ATHENS, GA (WIS) - South Carolina opened its SEC schedule with a loss to Georgia in Athens Saturday. The 6th-ranked Gamecocks (1-1) lost to the 11th-ranked Bulldogs (1-1), 41-30.
South Carolina won the last three times these teams have met on the field, but Saturday Georgia got its revenge.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns in the SEC East matchup.
"It was a good tail-kickin,'" said Head Coach Steve Spurrier.
Coming off a 38-35 loss at Clemson, Georgia could not afford another defeat if it wanted to remain a serious contender for a national title.
Murray took care of that, turning in one of the best games of his career and shaking off his reputation as a quarterback who couldn't win the big game. The fifth-year senior capped his stellar day for the Bulldogs with an 85-yard touchdown pass to Justin Scott-Wesley with 13 minutes remaining.
"We haven't had a turnover on defense in two games. We are struggling a little bit on defense," said Spurrier.
"But offensively, Mike Davis had about as good of a game as any running back I have ever seen. He played his heart out, as did Connor Shaw, who also had an excellent game. We didn't score every possession, and we got beat. Sometimes you have to score every possession, but we weren't good enough to do that today."
"I have to give Georgia credit," said Spurrier. "They ran it right down their throat. Vince Dooley probably has a smile on his face with the way that they played. We will turn around and regroup and try not to do a lot of talking so that we can develop into a pretty good team as we go throughout the rest of the season. I thought we could slow them down, and when we did, we gave up a big play. It was a tough day for all of us today."
South Carolina opened the scoring with a 36-year field goal by Elliot Fry with 9:28 in the first quarter. Georgia responded on their next possession with a 65-yard drive ending with a touchdown pass from Aaron Murray to Arthur Lynch.
On the ensuing kickoff, Georgia recovered the onside kick to put the Bulldogs at midfield to start their next drive. Despite orchestrating a drive that got the Bulldogs close to South Carolina's end zone, they had to settle for a 22-yard field goal to end the drive and go up 10-3.
In the opening seconds of the second quarter, Jadaveon Clowney hauled Murray down for his first sack of the season and 22nd of his career. But Murray recovered to maneuver the Bulldogs back into the end zone later on in the drive, with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Keith Marshall. That gave Georgia the 17-3 lead with 12:22 in the 2nd quarter.
"I was surprised," Clowney said about the performance of the South Carolina defense. "We worked hard all week. Game planning we knew we had to stop the run coming into the game and we just didn't do it. We didn't come in and execute like we were supposed to."
"You have to score on every possession," said Spurrier.
South Carolina scored with 7:07 in the 2nd quarter with a 7-yard touchdown run by Brandon Wilds to trail 17-10.
One play after the Gamecocks recovered a fumbled snap as Georgia attempted to punt from their own 18, Shaw connected with Nick Jones to tie it 17 with 5:07 in the 2nd quarter.
With 1:42 to go in the half, Todd Gurley scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to put the Bulldogs up 24-17.
Shaw connected with Jones again with :13 to go until halftime on a 30-yard pass to tie it at 24.
With 8:03 in the third quarter, Georgia capitalized on a Connor Shaw fumble to set up a 37-yard field goal to go up 27-24. The Bulldogs closed out the quarter with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Gurley to give Georgia the 33-24 lead with :18 in the quarter. It was the 98th touchdown pass of Murray's career.
South Carolina responded on opening play of the next drive with a 74-yard run by Mike Davis to run out the clock on the quarter. Two plays later, Davis finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, but the Gamecocks missed the extra point to make it 34-30.
With 13:00 in the 4th quarter, Murray found Justin Scott for an 85-yard touchdown pass and Murray's 4th strike of the game for a score. Giving the Bulldogs the 41-30 lead.
8:30 in the 4th, South Carolina had a 4th and goal on the Georgia 1, and the Bulldogs defense kept the Gamecocks out of the end zone.
South Carolina could muster nothing else to stop Georgia, as the Bulldogs went on to win, 41-30 the final.
Davis led the Gamecocks with 149 yards rushing on 16 carries.
"This one stinks a little bit.," Shaw said. "It's frustrating. I thought our offense did a good job of bouncing back from their big plays. We had a turnover, they didn't have any turnovers."
"When the guys go to class this week, everybody's not telling them how great they are," said Spurrier.
South Carolina takes on Vanderbilt next Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium. Georgia hosts North Texas.
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