Georgia vs. South Carolina: Matchups That Will Decide Top-10 Showdown

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IOctober 6, 2012

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Marcus Lattimore #21 of the South Carolina Gamecocks dives for more yardage over Shawn Williams #36 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

This may only be the sixth game of the season for both these teams, but their Saturday matchup very well could determine the winner of the SEC's Eastern Division. 

Florida—like both Georgia and South Carolina—is 3-0 in conference play. The other four teams in the division are 0-2. It's pretty clear this is a three-team race, and how those top teams do against each other will be the deciding factor. 

Here are three matchups for Saturday's game that will hold the keys to victory for these two outstanding teams. 


South Carolina's Defensive Line vs. Georgia's Offensive Line

The Gamecocks' defensive line can take over a game in an instant—especially if the opposing offensive line has any holes.

With Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor leading this group, they can both rush the passer and slow down the run. The Gamecocks are allowing just 2.2 yards per carry and have already tallied 22 sacks this season. 

Georgia's offensive line has been performing admirably this year. They have allowed just seven sacks and are averaging 6.2 yards per carry. This group has not faced a test like this, though. 

At right tackle, the Bulldogs will send out freshman John Theus, and you better believe the South Carolina defensive ends are licking their chops. Theus has had a hard time handling athleticism and will be overwhelmed here. Georgia will need to give him help if they want to give quarterback Aaron Murray a chance to succeed.

As you'll see, that is also key. 


Aaron Murray vs. South Carolina's Run Defense

Junior quarterback Aaron Murray has taken his game to a new level early in this season.

After completing 68 percent of his passes for 1,370 yards and 12 touchdowns, Murray's 183.4 quarterback rating is the best mark in the SEC and third best in the nation.

Murray will face his stiffest challenge yet in this game. South Carolina has been playing solid football against the pass, and it certainly is not all about their pass rush. 

The Gamecocks carry a 113.8 opposition quarterback rating into this game, and they have allowed three touchdowns while pulling in seven interceptions. 

This should be a great matchup. 


Marcus Lattimore vs. Georgia's Rush Defense

In their last two matchups (both South Carolina wins), running back Marcus Lattimore has rushed for 358 yards and three touchdowns. Not too shabby, and also not surprising that he was on the winning side of things with those numbers. 

Lattimore looks like he is ready to build on those numbers. He has gained 440 yards this season and done so at an average of 4.8 yards per carry. 

Like most of the matchups, this one should be a blast because the Bulldogs are no slouches when it comes to stopping the run.

They have allowed just six rushing touchdowns and 3.7 yards per carry.