One is a legitimate SEC championship contender, with a two-headed rushing attack, a stable, efficient quarterback (for one night, at least) and a talented defense. The other is South Carolina.
No. 7 Georgia did everything it wanted in a 52-20 destruction of South Carolina in Athens Saturday evening. One week after briefly being pulled at Vanderbilt, senior quarterback Greyson Lambert set an FBS record for completion percentage, hitting an astounding 24-of-25 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Nick Chubb rushed 21 times for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Sony Michel added eight carries for 61 yards and a score. Keith Marshall chipped in with four carries for 19 yards and a score.
The Bulldogs’ defense, meanwhile, limited replacement quarterbacks Perry Orth and Lorenzo Nunez to a combined 3.81 yards per pass attempt and the entire Gamecocks’ offense to 4.46 yards per carry.
In short, Georgia looked every bit like a team that will play in Atlanta this December and a major bowl game in later that month or early January. South Carolina looked like a team that will once again struggle to make a bowl game.
After exchanging field goals in the first quarter, Chubb and Michel broke the game open with touchdown rushes. South Carolina briefly pulled within 17-10 after Orth rushed in from four yards out with 2:17 to go before halftime, but Lambert answered with a five-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell with 17 seconds to go before halftime.
Georgia turned a comfortable win into a blowout in the third quarter, as Lambert hit Michel with two 11-yard touchdown passes, and Chubb added a seven-yard scoring dash with 4:13 to go in the third quarter. At that point Georgia led 45-13 and had scored touchdowns on six of its last seven possessions. The teams traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter to provide the final score.
Georgia doubled South Carolina’s first downs output, 32-16, and did the same in total yardage with 60 yards to spare – 576 to 258.
Playing for an injured Connor Mitch, Orth completed 6-of-17 passes for 66 yards and an interception, while Nunez hit 4-of-5 throws for 18 yards and led the club in rushing with 10 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown.