The Georgia Bulldogs could not lose to two ranked teams in a row. Aaron Murray had to make amends for a dismal game last year. Mark Richt could not allow the whispers begin whether he could win big games when he needed to. And when all was said and done, the Bulldogs beat South Carolina 41-30 in Athens, allowing Georgia to keep its hopes of competing for a national title alive, while the Gamecocks dreams of an SEC title took a serious hit Saturday.
This was anything but different from the 35-7 loss the Bulldogs suffered at the hands of Steve Spurrier and his team last season in Columbia.
When things were on the line, the tough Georgia defense stopped a South Carolina drive on fourth-and-goal from the two-yard-line and the fans in Athens could celebrate redemption.
Here is a look at the game and the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Redemption is a sweet dessert this was served to Aaron Murray this year.
The senior quarterback had 309 yards passing and four touchdowns on the day. He looked as poised as any players ever to play Between the Hedges.
Todd Gurley showed he is just as dynamic this season as he was last year, running for 134 yards and score and helped lead a balanced rushing attack that kept South Carolina’s defense on its heels most of the game.
Justin Scott-Wesley added 116 yards on three catches and a touchdown.
All for naught. The Gamecocks played a good game. Georgia just played better.
This is a team that was tied 24-24 at halftime and met Georgia at every turn. Even the ground game, led by Mike Davis and his 149 yards on the ground were tough to beat, but somehow, Georgia had an answer.
Connor Shaw, the other senior passer in this game was not up to par with Murray. He had 228 yards passing and two scores in the air. He also moved the ball on the ground and could not keep up in a shootout with his SEC comrade.
According to ESPN.com, “Georgia snapped a three-year losing streak against the Gamecocks, seizing control of the SEC East though South Carolina still has a chance to get back in the race, thanks to a more favorable schedule. In fact, the Bulldogs won the division the last two years despite losing to their neighboring rival.”
The SEC East now looks like theirs for the taking since Miami made Florida’s offense look meek on Saturday and the idea of Tennessee or any other east opponent dominating Georgia is virtually unexpected.
South Carolina must now hope it beats Florida and Florida beats Georgia. Then they may have a shot at the SEC Championship game.