The No. 3 Georgia football team wore down the South Carolina Gamecocks in its 41-17 victory on Saturday, and the offense made scoring look easy in the third quarter in which the Bulldogs outscored the Gamecocks 21-0.
After the win, sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm immediately credited the strength and physicality of the Georgia offensive line for taking over the game. Fromm often had a clean pocket and the Bulldogs averaged over five yards per carry en route to rushing for 271 yards on the night.
The line, even with an injury to starting left tackle Andrew Thomas, was a force that swung the game in Georgia’s favor in the week two win over South Carolina. After Georgia’s week one win over Austin Peay, head coach Kirby Smart expressed a desire for the unit to improve its conditioning and do a better job of getting to the second level.
That wasn’t an issue this past Saturday, as the linemen up front made sure the opponents were the ones having their conditioning tested.
"Our guys, they were recreating the line of scrimmage six, seven, eight yards down the field,” Fromm said on Wednesday. “That's just a testament to our guys and the kind of conditioning level that they have and the strength they have. Just the work ethic they have too. So, it's exciting to see.”
Thomas went down with a sprained ankle in the third quarter on Saturday, but the Bulldogs did not miss a beat when true freshman Cade Mays came in at left tackle.
The line was still throwing around the Gamecock front and opening up large holes for running backs D’Andre Swift, Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien as the Bulldog offense moved the ball with ease. The notion of getting downfield and to the next level was not much of an issue against South Carolina.
“O-line does a great job of getting us to the second level, we just have to make those plays,” Swift said.
The performance along the offensive line against the Gamecocks was one that has come to be expected of the Bulldog offensive front.
The elite size possessed by the likes of right guard Ben Cleveland (6-foot-6, 335 pounds) and right tackle Isaiah Wilson (6-foot-7, 340 pounds) have made Georgia’s offensive line a monstrous unit. Not to mention, Mays (6-foot-6, 318 pounds) and left guard Solomon Kindley (6-foot-4, 335 pounds) are huge bodies as well.
That size showed up on Saturday. When coupled with good conditioning, it made for a remarkable showing by a unit that defines the offensive identity of the Bulldogs by setting the tone in the running and passing games.
"It's so much fun to watch those guys work,” Fromm said. “All I've got to do is make sure the MIKE point’s right and just watch those guys take care of the rest. And with our running backs too. It's unbelievable watching them hit the holes and watching them break the tackles they do. I've got the best seat in the house to watch a football game."