No. 3 Georgia lost to South Carolina 20-17 at Sanford Stadium on Saturday for its first loss of the season. Here are some observations from The Red & Black:
For just a moment, the prayers of Georgia fans everywhere were answered when South Carolina’s Parker White missed a 33-yard field goal that would’ve won it for the Gamecocks in the first period of overtime. The Georgia defense then held them to a field goal after a huge tackle for loss by Tyler Clark near the goal line. But Rodrigo Blankenship was unable to equalize for the Bulldogs on the next possession, as his 42-yard attempt went wide left.
“I feel like I didn’t do my job today,” Blankenship said.
Weak start (again)
Georgia hasn’t looked good as heavy favorites against SEC opponents this season. Just one week after unranked Tennessee gave the Bulldogs a first half fight in Knoxville, they found themselves down 17-10 after one half of play against South Carolina. But the offensive playmakers did have a solid start. Running back D’Andre Swift totaled 75 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries through two quarters, and Fromm was spreading the ball around to great effect. At one point in the second quarter, Fromm had seven completions to seven different receivers.
But that production didn’t amount too much on the scoreboard. Georgia had 230 yards of total offense in the first half but only managed a single touchdown. The Bulldogs advanced the ball into plus territory on four of their six first half drives, but untimely sacks and incompletions saw many of those drives stall.
“You can’t turn the ball over four times and win,” Smart said. "There’s a lot of things we can clean up."
On defense, the Bulldogs were picked apart by the Gamecocks’ passing game, but were able to hold South Carolina to just 10 points. Its only offensive touchdown of the half came on a 46-yard catch by Bryan Edwards. This is the second game in a row the Georgia secondary has allowed a touchdown pass of at least 45 yards after Tennessee’s Marquez Callaway torched the Bulldogs for a 73-yard touchdown grab last week.
Jake Fromm outplayed by pair of USC quarterbacks
South Carolina’s Ryan Hilinski came to play. The freshman from Orange, California, was thrust into the starting role after Jake Bentley went down with an injury in Week 1, and he wasn’t fazed in his first visit to Sanford Stadium. Hilinski out-played Jake Fromm in the first half with 117 yards and a touchdown on 13-16 passing. He didn’t get the chance to replicate that performance in the second half, however. Hilinski was helped off the field in the third quarter after Georgia outside linebacker Adam Anderson fell into him on an awkward tackle. He was replaced by Dakereon Joyner. Fromm, on the other hand, threw for an impressive 129 yards in the first half, but had two interceptions on the game.
“I believe in Jake Fromm,” Smart said. “He’s a leader of men. It was a tough day.”