argue with that? But we're not talking about that...we're talking about his "earthly" job of coaching a championship football program. Scoop, how long would YOUR employer allow you to concentrate on something other than the job he hired you for?

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