clear
Wednesday November 21st, 2018 5:04AM

The Last Time: Georgia vs. South Carolina

By Brian Stewart Reporter

At last check, Georgia was a 17-point favorite over South Carolina.

I'm hoping the guys over in Vegas know something I don't, because even when the Bulldogs are far superior to the Gamecocks, rarely does it become a blow out. (We'll hit that more in a second.)

Still, I'm sure a lot of these Georgia players are ready to avenge last season's stunning 38-35 loss in Columbia.

But for now, we'll take a dip into the past.

The last time...

1) These teams met:

It's a game Georgia fans want to forget, and one that became dubiously known as "First and Gurley."

South Carolina led 38-28 with 7:01 to play when Bulldog FB Quayvon Hicks punched it in from a yard out to bring the visitors within three.

Three plays later Gamecock QB Dylan Thompson threw an interception to Georgia CB Damian Swann, who returned it to the six yard line. It was then pushed to the three on a penalty.

The Bulldogs opted for a play-action pass on first down in lieu of sticking it into No. 3's belly, but QB Hutson Mason was flagged for intentional grounding as they tried to setup a screen. It effectively killed the drive as Georgia failed to score.

Marshall Morgan's potential game-tying kick sailed wide, and the Fighting Spurriers somehow hung on for a 38-35 win.

2) Georgia won by 17 points:

I go to this stat because that's where the betting line stands. I'm not encouraging bets one way or the other, but here's the fact.

The Bulldogs haven't beaten the Gamecocks by 17 points since an 18-0 shutout in 2006.

Yes, Willie Martinez coached the defense that gave Steve Spurrier only his second career shutout.

Georgia ran the ball 39 times for 198 yards that night in Columbia, getting a touchdown from RB Danny Ware.

The score might have been even more lopsided had true freshman QB Matt Stafford not thrown three interceptions on the night.

Since then, the Bulldogs' margin of victory in their wins (2008, '09 and '13) have been by 7, 4 and 11 points, respectively.

3) The winner of this game WASN'T ranked:

We have to go all the way back to 2007 for the last un-ranked winner of this game, when un-ranked South Carolina upset No. 12 Georgia 16-12 in Athens.

RB Knowshon Moreno ran for 104 yards in the loss, and the Bulldogs ultimately rebounded to finish No. 2 in the nation with an 11-2 record.

Unfortunately, like 2014, the loss to an eventual .500 team kept Georgia out of the SEC Championship. (More on that in a minute.)

Since then, every winner has been ranked in this game. The highest ranked was No. 2 Georgia's win in 2008, the lowest, No. 24 South Carolina in 2014.

4) Georgia played against a QB making his first start:

Here's another interesting one. The Bulldogs are actually playing against their second first-time starter of the season.

UL Monroe QB Garrett Smith—a redshirt freshman from Texas—made his first career start in week one Between the Hedges, where the Dogs won 51-14 in a weather-shortened game.

For South Carolina, former walk-on Perry Orth will likely make his first career start.

That's two-of-three games this year that will be against first time starters, and the way the injury bug bites sometimes, there could be more.

5) South Carolina lost to Georgia and Kentucky in the same season:

This hasn't happened since the Gamecocks went winless in 1999, Lou Holtz's first season as head coach in Columbia.

Their 0-11 season featured a 24-9 loss to the Bulldogs and a 30-10 loss to the Wildcats.

Since then, they've either swept the two schools (2000-01, '07 and '11-12), beaten UGA/lost to UK (2010, '14) or beaten UK/lost to UGA (2002-06, '08, '09, '13).

The Wildcats knocked off the Gamecocks last week. Whether that's good or bad news ... we'll see.

But a Bulldog win would break a streak that's been going since Y2K had everyone all freaked out.

BONUS: When did Georgia beat Vanderbilt and South Carolina in the same season?

This one sort of dawned on me as I was researching.

The Bulldogs haven't swept the Commodores and Gamecocks since 2009.

Georgia, led by redshirt senior Joe Cox at QB, first knocked off South Carolina 41-37 in Athens, then took down Vandy 34-10 in Nashville in October.

Since then, the Bulldogs' only win against the Gamecocks came in 2013, a year that also saw their only loss to the Commodores 31-27.

Fortunately for Georgia, though, they haven't been swept by these two schools since 1958.

