FOOTBALL | NCAAF

South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Georgia Bulldogs Pick & Prediction SEP 18TH 2021

Complete Sanford Stadium Athens
179Gamecocks South Carolina
180Bulldogs Georgia
OP
45.5
-30.5
CU
47.5o -110
-31.5 -110
ML
ML: 3172
ML: -9926
Partials
1 2 3
6 0 0 7
14 12 14 0
Score
13
40

No. 2 Georgia opens Southeastern Conference play Saturday with South Carolina visiting Athens, Ga., and the Bulldogs are shooting for a 3-0 start for the seventh consecutive season.

Georgia also has a chance to keep its opponent from scoring an offensive touchdown for the third consecutive game.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 56-7 victory over Alabama-Birmingham in which quarterback Stetson Bennett tied a school record with five touchdown passes -- all in the first half -- and the defense held the Blazers to just 174 yards. Alabama-Birmingham scored on an interception return for a touchdown when trailing 56-0.

The Bulldogs held then-No. 3 Clemson to just three points and 180 yards in a season-opening 10-3 win.

Bennett started against UAB in place of JT Daniels, who was out with a strained oblique.

Bennett threw touchdown passes of 73, 12, 89, 61 yards and nine yards. He exited midway through the third quarter with the Bulldogs leading 42-0. He went 10-for-12 passing for 288 yards.

Daniels' status is unclear and the Bulldogs haven't named a starter.

Whoever starts at quarterback has plenty of targets.

Tight end Brock Bowers (three catches, 107 yards, 2 TDs) and Jermaine Burton (three catches, 92 yards, TD) were among eight receivers with at least one catch against the Blazers. Zamir White led the Bulldogs' rushing attack with 34 yards on seven carries. Georgia finished with 539 yards of total offense.

"(Georgia's) really, really, really, really good," South Carolina coach Shane Beamer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "... I know how talented they are. And I know how (Georgia coach Kirby Smart) runs that program. No one in that facility is ever allowed to get comfortable, meaning coaches and players. They're not sitting around patting themselves on the back about their 2-0 start and what they've done. They're in there doing everything in their power to get better this week. That's why they're consistently good."

South Carolina (2-0) remained undefeated after Parker White hit a tie-breaking, 36-yard field goal on the final play to pull out a 20-17 win over host East Carolina last Saturday.

Gamecocks quarterback Zeb Noland -- a grad assistant who is playing for his third school and opened the season as an assistant coach -- went 13-of-24 passing for 189 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception against the Pirates.

Josh Vann caught five passes for a game-high 91 yards, Damani Staley scored on an interception and Darius Rush picked off a pass for the Gamecocks, who rallied from a 14-0 deficit.

Noland has replaced Luke Doty, who has been sidelined with an injured foot. Doty might be available against Georgia, which opened as a 32-point favorite over the Gamecocks.

Smart is preparing for Noland, who grew up just outside of Athens, and Doty, who went 18-for-22 passing for 190 yards with a touchdown and an interception in Georgia's 45-16 victory over the Gamecocks last year in Columbia, S.C.

"Zeb Noland has done a great job," Smart told reporters. "I watched his first two games and it was unique. He played really well and I said, 'This is a (graduate assistant) who is at quarterback, playing winning football and making good decisions.'"

The last time South Carolina visited Athens, the Gamecocks were unranked and a 21-point underdog in 2019. They knocked off the then-No. 3 Bulldogs, 20-17 in double overtime, ending the Bulldogs' four-game winning streak in the series.

Beamer and Smart know each other well. Beamer coached the Bulldogs' tight ends and special teams under Smart from 2016-2017. Beamer joined Lincoln Riley's staff at Oklahoma as assistant head coach in 2018, where he stayed until taking the head job with the Gamecocks.

Beamer replaced Will Muschamp, who now coaches Georgia's special teams after he was fired as South Carolina's head coach after a 2-5 start last year.

--Field Level Media

South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia's Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 42-yard field goal wide left at the end of the second overtime as visiting South Carolina shocked the No. 3 Bulldogs 20-17 in Athens, Ga.

South Carolina (3-3, 2-2 SEC) missed a 33-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first overtime that would have won the game. The Gamecocks settled for a 24-yard field goal by Parker White to start the second extra period.

The Bulldogs (5-1, 2-1) had the ball first in overtime but turned it over on the second play, when Jake Fromm's pass went off the hands of a receiver and into the arms of cornerback Israel Mukuamu for his third interception of the game.

Georgia trailed 17-10 before tying the game late in the fourth quarter.

With just over six minutes to play, the Bulldogs started at their own 4-yard line before driving the length of the field to tie the game on a 6-yard touchdown pass by Fromm to Demetris Robertson with 1:48 left to play.

But the Gamecocks weren't done.

After a touchback put South Carolina at the 25, backup quarterback Dakereon Joyner drove the team to the 40 before head coach Will Muschamp opted for a 57-yard field goal attempt with 40 seconds left. White's kick was short and wide, giving the Bulldogs another shot in regulation.

Georgia would get as close as the Gamecocks 38 before an illegal shift forced the Bulldogs out of field goal range, sending the game into overtime for just the second time in the history of Sanford Stadium.

Leading 17-10 early in the third quarter, South Carolina had the ball inside its 10 when a personal foul on Bulldog linebacker Adam Anderson knocked freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski from the game with a leg injury.

Hilinski was 15 of 20 for 116 yards and a touchdown. Joyner was 6 of 12 for 39 yards, also rushing six times for 28 yards.

Fromm was 28 of 51 for 295 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions, including one that Mukuamu returned 53 yards for a score with 1:00 to go before halftime for a 17-10 lead.

Mukuamu also intercepted a pass at the South Carolina 35 with 9:25 to go in the game.

--Field Level Media

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