South Carolina Football: Reliving the Gamecocks' 3-Year Win Streak vs. Georgia
South Carolina's three-year winning streak over Georgia in college football has only added to their rivalry and sets up what should be a heated battle in 2013.
Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier seems to have Georgia head coach Mark Richt's number of late and will look to steal the SEC East from the Bulldogs en route to a berth in the SEC title game this fall.
Their recent wins over Georgia have meant a whole lot more than just victories for South Carolina. The Gamecocks have gained confidence as well as national relevance while striking fear into their SEC opponents.
South Carolina has Georgia on its heels with the intentions of continuing to exert its power over one of its biggest rivals.
Here is a recap of South Carolina's three-year winning streak over Georgia, one that has helped to change the face of the Gamecocks' program.
2010: South Carolina 17, Georgia 6
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The 2010 game between South Carolina and Georgia in Columbia, S.C., was a defensive dogfight that featured one difference-maker.
In his first career game in SEC play, Lattimore carried the ball 37 times for a whopping 182 yards and two touchdowns. The young freshman who had huge expectations definitely put the team on his back.
It was a coming out party for Lattimore, who went on to have a great career with the Gamecocks despite two devastating knee injuries.
The South Carolina defense contained Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who completed passes, but could not get the ball into the end zone. The Bulldogs were also without star wide receiver A.J. Green, who missed the game due to suspension by the NCAA for selling a Bulldogs' game jersey.
In fact, the whole Georgia offense struggled in the red zone, especially with Washuan Ealey's fumble at the South Carolina 3-yard line. Stalling in the end zone was the Bulldogs' kryptonite against the Gamecocks and their Superman, Lattimore, who stole the show as he rattled off a trio of big runs on the Gamecocks' opening drive.
South Carolina's win with star players like Lattimore and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery set the tempo for Spurrier's squad in the rivalry.
2011: South Carolina 45, Georgia 42
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While their 2010 meeting was a low-scoring slugfest of defenses, the 2011 showdown saw South Carolina and Georgia light up the scoreboard, although the Gamecocks did so with their defense and special teams.
In perhaps the most iconic play of the game, South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram ran a 68-yard fake punt into the end zone. Ingram did not stop there.
Ingram also returned a fumble for a touchdown to clinch the game for the Gamecocks, who took a 10-point lead on its second defensive touchdown of the game.
Georgia could not dig itself out from the it created for itself with its sloppy play. A team that can put up 42 points against South Carolina should usually win, but the Bulldogs turned the ball over too often.
Spurrier commented about Georgia's play and his own defense, per ESPN.com:
Really, it was three defensive scores. And the punt, too. Melvin, he's a defensive player. So that's basically four defensive touchdowns,' coach Steve Spurrier said. 'Georgia outplayed us. Give 'em credit. They definitely outplayed us. But we won the game. Sometimes it happens like that. Somebody was looking out for us tonight.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray tossed four touchdown and passed for 248 yards while going 19-of-28, but Murray could only do so much and did throw a pick-six to Antonio Allen.
The Bulldogs scored around the two-minute mark, but it was too little, too late and their sloppiness sealed their fate.
Following yet another tough loss, Georgia had hoped that things would not get worse against South Carolina. The 2012 game proved it could.
2012: South Carolina 35, Georgia 7
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To say that the 2012 matchup between South Carolina and Georgia was a beatdown is an absolute understatement.
The Gamecocks flat out dominated the Bulldogs at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Quarterback Connor Shaw did not need to put the ball in the air often, but was efficient when he did. Shaw threw two touchdown passes on his six completions, and that was more than enough to do the job.
Lattimore rushed for 109 yards and a score while Shaw contributed to the ground game with 14 carries for 78 yards and a rushing touchdown.
Georgia, meanwhile, was shut down offensively. South Carolina's defense held the Bulldogs to just 224 yards of total offense. Murray could not get things going and Georgia's great backfield was contained, as ESPN.com noted:
Georgia was hit in the backfield on 10 of its 36 runs Saturday, including 7-of-17 in the first half. By comparison, South Carolina was contacted behind the line of scrimmage on just four of its 51 runs. The Bulldogs entered the game averaging 3.7 yards before contact per rush. They averaged 1.7 against South Carolina.
Not only did South Carolina contain Georgia offensively, but it also notched the school's biggest win over Georgia in their 65-game rivalry, dating back to 1894.
The astonishing victory sent shockwaves throughout the state of Georgia, which was stunned by the magnitude of the loss.
With Spurrier and his Gamecocks having landed their biggest series victory over the Bulldogs in 2012, they will look to continue the trend in 2013 with another big win when the two teams meet in Athens on Sept. 7.