By Terrance Turner
Sept. 17, 2022
The University of Georgia Bulldogs remain undefeated after handily beating the South Carolina Gamecocks today in Columbia. The No.1-ranked Bulldogs (the defending national champions) paired a dominant defense with a juggernaut offense that completely overpowered the Gamecocks. Georgia tight end Brock Bowers had a breakout game with three touchdowns; quarterback Stetson Bennett threw two touchdowns and also ran for a score.
The Georgia offense scored on eight of its first nine drives, gaining 551 yards and averaging nearly 10 yards a play, according to ESPN. The tone was set very early, as Georgia ran a 10-play, 82-yard drive to score first. Bowers rushed five yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Kicker Jack Podlesny added an extra point to make it 7-0.
South Carolina gained possession. But quarterback Spencer Rattler was intercepted by Bulldogs safety Malaki Starks, who took the ball 42 yards on his return. It took all of two minutes for Georgia to score again. Georgia QB Stetson Bennett rushed 16 yards to the one-yard line for first and goal, then running back Kendall Milton ran in for the touchdown.
The Gamecocks tried to respond with a drive that took them to 3rd and 8 at the end of the first quarter. When the second quarter began, they went for it on 4th down, but turned the ball over on downs, and the Bulldogs took over. They put together a nine-play, 67-yard scoring drive. a 15-yard catch by wide receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint made it 1st and goal at the 7-yard line. On 3rd and goal, Bennett threw to Bowers for a six-yard score.
South Carolina couldn’t advance the ball past midfield and had to punt — the first of three straight punts in the second quarter. Even Georgia was forced to punt for the first time as the Gamecocks defense finally made a stop. But that offensive stagnation didn’t last long: Georgia managed to extend its lead before the end of the half, when Podlesny nailed a 42-yard field goal. Georgia led 24-0 at halftime.
The Bulldogs wasted no time when the third quarter began, scoring another touchdown within two minutes. Bennett tossed a pass to the tight end; Brock Bowers returned that pass 78 yards, scoring his third touchdown of the day. After the extra point kick sailed through, Georgia had a commanding 31-0 lead.
South Carolina continued to struggle offensively, with the suffocating Georgia defense causing another drive to stall. When Georgia regained possession, Kendall Milton took the Bulldogs to the red zone with a 35-yard catch and run. Bennett did a play fake, shook off a defender and ran into the inside for an 11-yard touchdown. Georgia went up 38-0.
73 seconds later, the Bulldogs scored again.Carson Beck came in at quarterback and found freshman WR Oscar Delp in the end zone for a 28-yard score. (That’s the first catch of Delp’s college career.) Georgia led 45-7 with six minutes left in the third quarter. (Bennett finished his day having thrown 16-of-23 for 284 yards and two touchdowns — plus a rushing touchdown.)
Beck continued at QB in the 4th quarter, as the Bulldogs replaced many of its starters with backups. But Georgia continued to drive. Carson Beck completed a pass to Cole Speer, which put the Bulldogs at first and goal at the 10. Unable to reach the end zone, they settled for a field goal on 4th and goal. Backup kicker Jared Zyrkel kicked a 41-yarder to give Georgia a 45-0 lead.
South Carolina finally scored with 53 seconds left. Backup QB Luke Doty found Gamecocks tight end Traevon Kinion in the end zone for a touchdown. Mitch Jeter kicked the extra point. It was the first touchdown Georgia’s defense has allowed this season. But it came too late. Georgia won convincingly, 45-7, to remain undefeated.