COLUMBIA, S.C. — Georgia defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter said the Bulldogs halftime adjustment wasn’t too complicated Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
“The only adjustment was to come out and hit them in the mouth, defensively, get a pocket push, press them back, make the quarterback uncomfortable, cover those routes well,” said Ledbetter, who was credited with two stops.
“You’ve got people helping each other back in the secondary, and that’s the big thing you’ve got to do is communicate, because they have a good quarterback,” Ledbetter said. “Jake Bentley is always going to make them right, and in order to affect him, we have to check out of stuff, too.”
The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs rolled to a 41-17 victory over the No. 24-ranked Gamecocks, blowing the game open with a 21-point third quarter.
The South Carolina offense out-gained Georgia 191 yards to 183 in the first half and ran 46 plays, an impressive 5 of 10 on third down conversions.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker adjusted, however, and the Gamecocks managed just 141 yards on 22 plays, going 1 of 4 on third downs.
Ledbetter said South Carolina’s hurry-up offense was the key to its success in the first half, and Georgia has some work to do.
“They were moving fast, man, they have good tempo, it was a little toasty today, and we had to make some adjustments,” Ledbetter said. “We have a lot of work to do, we can’t get beat on stuff like that … we have to tighten down, play better coverage and have a better rush.
“I felt we didn’t get enough pressures this game, so we have to get back int he lab and work on some stuff affecting the quarterbacks more.”
Bentley was 30-of-47 passing for 269 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He was sacked once.
The Gamecocks’ most valued playmaker, receiver Deebo Samuel, had six catches for 33 yards and one rush for minus-1 yard. Samuel said before the game he didn’t know much about Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker.
Ledbetter indicated the defense took that personal.
“You don’t have to know who we are, but after we finish playing, you’re going to know very well who we are,” Ledbetter said. “All we do is focus on each other. I don’t do it for me necessarily, I don’t even know how many plays I made today, I really don’t care.
“I had fun with my boys, and we had a great game and everybody was doing well, and playing to the standard, and that’s all I care about.”