COLUMBIA - It's still early, but Brad Scott has a feeling about his team. He's not sure what it is, but it's there.
"This team has something extra," South Carolina's head coach said after his Gamecocks defeated Georgia 23-14 on Saturday night. "I don't know what to call it, but they have it. They have it. They have it."
They also have another victory and open the season 2-0 (1-0 in the Southeastern Conference), the school's best start since going 3-0 to open the 1990 season.
Before a Williams-Brice Stadium-record of 82,950 fans, USC pressured Georgia quarterback Mike Bobo the entire game and forced four turnovers, sending the Bulldogs to 0-2.
It is Georgia's worst start since 1993, when the Bulldogs finished 5-6 under Ray Goff and is only the 11th time in the 106-year history of Georgia football that the Bulldogs have opened a season 0-2.
"We feel like we've been knocked over the head," Georgia receiver Juan Daniels said. "We have no excuse for not winning the game. This is shocking to us. We're stunned. We never expected this, but we have nine more games to play and we're not going to quit."
The USC defense harassed Bobo all night. They recorded three sacks and were constantly in the Georgia backfield, tipping passes and knocking him to his backside shortly after releasing the ball.
Even though Georgia tailback Robert Edwards rushed for 159 yards, he was ineffective throughout most of the second half against the young, blitzing defense.
The Bulldogs have turned the ball over eight times in two games.
"This is a time we've got to be supportive of the offense," Georgia safety Corey Johnson said. "This is a team sport. We're just not clicking on one page and everything has to be like that in order for us to be successful."
South Carolina didn't put the game away until sophomore quarterback Anthony Wright directed an 11-play, 84-yard scoring drive, capped by North Augusta grad Steve Mixon's first-career touchdown, a 2-yard run, with 6:39 remaining in the game.
Wright, who was making only his second career start, was superb on the drive, completing three of four passes for 52 yards and keeping the drive alive with a 16-yard third-down scramble deep in Gamecock territory.
USC's Duce Staley was again prominent, rushing for 170 yards and one touchdown, a spectacular 51-yard run in the second quarter.
On the touchdown run, Staley took the handoff, broke clean through the line and weaved his way through the Georgia defense, breaking five tackles before reaching the end zone. Strong safety Alundis Sims was the last guy who had a shot at Staley, but he whiffed.
The junior now has 351 yards and four touchdowns in the two victories.
"We are going to have some other big wins, but this one, with this football team, was a tremendous victory," Scott said. "They fought their hearts out. It wasn't always pretty, but we accomplished the one thing we set out to do. We won the football game."
While emotions are high at USC, where do the Bulldogs go from here? Although their offense showed some signs of life, they remain winless in their first two games under first-year head coach Jim Donnan.
"I guess we expect to see a couple of dogs hanging from trees or something," offensive guard Chris Stafford said. "I know they're going to rip us real bad, but hopefully our fans will stay behind us and return to the Georgia football everyone knows."
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