Maybe this is what Grown Man Football is all about.
Georgia was caught up in a frenzied opening 10 minutes by South Carolina and never found a rhythm against arguably the best defense in the SEC in a 35-7 loss Saturday night in front of a record-breaking crowd at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The best way to sum up the putrid offensive performance by the Bulldogs was the way their best drive of the opening 30 minutes ended. They took 14 plays to move from their own 19-yard line to the Gamecocks 2-yard line but on fourth down, D.J. Swearinger and Shaq Wilson stopped Rantavious Wooten short of the goal line at the 1-yard line.
After that, it was lights out until a meaningless touchdown with less two minutes remaining.
First of all, the bad news is we took a whipping, Georgia coach Mark Richt said, The good news is we all took it together. It was a team loss.
It might have been a team loss but the inability to move the ball was rather striking for an offense that had scored at least 41 points in their first five games and were averaging 536 yards a game. They were held to 224 yards against the Gamecocks with 75 of those yards coming on their final drive.
Their defense took care of business, Richt said. We got a consolation touchdown at the end to not take the goose egg. Their front was whipping us. We hoped to make a play to change momentum but they never allowed us too.
The Bulldogs were so bad offensively in the first half, the highly touted freshman duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall dubbed by Georgia athletic department as Gurshall in honor of former Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker combined for 26 yards on 15 carries. They were averaging 192 combined yards a game and finished with 76 yards on 25 carries. .
Gurley broke free for 15 yards on the first offensive play but after that it was tough-sledding. That run was the highlight of the running game until Ken Malcome had a 20 yard gain late in the fourth quarter. In their final 16 rushing attempts in the first half. the Bulldogs had 3 yards.
We stayed behind the chains, Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. Our success on first down was not very good. You have to move the chains against a defense like that. If they can pin their ears back it's to their advantage. Our inability on first and second down was crucial.
Gurley was only playing in his sixth collegiate game but he came away impressed. He has had four 100-yard rushing games and his season low before finishing with 39 yards against USC was 65 against Missouri.
They were a physical defense, the freshman said. You have to give credit where credit is due. They played their heart out and we didn't get it rolling on offense. Congratulations to those guys.
When South Carolina was streaking to a 21-0 lead in the opening 10 minutes, the Bulldogs never got solid footing. Their first drive started promising when Malcolm Mitchell returned the kick-off after a Bruce Ellington 20yard TD reception 48 yards, giving Georgia the ball in USC territory at the 47-yard line. Three plays after the return, Kelcey Quarles tipped an Aaron Murray pass that DeVonte Holloman intercepted at the 31-yard line.
Murray had his worst game of the season. The senior was 11-for-31 for 109 yards an interception.
They got us in third and long and we ran plays that took a little longer to develop and with their front four they thrive on that, Murray said. We played behind the chains too much. The offense didn't play the way it is capable. We took a couple of steps back tonight. They are a great defense and they proved it.
The few times Murray did have time to throw, he seemed to have happy feet and over threw a couple of open receivers. Bobo thought that was one of the biggest differences, especially early on. Needless to say, Bobo came away convinced that the Gamecocks defense was the real deal.
They play extremely fast and physical, Bobo said. When they get to the ball, they are violent. You aren't going to have many opportunities against a great defense. We had a few and wasn't able to capitalize. We got our tails whipped.