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Georgia beat South Carolina 45-16.

Georgia football winners and losers following big win over South Carolina

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Georgia football winners and losers following big win over South Carolina

Winner: Georgia offensive line

A week after getting called out by Kirby Smart for their performance against Mississippi State, Georgia’s offensive line responded in a big way.

The Bulldogs rolled up a season-best 332 rushing yards in the 45-16 win. James Cook led the efforts with 104 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Zamir White added 84 rushing yards and two touchdowns of his own.

But with Kenny McIntosh getting 79 yards and freshman Daijun Edwards finishing with 77 yards it was clear that Georgia’s front was opening holes up all night for whoever was running the ball for the Bulldogs.

“They knew that South Carolina had some guys out, but they didn’t play down to that level,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “They played physical, they knocked people off the ball, they ran the ball and I thought our O-line’s second effort and our backs’ second effort was the difference in the game.”

After the team ran for just eight yards against Mississippi State, this effort against South Carolina was much needed for the likes of Jamaree Salyer, Justin Shaffer, Trey Hill, Ben Cleveland and Warren McClendon.

Loser: Vanderbilt Commodores

It was a tough weekend for the Vanderbilt football program. It started on Saturday with a 41-0 loss, where the lone highlight for the Commodores was a perfectly executed squib kick by Sarah Fuller, as she became the first woman to play for a Power 5 program.

The 41-0 loss dropped Vanderbilt to 0-8 on the season. Then on Sunday, the school parted ways with Derek Mason. He was in his seventh season at the school and compiled a 27-55 record.

After his dismissal, Mason posted a note to his Twitter account.

“I am blessed to have worked alongside and built relationships with some of the finest and most dedicated coaches, staff and faculty in the nation,” Mason wrote. “It has truly been my honor to have been given the opportunity to teach, mentor, champion and coach hundreds of Vanderbilt young men and one courageous female.”

Vanderbilt named offensive coordinator Todd Fitch the interim head coach. His first challenge will be matching up against a Georgia team that is coming off its most complete performance of the season.

The experts in Vegas don’t like Vanderbilt’s chances, as the Bulldogs open up as a 35-point favorite over the Commodores. For what has been a tough season for Vanderbilt, Saturday figures to be another challenging day for the Commodores.

Winner: Jalen Carter

My dad is a casual Georgia football fan. He knows about JT Daniels and the top players, but he’s not in the weeds regarding all the Georgia players and who was rated as what as a recruit.

But it was very obvious to him on Saturday night that defensive tackle Jalen Carter was a problem for South Carolina. When alerted to the fact that he was only a freshman he was even more impressed.

Carter had three tackles, one of which went for loss as well as a quarterback pressure. He leads all Georgia defensive linemen with 3.0 tackles for loss on the season and also has five quarterback hurries for the Bulldogs.

Georgia has had to skew younger on the interior of the defensive line with injuries to Jordan Davis and Julian Rochester. That has given Carter an even bigger role in the defense.

“He’s grown up a lot faster than some of the other guys. He’s very talented,” Smart said. “He continues to work hard and get better. The sky’s the limit. But he’s got to work really hard to realize his potential. But he did make some knock-back plays. And we’ve got to be more disruptive with guys like him.”

Carter was a 5-star signee in the 2020 recruiting class and so far he’s looked every bit as good as advertised. Carter flashed his athleticism earlier in the year with a touchdown grab against Tennessee.

If he keeps playing like he did against South Carolina, it won’t be long till just about every casual Georgia football fan knows his name.

Loser: Whoever the fourth College Football Playoff team will be

Who wants to be the fourth team to make the College Football Playoff team? Texas A&M sure didn’t look like it as the Aggies slogged their way to a 20-7 win over LSU on Saturday.

Florida will likely get its crack against Alabama but it will have to play better in the opening 30 minutes than it did against Kentucky. Kyle Pitts was once again unstoppable for the Gators as he caught another three touchdown passes from Kyle Trask, but Florida needed a punt return touchdown from Kadrius Toney in the final minute of the first half to take the league.

Related: SEC round-up for Week 13

Oregon lost to Oregon State, all but torpedoing the PAC 12’s chances. Northwestern lost to Michigan State, ending its unbeaten season.

Then there’s Ohio State, which is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that forced them to cancel their game against Illinois. At most, the Buckeyes will play only seven games this season and that is if they are able to play the next two weeks against Michigan State and Michigan. Should neither of those games get played, Ohio State would be ineligible for the Big Ten championship game, unless 12 of the remaining 14 games get wiped out as well.

And all of this is for what? The right to get demolished by an Alabama team that has been dominant since the halftime of the Georgia game? The Crimson Tide powered past Auburn on Saturday, winning 42-13.

Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame all look like playoff teams. But finding the fourth team is a little tough right now.

Winner: Georgia’s young players

With Georgia up by 35 after the first play of the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs had a chance to do something they hadn’t often this season.

The Bulldogs got to play the likes of young players such as Broderick Jones, Mekhail Sherman and Arian Smith real game reps. Smith actually recorded his first career catch, which went for a 31-yard touchdown.

“I was proud of those guys. I wish that we could play them more,” Smart said. “That’s what kids do, they come to Georgia to play in the games.”

Smart did add that he wasn’t thrilled with how some of the young defensive players looked on Saturday. But that experience will end up being a good thing for them and the team going forward.

“That’s the way you learn,” Smart said. “I’ve been around it for years where I’ve been at places when you get a lead, put them in and you find out a lot about a kid. You find out, hey, he might still be a year away, but getting that experience under his belt is invaluable.”

With the Bulldogs taking on Vanderbilt this Saturday, there is the chance Georgia will get to do the same, given how the Commodores have played this season.

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