UPDATED 10:26 p.m. ET: Apparently, the SEC East has come down to a two-horse race. And an Oct. 20 showdown in Gainesville.
Earlier today, No. 10 Florida easily handled No. 4 LSU — at least defensively — to remain perfect at 5-0 on the season. A few hours later, No. 6 South Carolina did the same to No. 5 Georgia, only much more impressively.
Leading 21-0 at the half, the Gamecocks were never threatened the rest of the way as USC came away with a dominating 35-7 home win over the Bulldogs to remain tied with UF atop the East standings at 4-0. And, in every way, shape and form, USC took UGA to the proverbial woodshed.
The Gamecocks totaled nearly 400 yards of total offense, while defensively they held the Bulldogs to no points and under 150 yards prior to a meaningless 75-yard drive late in the fourth quarter that netted UGA its only points of the game.
There is still work to be done, especially for USC, prior to the late October match-up that could very well decide the East’s representative in the SEC championship. The Gamecocks will travel to Baton Rouge to face a Tigers squad that will no doubt be champing at the bit to shake off their first loss of the season, while the Gators head to Vanderbilt to face a Commodores team that pulled off a road upset over Missouri Saturday night.
The hype was at a fever pitch in Columbia, South Carolina, with the No. 6 Gamecocks hosting the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs in a game rife with SEC East and BcS ramifications. GameDay was there, and the trek to the stadium took upwards of a couple of hours to navigate just a few miles, so packed the area was.
And then the hosts had to go and ruin the party, albeit in a good way for the locals.
With just a little more than a quarter of play in the books, USC is taking it to their guests, carving up the Bulldogs to the tune of 21-0. And said carving is being accomplished in literally every phase of the game. To wit:
— Offensively: the Gamecocks had rolled up nearly 200 yards of offense (185) with just over 14 minutes left in the second quarter, with 10 first downs and no punts.
— Defensively: conversely, the USC defense had allowed just 39 yards of UGA offense through the same time frame.
— Special teams: Ace Sanders raced 70 yards for a punt return touchdown that put the ‘Cocks up 21-0.
Certainly there’s a lot of time left for UGA to mount a comeback, but it’s certainly looking early on like USC is the cock of the SEC East walk.