GA News: OnlineAthens - Georgia at South Carolina: Who has the edge?

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From OnlineAthens.com
October 8th, 2016 08:41 AM

Offense Edge: Georgia
South Carolina is expected to alternate freshman Brandon McIlwain and senior Perry Orth at a position that coach Will Muschamp called “unsettled.”
Orth entered in the fourth quarter last week against Texas A&M with the Gamecocks trailing 21-10 and energized the offense. He has completed 57.4 percent of his passes with one interception. The more athletic McIlwain has hit on 52.8 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and an interception and has rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
The Gamecocks are averaging 197.0 yards per game passing.
Freshman Rico Dowdle, bothered by a groin injury earlier, showed the ability to break tackles last week and his “role will continue to expand,” Muschamp said. The Gamecocks rank last in the SEC in rushing and are led by A.J. Turner (270 yards, two touchdowns).
Vertical threats Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards are expected to return for South Carolina from hamstring injuries. Tight end Hayden Hurst leads with 24 catches for 302 yards.
The Gamecocks rank 124 th in the nation in total offense (301.8 yards per game) and 126 th in scoring (14.0).
Muschamp attributes that to what he said 31 of his 42 scholarship players on offense being freshmen and sophomore.
Georgia freshman Jacob Eason is sixth in the SEC in passing yards per game at 198.2. He has seven touchdowns to four interceptions and is completing 53.6 percent of his passes.
"He’s a guy with big-time arm talent,” Muschamp said. “He can make all the throws, and certainly the vertical passing game is alive for those guys with his arm strength and what he’s been able to do.”
South Carolina has managed only seven touchdowns this season. That’s five less than any other SEC team.

Defense Edge: South Carolina
The Gamecocks are 23rd in the nation in scoring defense at 18.6 points per game. Georgia is giving up 30.8, which ranks 89th nationally and 13 th in the SEC. The Bulldogs have yielded 377.8 yards per game, less than South Carolina’s 403.8
Defensive end Darius English could be the latest pass rusher that will test Georgia left tackle Tyler Catalina. English forced his second fumble of the season last week and is tied for second in the SEC with five sacks. South Carolina junior cornerback Chris Lammons has two interceptions for a defense that relies on bump-and-run coverage,
Georgia inside linebacker Reggie Carter (concussion) may not play after not practicing the first three days of the week. Outside linebacker Chuks Amaechi has worked inside this week in practice to help out.
Georgia ranks 123rd nationally in tackles for loss with 3.6. The Bulldogs are giving up 240.6 yards per game passing, 10th in the SEC.
Linebacker Natrez Patrick has 34 tackles to lead Georgia. Georgia is tied for sixth in turnovers gained with 12.

Special Teams Edge: South Carolina
Tennessee had 170 yards in kick and punt returns last week against Georgia. The Bulldogs rank last in the SEC in kickoff coverage and that could means changes on personnel this week.
The Gamecocks lead the SEC with a 28.4 kickoff return average but are last in punt return average 3.6. A.J. Turner averages 28.4 yards per return. South Carolina ranks 12 th in the SEC in net punting. Sean Kelly averages 41.1 per punt Georgia is 14th . Marshall Long averages 39.7
South Carolina executed a successful fake punt pass against Texas A&M. Elliott Fry is 7 of 10 on field goals, with misses from 44 and 43 yards last week. Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship is 1 of 2 on field goals.

Coaching Edge: Georgia
South Carolina coach Will Muschamp is 30-24 in his fifth season as a head coach, including 2-3 at South Carolina. He is 18-18 in SEC games. Georgia’s Kirby Smart is 3-2 in his first year as a head coach and 1-2 overall. Kurt Roper is calling plays for South Carolina after being offensive coordinator under Muschamp at Florida in 2014. Former Georgia assistant and wide receiver Bryan McClendon is co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach.

Intangibles: Georgia
South Carolina players got off from classes the last three school days this week due to the impending arrival of the hurricane but the game has been secondary in the state to ensuring safety. Georgia just went through a rugged stretch of Ole Miss-Tennessee and will be looking to get well against the Gamecocks. The home field advantage should be lessened by the events in the state to respond to the storm.
Overall: Georgia
Steve Spurrier didn't leave a ton of talent for Muschamp in Columbia and it's showing on offense. The Gamecocks haven't sent many signals they can keep up with Georgia and Jacob Eason, but hung with Texas A&M last week. The Bulldogs went down to the wire with Missouri and Nicholls and of course Tennessee. This one shouldn't be as lopsided as the 52-20 blowout last year, but the Bulldogs have a big advantage at quarterback and if Chubb's ankle isn't bothering him should be able to pull away for the win.


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