ATHENS, GA (WIS) - With six wins to their credit, South Carolina looks to add a large feather to their cap this weekend.
The Gamecocks travel to Athens to face the unbeaten Georgia Bulldogs this weekend, a game that could have implications on the College Football Playoff rankings. Even though there is a lot riding on this game for both teams, South Carolina is putting any more emphasis on this game compared to previous contests.
"Each week for us is all the same," Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said. "Every week is a season as far as how we approach things. Certainly, we have respect for all of our opponents. We have respect for Georgia. At the end of the day, it comes back to our preparation and how we prepare. We had a very good start today. I'm really pleased with the attitude, effort, and enthusiasm we had on the field today. I know our guys will go compete, and we plan on showing up."
Georgia boasts two talented running backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Combined, the two tailbacks have rushed for 1,394 yards and 17 touchdowns. Ranked as the second-best rushing offense in the SEC, Carolina hopes to stifle the Bulldogs rushing attack.
"They're NFL backs, to be honest," said Gamecocks defensive back Chris Lammons. "If want to win this game, we've got to stop those guys."
"It's going to be fun trying to stop the run," said Gamecocks linebacker TJ Brunson. "It's going to be a challenge and something that we'll do a pretty good job of."
As good as Georgia is on the ground, their running game isn't the only thing Carolina has to be concerned about. The Bulldogs also have a skilled quarterback in Jake Fromm. The freshman has thrown for 1,263 yards and 13 touchdowns this year giving the Gamecocks another weapon to keep an eye on come Saturday.
"Jake Fromm has done an outstanding job at the quarterback position, taking care of the football and managing their offensive," said Muschamp. "He shows arm talent. He's been accurate with the football when they've asked him to throw the football. You look at the Missouri game, and I think there were four or five explosive plays on 3rd down where he's creating explosives down the field against tight coverage."
Georgia shows how dangerous they are on offense both in the red zone and on third down. The Bulldogs are the best in the SEC when it comes to red zone offense. UGA is a perfect 31-for-31 inside the 20 with 22 touchdowns and nine field goals. They sit only behind Alabama when it comes to total scoring offense averaging 38.1 points per game.
Defensively, the Gamecocks will have their work cut out for them. Georgia owns the second-best scoring defense in the SEC, which gives up just 11.9 points per game. In total defense, the Bulldogs surrender just over 252 yards per game.
"Defensively, again (they're) a veteran group – juniors and seniors across the board on their two-deep, guys we've been watching for a long time," Muschamp said. "Dominick Sanders is a guy that's probably going to break their interceptions record, from Tucker High School there in Atlanta. (He's) a really good football player. Aaron Davis plays everything for them. J.R. Reed has been a good addition for them this year and has done a nice job. Malkom Parrish has been a corner that's started for them for a long time. Tyrique McGee is a guy that's come along and played well. Roquan Smith probably leads their defense, a guy that plays really fast and physical.
"I think there will be two really good linebacking corps on display Saturday, two outstanding corps – our guys and theirs. (They are) guys who play the game the way it's supposed to be played. Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter up front; Trenton Thompson and John Atkins are the guys inside. Those guys have all played a bunch of football and are guys we've got a lot of respect for."
South Carolina will face Georgia at Sanford Stadium on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.