Gameday thread South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Georgia Bulldog
South Carolina kicks off a three-game homestand Saturday as it hosts the nation’s No. 1 team in a sold-out showdown. Georgia will visit Columbia for the 35th time to face the Gamecocks. South Carolina last beat the Bulldogs in 2019 (in Athens), while UGA’s current co-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was the head coach at South Carolina
WHAT CHANNEL IS THE GEORGIA-SOUTH CAROLINA GAME ON?
Who: Georgia Bulldogs (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1 SEC)
When: Noon Saturday (12:12 p.m. kickoff)
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium (77,559) in Columbia, S.C.
Stream: ESPN.com and ESPN app
On-air announce crew: Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analyst), Molly McGrath (sideline)
Radio: 107.5 FM in the Columbia area (Todd Ellis, play-by-play; Tommy Suggs, analyst; Jamar Nesbit, sideline) … See all the radio affiliates around South Carolina here.
Satellite radio: Sirius/XM 80
Series history: Georgia leads the all-time series 53-19-2. ... UGA has won six of the last seven games. ... South Carolina beat the Bulldogs five times in Steve Spurrier’s tenure as USC coach — the last win at Williams-Brice coming 38-35 in 2014.
GAMECOCKS FIGURING OUT RUN GAMEKendall Milton is Georgia’s primary ball handler, and he’s recorded 135 rushing yards this year. Unlike last week, the Gamecocks won’t be facing a team with a quarterback that runs often, so handling the Bulldogs running attack will be a tad more manageable for a defensive unit that’s trying to get healthy.
UGA has outscored its opponents 82-3 through two games. Georgia beat the Gamecocks in Athens last year 40-13.
The rushing offense for USC has been a work in progress. Through two games, the team has picked up 119 rushing yards on 2.0 yards per carry. The offensive line was better against Arkansas, but the running scheme as a whole hasn’t yielded much success for South Carolina. The team recently got Christian Beal-Smith back from injury, but he didn’t see much action against the Razorbacks. The Gamecocks have put tight end Jaheim Bell in the backfield often, and he’s gotten more carries than catches in 2022 with 11 and two, respectively.
Against the Bulldogs, the team must find a way to create balance on offense with its ball carriers.
GAMECOCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH
Antwane Wells, WR, South Carolina: Wells has starred in his role through two games. He’s up to 15 catches for 244 yards. South Carolina likes to incorporate him in many of its passing plays, so look for Wells to receive plenty of targets from QB Spencer Rattler on Saturday.
Nick Emmanwori, DB, South Carolina: With injuries to the defensive side of the ball, Emmanwori has stepped up for South Carolina. In the first two games this year, he’s made plays for the Gamecocks and garnered praise from the coaching staff. He’s second on the team in tackles with 14.
BULLDOGS PLAYERS TO WATCH
Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia: Bennett guided Georgia to its national championship win last year and remains at the helm in 2022. He’s completed around 74% of his passes this year with 668 yards and three touchdown passes. Against USC’s injury-plagued defense, it’s possible Bennett continues his efficient season.
Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia: Bowers ranks third in receiving yards for the Bulldogs with 95 on five catches. He could serve as an extra weapon in the passing game if Georgia looks to challenge the USC secondary or help run block against the compromised interior of the Gamecocks.
TOP STORYLINES FOR THE GAME USC looks to bounce back:
The Gamecocks are 1-1 after dropping their last game to Arkansas. The team struggled to stop the run but was more efficient offensively. Going against The Associated Press No. 1 team is a tall task but is an opportunity to see how the team continues its improved performance from last week.
Georgia’s hot start: Georgia decimated then-No. 11 Oregon in the first game of the season 49-3. It outscored its first two opponents 82-3 as it heads to Williams-Brice Stadium. South Carolina will have its hands' full handling quarterback Stetson Bennett and the Bulldog offense.
Gamecock injuries: South Carolina lost Jordan Strachan and Mo Kaba for the rest of the year due to ACL injuries they suffered against Arkansas. Head coach Shane Beamer added that Cam Smith, David Spaulding, RJ Roderick, Corey Rucker, and Alex Huntley were all questionable to play, so others will have to step up for USC.
Kirby Smart visits his protégé: Beamer coached under Smart from 2016-17 as tight ends and special teams coach. Earlier this week, he said that Smart made him “a better football coach.” Gamecocks lost to Georgia last year in Athens 40-13.
The emergence of “Juice” Wells: Antwane “Juice” Wells has caught 15 passes this year for 244 yards. Look for QB Spencer Rattler to continue his connection for him, and for the Bulldogs to place emphasis on defending Wells.
Will Muschamp returns: Muschamp coached at South Carolina from 2016-20. He coached against USC last season, but this is his first time doing so in Columbia since departing for Georgia.
Can South Carolina slay the dragon?: Beamer on Tuesday said he didn’t want anyone on the team talking about “shocking the world.” However, if USC wins, it would be its first victory over the AP No. 1 team since 2010, when the then-No. 19 Gamecocks defeated Alabama 35-21.
WEATHER FORECAST FOR COLUMBIA, SC
Saturday is projected to be sunny with an afternoon temperature of 86 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
ESPN FPI GAME PREDICTION ESPN’s
Football Power Index gives South Carolina an 8.8% chance to beat the top-ranked Bulldogs.
POINT SPREAD FOR USC GAMECOCKS VS. GEORGIA
The line for Saturday’s game is in Georgia’s favor, currently putting USC as a 24.5-point underdog, according to the VegasInsider consensus line that factors in 11 sportsbooks.