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Georgia defense needs to set tone against South Carolina

Georgia’s defense needs to set the tone early against a Gamecock’s offense that has struggled so far this season.

NCAA Football: Nicholls State at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia’s defensive unit is coming into Saturday’s game against South Carolina looking to find some consistency. The Bulldogs rank 58th in total defense in the NCAA allowing 377.8 yards per game. They have shown flashes at times but have failed in some key spots. This could be the week to improve those numbers as they will face a Gamecocks’ offense that ranks dead last in the SEC in total yardage and scoring.

South Carolina’s offensive problems begin at quarterback where freshman Brandon McIlwain has struggled at times. McIlwain is completing 52 percent of his passes and has thrown two touchdowns and one interception but is averaging just 5.4 yards per attempt. McIlwain struggled in last week’s loss to Texas A&M and was relieved by senior Perry Orth.

The passing game could get a lift this week with the return of receivers Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards. Both sat out against Texas A&M but were back at practice this week and could return.

The Gamecocks have used a committee approach to the running game. A.J. Turner has rushed for 270 yards and is averaging 4.7 yards per carry but 75 of those came on one run last week against the Aggies. David Williams has carried the ball 23 times and Will Muschamp said earlier this week that they intend to add freshman Rico Dowdle to the mix against the Bulldogs.

Factor in the uncertainty surrounding the weather in South Carolina this weekend and this game could quickly transition into a slugfest in the trenches.