Georgia Uses Balanced Rushing Attack to Blow Out South Carolina 41-17

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2018

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 08:  Mecole Hardman #4 of the Georgia Bulldogs jumps over J.T. Ibe #29 of the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

No. 3 Georgia cruised past No. 24 South Carolina, 41-17, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina, on Saturday afternoon. 

Jake Fromm captained Georgia's offense and completed 15 of 18 passes for 194 yards, one touchdown and one interception before Justin Fields took over in garbage time. Georgia also torched South Carolina on the ground with 52 carries for 271 yards and three touchdowns. 

Conversely, South Carolina signal-caller Jake Bentley went 30-of-47 for 269 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions as the Gamecocks failed to establish a reliable ground game against Georgia's dominant defensive front. 

Georgia Offense Will Run Through Loaded Backfield

Fromm was lauded for his performance as a true freshman last year, and for good reason. 

He displayed an advanced command of Georgia's offense to the tune of 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions, and his poise under pressure was commendable for a player who was thrust onto the national stage early. 

However, Fromm wasn't a gunslinger then, and he's not one now. 

As was the case a year ago with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel in the fold, Fromm is best served as a high-caliber game manager given the depth and breadth of talent in Georgia's backfield. 

That much was evident again Saturday when the combination of D'Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield shouldered the load behind a group of road-grading technicians while Fromm picked his spots against South Carolina's secondary. 

Swift finished with 12 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown, and Holyfield cranked out 79 yards and a score on nine carries to stabilize the Bulldogs' scheme.

As if that weren't enough, Brian Herrien tacked on seven carries for 45 yards and a touchdown on a day when Georgia averaged 5.2 yards per carry.  

That three-headed monster should continue to serve as the offense's metronome, attract extra defenders down in the box and set up Fromm for bigger gains through the air. 


Gamecocks Must Better Utilize Deebo Samuel to Thrive on Offense

If you take it from Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, then South Carolina has a gem in wide receiver Deebo Samuel. 

"He's probably the most underrated player in all of college football. I don't know that everyone in the country knows what the SEC knows about Deebo Samuel. The guy is phenomenal," Smart said earlier in the week, per DawgNation.com's Connor Riley 

"Even two years ago he gave us fits in that game and then you turn around and say he has a tough injury he has to deal with, but before he had that injury he had some of the most electric kickoff returns in the country."

On Saturday, it was easy to forget Samuel was on the field. 

While Georgia did an admirable job of scheming for Samuel, South Carolina couldn't feed him the ball on a regular basis. 

The result: six catches for 33 yards, with his lone highlight coming in the form of a touchdown toss to Bryan Edwards on a trick play: 

That dink-and-dunk production won't cut it.

Instead, Samuel needs the be schemed into space so his speed can shine—whether that means forcing him the ball on jet sweeps, bubble screens or deep-route concepts. 

Against defenses that don't wield as much speed as Georgia, executing that plan should be accompanied by far less resistance. 


Mecole Hardman Can Unlock Another Dimension in UGA Offense

Last season, it would have been fair to be unfamiliar with Georgia wide receiver Mecole Hardman. 

The speedster managed 25 receptions for 418 yards and four touchdowns, and it wasn't until the national title game that he experienced a true "welcome to prime-time moment" following an 80-yard touchdown hookup with Fromm. 

Now, there's no excuse for Hardman to miss the national radar—or that of opposing defenses. 

David Pollack @davidpollack47

Georgia’s wide receivers are better than they have been in long time. Speed! Playmaking ability! Size! Hardman going to have a HUGE year. He can do it all.

After erupting for a 59-yard touchdown in Week 1 against Austin Peay, Hardman shredded South Carolina's secondary to the tune of 103 yards, including a 34-yard jaunt to the end zone: 

Hardman also showed off his blazing straight-line speed when he took a lateral 30 yards down the right sideline before hurdling a defender: 

As all of that evidence suggests, Hardman is the kind of explosive playmaker who can transform the complexion of Georgia's offense. 

And with the running game sure to garner its fair share of attention, Hardman should be presented with winnable one-on-one opportunities that will allow his profile to rise even more as the season progresses. 


What's Next? 

Georgia will take aim at 3-0 at home next Saturday against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. South Carolina, in search of a rebound, is set to host the Marshall Thundering Herd before hitting the road for SEC tilts against Vanderbilt and Kentucky. 


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