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Georgia beat South Carolina by a 28-14 in the teams' most recent meeting in Columbia, S.C., in 2016.

Georgia single-digit favorite over South Carolina in ‘trendy upset’ game

ATHENS — Georgia football has opened as a 9 1/2-point favorite over South Carolina in next Saturday’s  game at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, according to VegasInsider.com.

According to a preseason Sports Illustrated article, “there is ample reason to worry about this one for Georgia.”

The guarantee

Former Gamecocks player Tori Gurley guaranteed a South Carolina win before the season, fanning the flames of a game that already set up as one of the biggest in the SEC this season.

The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs (1-0) are coming off a 45-0 win over FCS Austin Peay in a game that saw the coaches agree to cut the fourth quarter to 10 minutes.

The Gamecocks, meanwhile, dealt Coastal Carolina a 49-15 defeat in a noon game that failed to draw a capacity crowd.

South Carolina tailback Rico Dowdle suggested to The State newspaper in Columbia that there’s no reason the Gamecocks can’t dominate against Georgia.

“I think a lot can carry over,” said Dowdle, who had 105 rushing yards in the opening game. “No matter who we are matching up with, we want to come out and dominate each and every week. I think everything can carry over.”

Challenging stadium

Former Georgia QB D.J. Shockley told DawgNation this summer that Williams-Brice Stadium can indeed be challenging.

“The energy and electricity in that building when the game matters may be one of the best in the SEC, and it’s not friendly to whomever the opponent may be,” said Shockley, now an analyst with the SEC Network.

Longtime Georgia beat writer Chip Towers pointed out that: “Since 2000, the Bulldogs are 5-4 against South Carolina in Williams-Brice Stadium. More telling is the aggregate score in those nine games. The Gamecocks have actually outscored Georgia 155 points to 151 in those contests. When it was played as the SEC opener over that span, three of the Bulldogs’ four wins were by seven or fewer points and they lost three by an average of 14 points.”

On Saturday, South Carolina scored more points (45) than it had in five years, as quarterback Jake Bentley threw a career-high four touchdown passes. Bentley was 22-of-29 passing for 250 yards.

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart