Azeez Ojulari

Georgia outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari (13) during a game against South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC., on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

Georgia’s defensive front seven consistently wreaked havoc during its 45-16 win over South Carolina. The Bulldogs held the Gamecocks to their third-lowest scoring total of the season by owning the line of scrimmage.

Georgia finished the game with four sacks from four different players, including this season’s team leader in that category, redshirt sophomore Azeez Ojulari.

Senior Jermaine Johnson and juniors Adam Anderson and Channing Tindall accounted for the other three sacks. Coming into the game, Anderson trailed Ojulari by half a sack for the most on the team.

South Carolina quarterback Luke Doty was under constant stress because of the Georgia pass rush. On top of the four sacks, freshman defensive lineman Jalen Carter registered the Bulldogs’ lone quarterback hit.

“[Carter] has grown up a lot faster than some of the other guys,” said head coach Kirby Smart during the virtual postgame press conference. “He is very talented. He continues to work hard and get better… He made some knock back plays and we need to be more disruptive with guys like him.”

Containing Doty was something Georgia’s defense emphasized coming into the game. Last week, Doty was South Carolina’s leading rusher against Missouri with 11 carries for 59 yards. The Bulldog defensive line contained him at the line of scrimmage, holding him to -15 yards on 15 attempts.

“[Doty] is a fast guy and he can throw,” said safety Lewis Cine during the virtual postgame press conference. “He is a freshman but he can also play. We watched a lot of film on him and found out ways we could disrupt his game and make him uncomfortable.”

Georgia also disrupted the South Carolina run game. The Bulldogs finished the night with 10 tackles-for-loss, six more than they had in last week’s win over Mississippi State.

South Carolina’s first play from scrimmage resulted in a 1-yard loss and a sign of things to come.

Forced negative plays came at important times for Georgia’s pass rush. Ojulari’s sack stalled South Carolina’s drive at the end of the half, helping the Bulldogs go into the break with a 28-10 lead.

The Gamecocks’ first drive of the second half ended in a similar fashion when Johnson sacked Doty on third-and-18 to force a punt. South Carolina did not gain a yard on that drive, running three negative plays en route to a three-and-out.

The pass rush was impactful outside of sacks and tackles-for-loss as well. Doty was pressured by Travon Walker on a pass that turned into Tyson Campbell’s first interception of the season. Georgia scored in three plays on its next drive, extending the lead to 35-10.

Georgia had a combined 10 tackles-for-loss in its two losses to Alabama and Florida. Saturday’s performance shows both the importance of pressure and a correlation between winning and dominating the line of scrimmage on defense.