Georgia came into Saturday with some wondering whether they might struggle with an early kickoff in muggy Columbia.
That’s what Georgia used to do.
That’s not what this Georgia does. The difference was perhaps encapsulated by Kirby Smart, leading a team that was leading 45-0 with time left in the third quarter, working the officials over a generous third down spot for the Gamecock offense. The Red and Black came out firing and they didn’t stop until they’d emptied the clip. Then they threw the rifle and started flinging rocks. The hapless South Carolina Gamecocks never found an answer, falling 48-7.
Georgia actually surrendered a season-high 17 first downs and 306 yards of total offense. But much of that came after this one was already well in hand. Often in these situations it helps to balance those kind of numbers, and the balance of offensive power definitely tilted toward the Bulldogs. The Classic City Canines rolled up 547 yards of total offense, and it seemed at times as if Todd Monken couldn’t make a bad play call if his life depended on it.
Stetson Bennett burnished his Heisman resume, hitting 16 of 23 passes for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception in 2022. The Mailman became the first FBS quarterback to start the season by throwing for 250+ yards and rushing for a touchdown in each of his first three games since Pat Mahomes in 2016.
A lot of those yards went to the tight ends, including human cheat code Brock Bowers, who ended the day with 5 catches for 121 yards, including a 78 yard touchdown scamper (one of three scores for the Napa Nightmare on the day). That long score came on a busted Gamecock coverage, which led to arguably the most dangerous playmaker in America going completely uncovered over the middle. You can’t do that, even if you have substantially more talent than this South Carolina squad.
Defensively the Bulldogs played a solid game, and while Spencer Rattler threw some nice balls he also threw some real stinkers. Malachi Starks got his second pick of the season, and Trezman Marshall and Dangerous Dan Jackson got the first of their respective careers. Starks’ and Jackson’s picks each led to touchdowns.
That 14 points didn’t make up the margin of victory. But they did extend the margin of ugly for a Garnet and Black squad that was just outplayed and outclassed.
The ‘Dawgs will be back in action next Saturday at noon in Sanford Stadium against the Kent State Golden Flashes. I don’t anticipate that one will be a great deal more competitive, and frankly I don’t care. It’s a nice thing to watch your favorite football team go out and mercilessly drag the competition, and it’s even better when the competition knows it’s coming. Until later…