Oct. 6, 2012
ATHENS, Ga -- The fifth ranked Georgia Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the season Saturday night, losing 35-7 to South Carolina in front of 85, 199 at Williams-Brice Stadium and a national television audience on ESPN.
The loss dropped the Bulldogs season record to 5-1 and 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference. South Carolina moved a game ahead of Georgia in the SEC East, the Gamecocks moving to 6-0 on the season and 4-0 in conference.
Georgia struggled offensively all game finishing with only 224 total offensive yards. Junior quarterback Aaron Murray led the Bulldogs, going 11-for-31 with 109 yards passing. The leading rusher for Georgia was Ken Malcome with 45 yards on 5 carries. Malcolm Mitchell led the Bulldogs in receiving yards with 52 yards on 3 catches.
The Bulldogs only score of the game, a four yard run from Ken Malcome, was a consolation score in the fourth quarter. After the Gamecocks went up 35-0, Georgia took over with 6:17 left in the game and rode Malcome and Keith Marshall down the field. Malcome eventually put the Bulldogs on the board with a 3 yard rush.
South Carolina dominated the first quarter as the opened up a 21-0 lead. The Gamecocks scored on their first two offensive possessions while also returning a punt for touchdown. The Gamecock scoring drives were of 76 and 69 yards.
Georgia struggled to build the offensive momentum that has characterized the early part of its season. After a tipped Aaron Murray pass was intercepted the Bulldogs were forced to punt on their next two possessions, the first of which Ace Sanders returned 70 yards for a touchdown.
After the Gamecocks offensive explosion in the first quarter, the second became a defensive slugfest. The best scoring opportunity fell to the Bulldogs who, after a 15 play 80 yard drive, went for a touchdown on a fourth and goal from the 2 yard line. Murray's pass to Rantavious Wooten, however, came up short and the play resulted in a turnover on downs. Georgia's defense in the second quarter was significantly improved, allowing the Gamecocks only 34 total yards in the quarter.
The Bulldogs offensive struggles continued at the beginning of the second half as, after receiving the kick off in the second half Georgia made a first down before being forced to punt again.
After the teams exchanged two more punts the Bulldogs problems continued as South Carolina added to its lead. A four play Gamecock drive was highlighted by a 62 yard Connor Shaw pass to D.L. Moore before Marcus Lattimore ran the ball in from the 1 yard line to put the Gamecocks up 28-0.
Kwame Geathers gave the Bulldogs hope midway through the third quarter. Geathers blocked an attempted South Carolina field goal keeping the deficit at 28 points.
After being spoken to on the sideline by head coach Mark Richt before the start of the fourth quarter Georgia struggled to get the ball back from their hosts. South Carolina held onto the ball for the first 9:28 of the fourth quarter while running exclusively rushing plays. Shaw eventually finished off the drive, and the game, with a 7 yard rushing touchdown completing the scoring at 35-0.
Georgia now has a two week break before its next game with Oct. 13 serving as the Bulldogs off week. The next time Georgia takes the field will be at Kentucky on Oct. 20.