Gamecocks Face Top-Ranked Georgia Saturday on CBS
QUICKLY: The South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1, 0-0 SEC) open the Southeastern Conference portion of their 2023 schedule when they travel to Athens, Ga. on Saturday, Sept. 16, to face the top-ranked and two-time defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs (2-0, 0-0 SEC). The contest on Vince Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium (92,746) is set for a 3:39 pm kick.
OVER THE AIRWAVES: This week’s game will be televised nationally on CBS. Brad Nessler will handle the play-by play while Gary Danielson adds the color commentary. Jenny Dell will patrol the sidelines. Westwood One has the national radio broadcast with JP Shadrick and Derek Rackley describing all the action. The Gamecock Sports Radio Network features a pair of Gamecock Great quarterbacks in Todd Ellis (32nd season) and Tommy Suggs (51st season) in the booth. Chet Tucker is in his first season as the sideline reporter.
A HISTORY LESSON: 2023 marks the 130th season of intercollegiate football at the University of South Carolina, dating back to 1892. It is the 117th-consecutive year in which South Carolina has competed on the gridiron. The University did not field a team in either 1893 or 1906. Carolina owns an all-time record of 630-607-44, a .509 winning percentage. Since the start of the 21st century, the Gamecocks have posted a 164-125 record, a .567 winning clip.
HOW WE GOT HERE: The Gamecocks are 1-1 after dropping a 31-17 decision to No. 21/20 North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Classic, held in Charlotte, N.C. in the opening week, then bouncing back with a convincing 47-21 win over Furman, the sixth-ranked team in the FCS, last Saturday in Columbia. The Gamecocks have been led by quarterback Spencer Rattler and wide receiver Xavier Legette. Rattler leads the SEC and ranks third in the nation with 349.0 passing yards per game, trailing only Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. He has thrown for over 300 yards in four of his last five contests dating back to last season. Rattler also leads the SEC and ranks third in the country with an .833 completion percentage (55-of-66), behind only Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy and UAB’s Jacob Zeno. Legette leads the SEC and ranks second in the country in receiving yards per game at 148.0, trailing only Miami (O)’s Gage Larvadain.
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CAROLINA VS. GEORGIA: This is the 76th meeting between these two bordering flagship state universities. Georgia leads the all-time series by a 54-19-2 margin, including a 30-9 mark in Athens and a 23-10-2 advantage in Columbia. Since becoming SEC Eastern Division rivals in 1992, the Bulldogs own a 21-10 lead in the series, including a 10-5 mark in Athens.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: The No. 1/2 Georgia Bulldogs scored 24 points in both halves in a 48-7 victory over the Gamecocks in Columbia on Sept. 17, 2022. Stetson Bennett went 16-for-23 for 284 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score. The Gamecocks lone score came on a fourth quarter touchdown pass. The 41-point margin of victory was the greatest in the 75-game series.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET HERE: JT Daniels completed 21-of-31 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns and Georgia’s fearsome defense nearly made it three-straight games without allowing a TD as the No. 2 Bulldogs ran away with a 40-13 victory over South Carolina on Sept. 18, 2021 in Athens. Josh Vann logged a career-best 128 yards receiving for the Gamecocks, including a 36-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
THE LAST GAMECOCK WIN: In the high point of the 2019 season, the Gamecocks went into Athens on Oct. 12 and knocked off the No. 3/3 Bulldogs by a 20-17 mark in double-overtime. Israel Mukuamu was the star of the game, intercepting three Jake Fromm passes, including a 53-yard pick-six in the upset win. Parker White connected on a 24-yard field in the second overtime, before Rodrigo Blankenship missed from 42, providing the winning margin. Georgia outgained Carolina 468-297 on the afternoon, but four turnovers proved costly for the Dawgs. The win matched the best road win for Carolina in school history and the Gamecocks were recognized as the National Team of the Week.
BEAMER SEES RED: First-year South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer served on Kirby Smart’s staff at Georgia as the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator in 2016 and ‘17. This is the ninth time Coach Beamer has been on the sidelines for Carolina-Georgia. He has been on the winning sideline in four of the previous eight contests.
GEORGIA ON MY MIND: Gamecock analyst Greg Adkins served on the Georgia coaching staff from 1996-2000. DFO George Wynn started for three years at Georgia and served as a team captain as a senior, graduating in 1992.
OLD FRIEND ALERT: UGA’s co-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp served as the Gamecocks’ head coach from 2016-20, posting a 28-30 record. Mike Bobo and Bryan McClendon, who both worked on Muschamp’s staff at South Carolina, now toil on Kirby Smart’s staff at Georgia. Bobo is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach while McClendon serves as the passing game coordinator. All three are UGA grads.
IT JUST MEANS MORE: The Gamecocks list 18 players from the state of Georgia. Those who hail from the Peach State include Trovon Baugh (Atlanta), Colten Gauthier (Bethlehem), Vicari Swain (Carrollton), Grayson Mains (Cumming), Jalon Kilgore (Eatonton), Donovan Westmoreland (Griffin), Felix Hixon (Jackson), Jordan Strachan (Kingsland), Juju McDowell (Leesburg), Jaron Willis (Leesburg), CJ Adams (Mableton), Emory Floyd (Marietta), B.J. Gibson (Marietta), Cason Henry (Marietta), DeAngelo Gibbs (Oxford), David Spaulding (Riceboro), Djay Braswell (Sandersville) and Jatavius Shivers (Villa Rica). Gibbs began his collegiate career at Georgia. In addition, Carolina student assistant Lovasea Carroll began his playing career at Georgia.