Nothing good ever happens in Columbia, South Carolina after dark. Mike Bobo learned that once again tonight as the Gamecocks did a few things right but rarely consistently, and Georgia rediscovered its running game on the way to a convincing road victory.
A host of Bulldog backs combined to grind out over 300 yards on the ground for the first time this season. James Cook’s 6 carries for 104 yards headlined the effort, but four separate UGA rushers went over the 75 yard mark.
That helped make up for a Red and Black passing game that wasn’t quite as automatic as it had been the week before against Mississippi State. JT Daniels was a pedestrian 10 of 16 through the air for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had a fluky tipped ball interception, and left some yards untapped. Daniels was also victimized by a couple of drops that didn’t happen during that flawless effort against Missy State.
Does this mean JTD is merely mortal? Is the magic already gone? I wouldn’t go that far. As he showed on a 31 yard touchdown strike to Arian Smith, Daniels probably could have picked up yards in chunks against the Garnet and Black secondary. But there simply wasn’t any reason to do so when the Athenian tailbacks were churning out 7.2 yards per carry.
Things were less efficient for the home team. Were it not for senior graduate transfer tight end Nick Muse it would have been a truly abysmal offensive effort for the Fightin’ Bobos. Muse finished the night with 8 catches for 131 yards, making freshman quarterback Luke Doty look pretty good when he wasn’t running for his life (he was sacked five times on the night).
Vaunted South Carolina tailback Kevin Harris had some success early but the offensive line just didn’t do him many favors. Harris finished with 53 yards on 17 carries, though it seemed like more because so many of those yards came after contact. Kirby Smart will likely have some words for his team about their tackling, but all in all it was a solid defensive effort for Dan Lanning’s charges.
In the end analysis Georgia once again scored more points than we’ve become accustomed to, moving the ball with Daniels at the helm in a way they haven’t in at least the past two seasons. The defense, still missing key players like Richard LeCounte and Jordan Davis, was effective if not dominant. For a Bulldog team that has been snakebitten in so many prior trips to Columbia, it felt good to win one that was never really in doubt.
The ‘Dawgs now return home to face a Vanderbilt team that lost 41-0 today to an underrated Missouri team. Until later...