As conference openers go, Georgia’s didn’t go great. But South Carolina’s couldn’t have gone much worse.
Not only did the Gamecocks lose to Kentucky 26-22, but they also lost starting quarterback Connor Mitch in the process. The redshirt sophomore from Raleigh not only is out four to six weeks because of a separated shoulder suffered in that game, but coach Steve Spurrier revealed Sunday he had to be hospitalized because of an infection from a bruised hip suffered the previous week against North Carolina.
“We’ll try to play our best against Georgia in Athens,” Spurrier, still hoarse from the previous night, said on a teleconference call. “They look awfully strong, as usual. But I think our guys will look forward to playing the game.”
Saturday’s excruciating loss will be tough for the Gamecocks to get over. After trailing 24-7 in the first half, they got within two in the fourth quarter. But they fumbled on a two-point conversion try, and Kentucky’s Denzil Ware returned it 98 yards for the final margin.
South Carolina was driving on the Wildcats with 4:32 left when backup quarterback Perry Orth threw an interception. Spurrier said Orth will start against Georgia, but they may also play freshman Lorenzo Nunez of Kennesaw.
“Perry really threw some nice balls last night,” Spurrier said. “Obviously that was a bad one at the end on first down. … But we’ve got confidence in Perry. We were one play from coming back and beating those guys, but we didn’t do it. … We’ve got confidence Perry will play well.”
Orth went 13-for-20 for 179 yards. Senior tailback Brandon Wilds ran 16 times for 106 yards and receiver Pharoh Cooper caught nine passes for 100 yards as the Gamecocks out-gained Kentucky 417 yards to 399 yards.
Spurrier is concerned about South Carolina’s ability to slow down Georgia’s rushing attack after giving up 207 yards to Kentucky, including 107 to Stanley Williams.
“Chubb is one of the best you’ll ever see,” Spurrier said. “Like any great running back you hope to not let him get started. You can’t give him much of a hole at the line of scrimmage. So we’ll probably get a bunch of guys up there like everybody else tries to do when the they play Georgia and try to stop him.”