As most fans of the University of South Carolina Gamecock football team know all too well, the program has had its share of ups and downs (mostly downs) over the years when it comes to facing the Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers.
South Carolina has lost a combined 126 games against these two programs … while winning just 62. That’s a combined winning percentage of only .303. As the Gamecocks (1-1, 0-0 SEC) prepare to open their Southeastern Conference (SEC) slate against the back-to-back national champions this Saturday, third-year head coach Shane Beamer‘s squad is looking to redeem itself after a brutal loss at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia a year ago.
This season, the Gamecocks will travel to Athens – a place where they have won just nine times in thirty tries.
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Head coach Kirby Smart‘s Bulldogs (2-0, 0-0 SEC) haven’t lost at home since 2019 – against South Carolina. That 20-17 defeat clearly sparked some motivation in the Bulldogs, as they now have a won 20 games in a row at home since that double overtime loss.
That’s the longest home winning streak in the nation …
South Carolina is not unfamiliar with the notion of ending streaks, though. Just last November, the Gamecocks defeated then-No. 8 Clemson 31-30 at Death Valley, ending the Tigers’ 40-game home winning streak.
Is Beamer’s team poised to break yet another home game winning streak against the Bulldogs?
No. The No. 1 Bulldogs are favored by nearly four touchdowns over the unranked Gamecocks – over whom they enjoy a 54-19-2 all-time record. ESPN’s matchup predictor gives the Gamecocks only an 8.2 percent chance to pull off the upset – which some might consider generous under the circumstances.
With that being said, both SEC teams are heading into this weekend’s game with high-scoring home wins under their belts. South Carolina beat Furman 47-21, while Georgia bested Ball State 45-3. This Saturday’s game will be the first conference test for each team this season.
Beamer is preparing his players for what they may face at Sanford Stadium – and his goals for the entire Gamecock team throughout the duration of the game.
“When you play on the road it’s tough, we know it’ll be loud and hostile” Beamer said during a press conference earlier this week. “We need to make sure that what we’re doing from a call standpoint, and offensively, and defensively, and special teams is giving our guys the best chance to be successful early in the game and try to do our best to settle in, and then get better as the game goes.”
Beamer will rely on second-year starting quarterback Spencer Rattler to get his team “settled in.” Rattler has been on fire for South Carolina’s office – throwing for 698 total passing yards and three passing touchdowns. After completing 66.2 percent of his passes in 2022, Rattler has connected on 83.3 percent of his throws so far this year – including a 92.6 percent completion percentage against Furman that nearly broke former quarterback Connor Shaw‘s single-game record.
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By comparison, Georgia quarterback Carson Beck also has three passing touchdowns with a total of 577 total passing yards through two games. The junior from Jacksonville, Florida has helped Georgia’s offense obtain a total of 13 total touchdowns and a total of 945 yards thus far.
Nevertheless, more is expected from the national champs. In a press conference with Dawgs Daily, Smart said that he is looking for improvement amongst his players all over the field – but especially in the trenches on offense.
“What I’m looking for is more consistency in performance for every position group, but also the offensive line – especially with some of the experience we have there,” Smart said.
Saturday’s annual matchup between the two teams will take place at 3:30 p.m. EST this Saturday (September 16, 2023) at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. The game will be televised nationally on CBS with commentators Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst) and Jenny Dell (sideline) calling the action.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Erin Parrott is a Greenville, S.C. native who graduated from J. L. Mann High School in 2021. She is currently a junior at the University of South Carolina majoring in broadcast journalism. Got feedback or a tip for Erin? Email her here.
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