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Georgia vs. South Carolina

Spurrier vs. Richt

Betting Line: South Carolina -3.5 O/U 49

9/11/10

2009 could've gone worse for the Georgia Bulldogs. They finished 8-5 with a big win over Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl. 2010 started off on the right foot with a 55-7 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. They sit at #22 in the AP poll, but could drop from the rankings without a win this week over Steve Spurrier's #25 South Carolina Gamecocks. The Fighting Gamecocks started the year with a win over 41-13 win over Southern Miss. Coming out with a win in ultra tough SEC play is important for both of these teams. South Carolina is hosting the game and have been tabbed 3.5 point favorites. Let's see how these teams stack up against each other.

Freshman Aaron Murray tossed 3 TDs in his debut as the starter for the Bulldogs. What makes that stat even more impressive is that his top WR, AJ Green, was benched due to a pending NCAA investigation. Murray was able to scramble 4 times for 41 yards and a TD. Two of his TD passes were corralled by senior Kris Durham. Murray will have a harder time this week thanks to playing in front of a hostile South Carolina crowd. The secondary of his foe is also much better this week. AJ Green, Mel Kiper's top WR for the 2011 NFL Draft, will be sitting again this week. The Bulldogs will have sophomore Tavarres King back. He had 377 yard and a long catch of 50 yards in 2009.

Relying more heavily on the running game could aid Georgia as they field an inexperienced QB with their hot shot WR on the bench. Washaun Ealey had 728 yards as a freshman and will be much more explosive as a sophomore. He has one of the best offensive lines around creating holes for him. The Bulldogs had a weak defense last year and it still looks suspect. That is bad news for Georgia backers as South Carolina returns 9 starters from an offensive that scored 37 points against the Bulldogs last year. This outcome of this game will be affected strongly by Georgia ability to run the ball and defend effectively against the Gamecocks offense.

South Carolina used a strong running game to crush Southern Miss 41-13. QB Stephen Garcia passed for 193 yards and ran for 38 more and 2 TDs. Freshman Ace Sanders busted loose on a 53 yard run that setup a TD rush by Marcus Lattimore. He had 2 total for the game. Spurrier's team used a total of 7 runners to get 224 yards and 4 TDs on the ground. WR Alshon Jeffery had 7 catches for 106 yards. The Gamecocks can get points through the air, but are clearly more effective with their ground game.

The South Carolina defense grabbed 2 turnovers against Southern Miss. In last year's game with the Bulldogs they were +2 in the turnover battle. The Gamecocks boast a strong LB corps that includes last years top tackler Shaq Wilson. He had 85 tackles and an INT in 2009. The defensive line is solid all the way through and has the benefit of future NFL DE Cliff Matthews. The senior had 7 sacks last year.

South Carolina was very strong playing at home in 2009. They finished with a home record of 6-1 with their only loss coming to eventual Sugar Bowl winners Florida. On the flip side, Georgia has been good on the road recently. They were 3-2 in 2009 and 5-0 in 2008 when traveling.

History, history, history. Some programs have a rich, traditional history that you need to consider before making a play. This is one such matchup. Very rare is the Georgia vs. South Carolina game that ends up one sides. Look it up. Over the last decade there have been 2 games that got out of hand. Other than those two games, you see a bunch of games decided by 2-7 points with the majority being closer to 2 than 7. It's a great. close rivalry. These teams know each other well. Give South Carolina the edge at QB here, however, in this type of game, we prefer to be taking rather than giving. Mark Richt is 33-6 in road games and Steve Spurriers South Carolina teams are known for early season stumbles. Georgia +3.5
 

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