Georgia vs South Carolina: Sorry Bulldog Fans, Carolina Is Getting the Hat Trick

Randy ChambersAnalyst IOctober 6, 2012

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Marcus Lattimore #21 of the South Carolina Gamecocks rushes upfield against Cornelius Washington #83 of the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 10, 2011 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The game of the week between Georgia and South Carolina has been a long-time rivalry that has been completely one-sided through the years. In fact, the Bulldogs lead the series 42-15-2 all time, dating back to 1903.

However, it appears that South Carolina is gaining ground, as the Gamecocks have won three of the last five matchups and are going for a third straight victory over Georgia for the first time ever.

Sorry, Bulldog fans, the Gamecocks are getting that hat trick.

For one, the game is taking place in Williams-Brice Stadium, a venue that isn't exactly kind to visiting teams and has a history of eating opponents alive.

Quarterback Aaron Murray played in the 2010 game as a freshman, and although he completed 66 percent of his passes, he wasn't able to generate any type of consistent offense. The Bulldogs didn't score one touchdown.

But even when Murray played well against the Gamecocks last season, he still wasn't able to get the upper hand on this team.

In last year’s meeting, the Georgia quarterback threw for four touchdowns and led the Bulldogs to over 400 yards, but South Carolina matched those numbers and ended up winning its first game in Athens since 2007.

But this game is more how the Gamecocks are coming along faster than the Bulldogs are at the moment.

South Carolina is clicking on the defensive side of the ball, as the unit ranks 11th in the country in total defense. The defensive front gets after the quarterback better than anybody, as there have been 22 sacks in the first four games and only three touchdowns allowed on 13 red-zone trips.

Georgia, on the other hand, has the potential to become a great defense once again, but it hasn't shown much early on.

The Bulldogs are allowing 147 yards on the ground, are getting very little pressure up front and have allowed 13 plays over 30 yards. Of course, getting players such as Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree back will help, but this is only their second game back from suspension.

Quarterback Connor Shaw is looking better and better, as he is still recovering from a shoulder injury.

Marcus Lattimore is showing flashes of being the running back of old. His yards-per-carry average have shot up to nearly five yards per touch, and he has scored at least one touchdown in each of the first five games.

Georgia has a terrific running back tandem in Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, but they both happen to be true freshmen.

Neither has faced a terrific defense such as the Gamecocks, and this will be the first true road test of the season for both backs. It certainly doesn't help matters that the Bulldogs' leading receiver, Michael Bennett, is out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury.

Head coach Steve Spurrier came to South Carolina to turn this program into a winner, and he is on the right track to do just that. The winner of this ballgame will have the inside track to win the SEC East, while the loser will take a step back in accomplishing those goals.

Both teams are extremely talented and very similar. From what we have seen so far, though, South Carolina is the better defensive team, has veterans and proven players on offense, and happens to be the home team.

This would be a huge step in the right direction for the Gamecocks, and they will get it done Saturday evening.

Note: All stats come from unless otherwise noted.