The South Carolina Gamecocks pulled off a major road upset Saturday, handing the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs their first loss of the season by a final score of 20-17 in double overtime at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia.
After South Carolina kicker Parker White made a 24-yard field goal to give the Gamecocks the lead in the second OT, usually reliable Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 42-yarder to end the game.
South Carolina improved to 3-3 on the season and 2-2 in SEC play, while the Bulldogs fell to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference games. The win marked the Gamecocks' first against a Top Five opponent since beating Missouri in 2013.
Georgia fell despite South Carolina quarterback Ryan Hilinski exiting in the third quarter with a knee injury. Bulldogs junior quarterback Jake Fromm was never able to find his rhythm throughout the game and ended up with 295 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions after entering the game with no interceptions thrown on the season.
The Gamecocks led for nearly the entire second half by virtue of a 53-yard pick-six by cornerback Israel Mukuamu on Fromm with one minute remaining in the second quarter:
South Carolina's seven-point lead held up until late in the fourth quarter since neither team could do much of anything offensively. The Gamecocks were especially hurt by the fact that Hilinski left for good in the third and backup quarterback Dakereon Joyner struggled to move the ball.
The Gamecocks defense stepped up in a big way. 247Sports' Brad Crawford and T.J. Moe of 590 The Fan pointed out that their front seven and secondary were winning the battles against Georgia's offense:
Fromm and the Georgia offense finally woke up late in the fourth quarter, when the junior signal-caller orchestrated a 13-play, 96-yard drive culminating in a six-yard touchdown pass to Demetris Robertson to tie the game with 1:48 remaining:
Rather than going for it on 4th-and-3 on the ensuing drive, the Gamecocks attempted a 57-yard field goal, which White missed. That gave Georgia an opportunity to go for the win, but an illegal shift call knocked it out of field-goal range, and the game went to overtime.
Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice suggested that Georgia should have attempted a 60-yard field goal, but they went for an unsuccessful Hail Mary instead:
Then, in overtime, a folly of errors ensued. Fromm threw his third interception in the first overtime, but South Carolina couldn't capitalize when White missed what would have been a game-winning 33-yard kick.
In the second overtime, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart called a timeout on defense when South Carolina was potentially about to be penalized for delay of game on a 4th-and-1 play. That allowed the Gamecocks to go for it and successfully convert, leading to White's eventual game-winning field goal.
Sam Vecenie of The Athletic condemned some of the poor coaching decisions made by both sides late in the game:
Several factors contributed to the Bulldogs' loss, but Smart and Fromm will likely shoulder the brunt of the blame moving forward.
Fromm is in an especially tough spot since former Georgia quarterbacks Justin Fields and Jacob Eason are excelling since transferring to Ohio State and Washington, respectively, per Sports Talk ATL:
Even with D'Andre Swift rushing for 113 yards and a touchdown, Georgia's running game was largely held in check with a yards-per-carry average of just 4.0 on 43 attempts.
That meant the Bulldogs needed a strong performance from Fromm in order to beat a sub-.500 team at home, and he didn't deliver.
With their College Football Playoff hopes already in dire straits, Georgia will look to bounce back next week when it hosts Kentucky, while South Carolina will attempt to crack the .500 mark when it hosts No. 7 Florida.