The No. 24 South Carolina Gamecocks could quickly derail Todd Gurley’s blazing start, or become the next victim in the running back’s sprint for the Heisman. The junior has had nearly two weeks to rest following his scintillating 198-yard, three-touchdown performance in No. 6 Georgia’s 45-21 opening victory against Clemson, highlighted by his 100-yard kick-off return to close the first half.
Following that incredible game, the Bulldogs are favored by a touchdown in their first road trip and SEC matchup of the season Saturday at William-Brice Stadium.
The Gamecocks have struggled against the run in their two games this season, and might not be capable of slowing Gurley. Opponents are rushing for 150.5 yards on average against South Carolina and have scored five touchdowns.
South Carolina and head coach Steve Spurrier got their season back on track with a 33-23 victory over East Carolina, making up some ground after the 24-point home loss to Texas A&M to start the season.
Senior quarterback Dylan Thompson didn’t have to dig the Gamecocks out of an early like he did against A&M, going 25-for-38 with 266 yards and a touchdown, allowing junior running back Mike Davis to make a much bigger impact with 101 yards and two touchdowns.
But should Gurley breakout out once again, Thompson does have an excellent batch of receivers in senior Nick Jones, sophomore Pharoh Cooper and junior Shaq Roland. Jones leads the crew with 10 receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns.
The Gamecocks will try to eliminate Gurley from the game’s equation, and force senior quarterback Hutson Mason to throw. Specifically they’ll need defensive tackles J.T. Surratt and Gerarld Dixon Jr. to overpower and exploit a Georgia offensive line that features two sophomores at guard, Brandon Kublanow and Greg Pyke.
Spending most of his college career backing up Aaron Murray, Mason can be an accurate passer and read defenses well, but he’s never been asked to carry the bulk of the Bulldogs attack. He’ll look for senior receiver Michael Bennett and rising freshman running back Sony Michel out of the backfield, hoping to create space for Gurley.
Start Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
TV Channel: CBS
Live Online Stream: A live stream is available at CBS Sports here.
Betting Odds: Georgia -7
Over/Under: 59 points
Prediction: Georgia 37, South Carolina 27