COLUMBIA – The Georgia Bulldogs, who South Carolina will face in Athens this Saturday at noon, have led the SEC in rushing for each of the last three seasons and once again sit at the top this year with 250 rushing yards per game.
With a veteran quarterback in Jake Fromm who doesn't make mistakes, the biggest offensive line that the Gamecocks will face this season, and an always-impressive cadre of playmakers in the backfield, Georgia has the type of offense that can force its will on opponents.
The key to slowing a Georgia offense that's averaging 42.8 points per game? Keep them off schedule from their down-and-distance goals, South Carolina defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson says.
"Obviously, you create negative plays," Robinson said. "I think you just look at the last three years [of games between South Carolina and Georgia], a lot of slanting and moving [on the defensive line] and doing different things trying to create negative plays. I think we're now talented enough to try and create negative plays without doing a bunch of crazy stuff. And that's the one thing that we have to do. We're going to have to calm down and go play our style of football. We're talented enough to go in and compete with those guys and play well."
It's easier said than done. Georgia has allowed just 15 tackles-for-loss this season, also best in the conference.
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The Gamecocks enter Saturday's matchup as a 25.5-point underdog, according to VegasInsider, but Robinson has confidence in an improving South Carolina defense that is playing especially well on the defensive line as of late.
In the three prior contests between the two schools, all Georgia wins, the Bulldogs have averaged 280 rushing yards per game, a trend the Gamecocks will clearly have to buck this week if they're going to pull the upset.
They'll also need to keep Georgia from getting chunk plays as the Bulldogs are second n the conference with 97 plays of 10-plus yards this season.
"Eliminate the big play," Robinson said. "And that's the one thing they can't have, the big run or the big throw over your head. Make them earn it, make them go down the field and drive the ball and convert on third downs."
NOTE: The decision on the game time and television network for the South Carolina-Florida game Oct. 19 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia has been placed on hold by CBS. The time will be either noon, 3:30 or 6 p.m.