Rodrigo Blankenship’s perfect field goal attempt percentage this season was put to an end against South Carolina. Blankenship split the posts on only one of three attempts in Georgia’s first home loss since Georgia Tech in 2016.
“If it goes through the posts then you’ve done your job,” Blankenship said. “I feel like I didn’t do my job today.”
Prior to Georgia’s loss against South Carolina, Blankenship was 11 of 11 on field goal attempts this season. His longest of the year was a 50-yard attempt at Tennessee. Blankenship is now 12 of 14.
Blankenship had a strong start in the first quarter against the Gamecocks connecting on a 50-yard attempt and tying his season long field goal length. This kick put the Bulldogs on the board first. After this, Blankenship fell apart in odd fashion. At the end of the second quarter, Blankenship’s 53-yard field goal attempt was blocked by South Carolina as the ball was kicked lower than normal.
“I guess I just need to get back in the film and see what happened on it, get a closer look, get a second opinion,” Blankenship said.
On Georgia’s last possession and the last play of the fourth quarter with three seconds left on the clock, the crowd was chanting “Rodrigo” as a timeout was called before the snap. It would have been a near 60-yard attempt for Blankenship in that moment.
Blankenship’s career-long field goal came in Georgia’s Rose Bowl appearance as he nailed a 55-yarder. This time though, head coach Kirby Smart chose to go for a hail mary in the final seconds of the fourth.
“We didn’t want to risk that,” Blankenship said. “I trust Coach Smart and he trusts me. I am ready for anything. I’m always going to tell Coach Smart that I can make it no matter how far it is, I’ll say ‘yes sir I’ll give it my best shot.’”
Blankenship’s final field goal attempt came in the game’s second overtime. It was a 42-yard attempt that would have tied the game and forced a third overtime. His kick went up but flew wide to the left. That was the game-ending play.
“[Blankenship has] given so much to us and that’s tough,” Smart said. “You’ve got to be able to make those field goals, Rod knows that.”
Georgia’s scoring struggles did not end with special teams. The difference between the two teams in turnovers was ultimately what led to the outcome of the game. South Carolina forced four turnovers and Georgia was unable to make up for any. Although Georgia’s 468 offensive yards was significantly more than South Carolina’s 297 yards, the Bulldogs could not convert their field position into points.
“Rodrigo can’t hold his head about that,” offensive lineman Ben Cleveland said. “It shouldn’t have come down to that situation in the first place.”