Kirby Smart said he was eager for Georgia to get the ball back to start the second half after falling behind 14-3 through the first 30 minutes.
The No. 1-ranked Bulldogs have a 20-game home win streak on the line and 19-game overall win streak, both of which date back to a 2019 loss to South Carolina between the hedges.
Georgia was a massive four-touchdown favorite to win this game, but the Gamecocks have held their own at the line of scrimmage and not been as mistake-prone as the home team.
South Carolina, which opened the season with a 31-17 loss to North Carolina, out-gained UGA 180-168 yards and scored on its opening drive.
“We get the ball first, and that’s big,” Smart said, telling the CBS on-field reporter about his message to his team. “We were trying to double possessions there (at end of first half), get points and then start out the second half, bit a little out of rhythm on offense.”
UGA will need to find their stride in the second half without massive right tackle Amarius Mims, who left the game in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs were also out of rhythm on special teams as freshman Peyton Woodring missed a 28-yard field goal preceding South Carolina’s second touchdown.
Smart said Georgia was in the right coverages at times, but Spencer Rattler and the Gamecocks still made big plays.
“We’ve got to get off the field on third downs,” Smart said, “They’re getting two explosive plays to their best playmaker, (Xavier Legette). We’ve got him doubled and he still beat us.
“So we’ve got to do a bette job executing and we’ve got to get some turnovers to get off the field.”
Rattler is 16-of-18 passing for 152 yards and a touchdown at the half, while UGA quarterback Carson Beck is 13 of 18 for 98 yards.
The Gamecocks, like the Bulldogs, are missing a key player as receiver Antwane Wells left the game with a lower-body injury after scoring on a 17-yard TD catch at the 9:56 mark, capping a game-opening 10-play, 65-yard drive.
Kirby Smart is 12-10 at Georgia in games the Bulldogs trailed at halftime.
“They’re doing a good job defensively,” Smart said. “We’ve got some guys down, but we’ve got to make up for it. We’ve got to step up.”