6) South Carolina lost more than three games against the SEC East:

The Gamecocks are already in the hole 0-1 with their loss to Kentucky, and a loss to Georgia would put them in serious danger of hitting and passing three conference losses from its eastern brothers.

That hasn't happened since—again—that 0-11 season in 1999, when South Carolina finished 0-5 against the East.

They lost to Georgia 24-9, to Kentucky 30-10, to Vanderbilt 11-10, to Tennessee 30-7 and to (Spurrier) Florida 20-3.

Since then, the East has never been able to notch more than three wins against the Gamecocks, which happened in 2002-04, 2006-09 and 2014.

South Carolina still must play road games against Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee and home games against Vanderbilt and Florida.

None of those—save for possible Vandy—looks like a gimme.

7) Georgia-South Carolina DIDN'T feature a turnover:

The Bulldogs are 37-2 under Mark Richt when they don't turn the ball over, but only 12-15 when they don't force one at all.

Based on those odds, Georgia fans would be okay if this became the first game since ... well, I don't actually know ... that didn't feature a turnover between these clubs.

What I do know is that this hasn't happened since South Carolina joined the SEC. Going back to 1991, when USC joined the conference and the two schools started playing annually, one or both of these teams has turned the ball over in every single matchup.

A turnover-less game Saturday would be the first time these two have ever done that as conference foes.

(Thanks to my dad, Chip Stewart, for looking through old media guides and helping me out with this one. The Internet only goes back so far.)

8) This game DIDN'T directly affect the SEC East Champ:

I'll start this out by saying that "directly affect" means that the outcome of the game either featured the eventual division winner, served as a tie-breaker or kept one of the teams from winning the division.

Again, we return to 2009 for the last time this game didn't directly affect the SEC East Champ, when eventual 8-5 Georgia beat eventual 7-6 South Carolina 41-37. Neither team threatened in the East race as 12-0 Florida ran away with the crown.

Since that day though, every time these two teams have met, it has directly affected the SEC East Champ:

2010 South Carolina beat Georgia 17-6 on its way to its first SEC East title.
2011 South Carolina beat eventual SEC East champ Georgia 45-42.
2012 South Carolina beat eventual SEC East champ Georgia 35-7.
2013 Georgia beat South Carolina 41-30, which kept the Gamecocks a game behind eventual East champion Missouri, which USC also beat.
2014 South Carolina beat Georgia 38-35, which kept the Bulldogs a game behind eventual East champion Missouri, which UGA also beat. (Sound familiar?)

We'll see if this trend continues.

9) South Carolina beat Georgia on two out of three trips to Athens:

The last time this happened was ... never!

The Gamecocks have never taken two out of three road trips on any given stretch in this 67-game series.

They came close a few times, with the Bulldogs winning 5-0 in 1900 and losing 17-0 in 1903; South Carolina also won in Athens in 1979 before falling again on the road 13-10 in 1980.

BUT!

A win Saturday would mark their second win in Athens in three tries, having won in 2011 and lost in 2013.

10) Georgia held four straight opponents under 20 points:

Dating back to the 37-14 win in the Belk Bowl, the Bulldogs have held three straight opponents under 20 points—all of them at exactly 14, remarkably.

A four-game stretch holding opponents under 20 points hasn't happened since the final five games of the 2012 regular season.

Georgia held Florida (9), Ole Miss (10), Auburn (0), Georgia Southern (14) and Georgia Tech (10) under the mark.

In 2014, the Bulldogs held six teams under 20 points (Troy, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Auburn, Charleston Southern and Louisville) but none more than twice in a row.

BONUS: What about South Carolina going five games without breaking 30 on offense?

The Gamecocks haven't been held under 30 points five straight games since ... again, 2009

Spurrier's offense was held under 30 points five straight times as they approached the close of their regular season.

Their only win across the stretch was a 14-10 triumph over Vanderbilt, and included losses to Alabama (20-6), Tennessee (31-13), Arkansas (33-16) and Florida (24-14).

Much like the Georgia defensive stat, this one is on the line, since South Carolina is working on four straight games (dating back to 2014) scoring less than 30 points.

***

That's all we've got for this week.

We'll see how many of these stats come to fruition or get beaten when Spurrier and his minions invade Sanford Stadium.

If you'd like to submit a fact, or have a question for me to research, shoot me an email to Brian.Stewart@JacobsMedia.net or on Twitter @BStewartWDUN!

© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.