Though try as hard as we can to forget it, we all remember the 2012 South Carolina game. There have been some clunker performances in the Richt era. As far as ass whippings are concerned, that one is the worst, because we had a good team that just ran into the buzzsaw. I remember watching that game on TV, and I just thought as South Carolina ran out, “Damn.”
Of course, the worst performance in the Richt era was the 2004 Tennessee game, but that is neither here nor there.
Doing some research for the post about Georgia’s unkind history in Columbia, I was reading through all the box scores. What I remember about that 2012 game is that Connor Shaw destroyed us. Though he was never confused with a Marcus Mariota type, his ability to extend plays and scramble was really something. And he killed us that night. As good as Marcus Lattimore was in his career and against Georgia, Shaw was the reason Georgia lost that game. He had 162 yards passing on just 6 completions on 10 attempts. That is 27 yards per completion.
Lattimore had a good day-109 yards on 24 carries. Not his best performance against Georgia, but nothing to turn your nose at. Shaw had 78 yards on 14 carries. The threat of the two of them running the ball, combined with Shaw’s mobility and ability to throw on the run, caused the 27 yards per completions and big plays in the passing game.
I know that Coaches Bobo and Richt don’t need me to tell them how to game plan for South Carolina. I-along with just about everyone else in Sanford Stadium, people watching on TV, Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge-questioned only giving it Gurley 4 times in the first half against Clemson. That plan clearly worked.
I think the key to beating a motivated South Carolina team is the opposite of the Clemson plan. Against Clemson, Georgia threw the ball just enough to keep Clemson honest and then pounded the rock. I think to have success against South Carolina, we have got to run the ball early, often and effective. Make South Carolina load the box. This way, one of two things will happen. Gurley will either break through and make a safety try to stop him, or it will create opportunity for Mason to find his receivers. Hutson Mason will never be confused athletically with Connor Shaw, but as far as what he is asked to do in the passing game, he can be similar. We don’t need to pass it a lot, but we can have the fear of running the ball set up big plays in the passing game.
Georgia won’t have Mitchell or Scott-Wesley, but Mason, Bennett and Conley showed against Tech that they can muster a good game together.
So for our running game to really be effective, ergo making the passing game work out, the defense has to do its part and not give up big plays and get us in a deep hole too early.
If Geogia can keep from getting in a deep hole, let Gurley and company run the ball and strike fear in the South Carolina defense, it will make Hutson Mason’s job easier and the passing game will have opportunities for big plays. This will make the offense hard to stop.
It is a story we’ve unfortunately seen before.