ATHENS — Georgia football doesn’t need many more reminders of its massive failure on Saturday against unranked South Carolina.
Coach Kirby Smart is more about encouragement than tough love after losses, even the 20-17 double-overtime defeat to the Gamecocks.
But passionate Bulldogs’ fans might not be as forgiving after seeing their No. 3-ranked UGA team (5-1, 2-1 SEC) suffer a humiliating loss that featured breakdowns at every level, in every quarter.
Offense, defense, special teams and coaching all got outplayed and out-done by a Gamecocks program that simply showed up and appeared to want it more.
Here’s one perspective on how Georgia football graded out.
Yep, Jake Fromm looked below average against South Carolina, even though he didn’t have much to work with as far as receivers running open or creative playcylling. Fromm was 28-of-51 passing for 295 yards with a TD and three interceptions. Two of the sacks were coverage sacks, and two of the interceptions were the fault of receivers. Fromm, however, was a tick off on throws all day.
Running backs (C+)
Tough, blue-collar but nothing spectacular here on a day the offense could have used some juice. There were 37 carries by the backs, none broke longer than 14 yards. Swift showed some muscle in short-yardage, but Zamir White hard-charging style appeared to lack vision. It was surprising James Cook wasn’t used more and that Kenny McIntosh didn’t get a carry.
Demetris Robertson was a bright spot, coming up big with 5 catches for 51 yards and the game-tying TD. Coaches love Tyler Simmons, but he’s being put in a tough position playing with a shoulder brace, and this time he had a pass go out of his hands and to a defender for an interception. Dominick Blaylock looks great when given opportunities. George Pickens caught 7 of his 9 targets for a team-high 98 yards. Go-to man Lawrence Cager had three third-down conversion catches before leaving the game injured. Matt Landers ran the wrong route leading to an interception.
Offensive line (C)
The Georgia offensive line opened some holes and provided adequate protection most of the game, but there were occasional breakdowns. Justin Shaffer started at left guard but exited early with an injury, and Solomon Kindley didn’t appear to be completely healed from his Sept. 21 ankle injury. South Carolina packed the box, and there was only so much this unit could do, it appeared.
Defensive line (C+)
The Bulldogs defensive front played hard against a capable South Carolina run scheme featuring pulling guards. Senior Tyler Clark showed up late with key stops, but Michail Carter was whistled for an untimely offsides. Five stops for senior Michael Barnett was impressive. Jordan Davis tried to go, but it was clear he was still hobbled.
This unit played hard, led by Monty Rice and Tae Crowder with 12 tackles each. Azeez Ojulari also had six stops for the Bulldogs linebackers, who seemed to have the best day of all the defensive units. Still, no sacks, no interceptions and no faced fumbles, and linebackers are supposed to make those plays happen.
Safeties didn’t appear to be much help in coverage, particularly on Bryan Edwards’ 46-yard touchdown grab. Richard LeCounte looked late rotating over. J.R Reed had a pass interference and missed open-field tackles. Eric Stokes played well, and cornerback DJ Daniel was adequate. UGA misses Tyson Campbell.
Special Teams (D)
Rodrigo Blankenship had a big 50-yard make, but missed a potential game-tying 42-yarder and had a 53-yard attempt blocked. Georgia didn’t have any returns, Jake Camarda had three punts and averaged 57.7.
South Carolina played inspired football and didn’t turn the football over, but for a No. 3-ranked Georgia team to lose as a three-touchdown favorite in that fashion is an indictment on the team’s passive psyche. The conservative nature of play calls has some carryover, apparently, as the Bulldogs simply seem to lack an edge.
Georgia-South Carolina Game coverage