The No. 3 ranked Georgia Bulldogs (1-0), led by quarterback Jake Fromm, meet the No. 24 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (1-0), led by quarterback Jake Bentley in a Week 2 NCAA college football game on Saturday, September 8, 2018 (9/8/18) at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina.
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Here’s the AP recap:
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm knew the third-ranked Bulldogs were built to last after their run to last season’s national title game. He believes the rest of the country found that out Saturday.
Fromm threw for 194 yards and a touchdown, all three of Georgia’s latest running combo scored touchdowns and the Bulldogs turned an expected Southeastern Conference showdown into a 41-17 rout over No. 24 South Carolina on Saturday.
“We weren’t going anywhere,” Fromm said. “We’ve worked too hard to stay where we are.”
That was evident at Williams-Brice Stadium, where Georgia (2-0, 1-0 SEC) used dominating offense and suffocating defense to win its fourth straight over the Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1).
“We thought if we were able to run the ball and pound it early, it would take its toll,” coach Kirby Smart said.
Fromm was 15-of-18 passing, including a 34-yard TD pass to Mecole Hardman. D’Andre Swift, Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien looked every bit as effective as NFL runners Nick Chubb and Sony Michel did a year ago in leading Georgia to the College Football Playoff.
Holyfield led the way with 76 yards and a 5-yard score. Swift had a 17-yard TD run, and Herrien piled on with a 15-yard scoring burst in the third quarter as Georgia went up by 31 points. That’s when many in the crowd of 83,140 began to file out in disappointment — a familiar ritual against the Bulldogs.
Cornerback Deandre Baker set the tone on defense early with an interception off a tipped ball in the opening minute that led to a quick, if unconventional, touchdown. Baker let the ball loose before crossing the goal line, but teammate Juwan Taylor picked it up and took it the final yard to complete the 56-yard play.
Baker did not initially realize he came up short. “I just hoped someone on my team picked it up,” he said, smiling.
From there, Georgia’s defense and run game took over — as they have so often against South Carolina. The Bulldogs outrushed South Carolina 271 yards to 54.
When South Carolina had a chance to tie it after Rashad Fenton’s interception deep in Georgia territory, the Bulldogs allowed just a yard on the next four plays. They took over on downs after Bentley’s fourth-down incompletion.
“That was big,” Smart said. “We always talk about putting out the fire on defense after a turnover.”
Georgia rarely let up. South Carolina drove 70 yards to the Bulldogs’ 5 in the fourth quarter before safety J.R. Reed’s end-zone interception.
South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley threw for 269 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp was disappointed, especially at his team’s third quarter when Georgia outscored South Carolina 21-0.
“We’ve got a lot of football ahead of us. The big thing you do, we’ve got to be technical. Starting with me,” Muschamp said.
Georgia: With its first significant test complete, Georgia again looks like the class of the SEC East and a likely participant in the league’s title game. The Bulldogs’ most challenging league games are against West opponents — at LSU on Oct. 13 and against Auburn on Nov. 11.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks hoped a strong showing against Georgia would prove they belonged near the top of the SEC. South Carolina will try to regroup against Marshall at home before resuming SEC play.
Georgia strengthened its spot in the polls by easily putting away a ranked opponent. South Carolina’s first stay in the polls since September of 2014 will be a short one.
South Carolina defensive end D.J. Wonnum did not play because of an ankle injury sustained against Coastal Carolina last week. Wonnum was in sweats and had his leg elevated on a scooter during pre-game warmups.
Georgia returns home to face Middle Tennessee next week.
South Carolina plays its third straight home game to start the season when Marshall comes to town next week.
Here’s what you need to know:
What: NCAA football, Week 2
When: Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C.
Time: 3:30 p.m. Eastern
Line: Georgia 10 (Over/under 56./5)
Here are some things to watch during the second week of the Southeastern Conference football season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 3 Georgia at No. 24 South Carolina. It’s an early-season matchup between two teams who are among the favorites to win the SEC’s Eastern Division. Georgia has dominated the series over the past few seasons, winning the past three games by at least 14 points. The Bulldogs have hovered around a 10-point favorite for Saturday’s game, but the Gamecocks will enjoy home field advantage at Williams-Brice Stadium.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: Texas AM running back Trayveon Williams vs. Clemson defensive line. Williams ran for 240 yards and three touchdowns in a season-opening blowout of Northwestern State. He will face a much tougher challenge Saturday against a Clemson defensive line that features three Associated Press preseason All-America selections. Christian Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell were first-team selections, while Dexter Lawrence made the second team.
NUMBERS GAME: No. 25 Florida’s 31 consecutive wins over Kentucky represent the fourth-longest streak in an uninterrupted series in NCAA history. Notre Dame won 43 straight over Navy from 1964-2006, Nebraska beat Kansas 36 straight times from 1969-2004 and Oklahoma had 32 straight wins over Kansas State from 1937-68. … The SEC has seven teams in this week’s Top 25 , its highest total since Oct. 16, 2016. The SEC’s ranked teams are No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia, No. 7 Auburn, No. 11 LSU, No. 18 Mississippi State, No. 24 South Carolina and No. 25 Florida. … The SEC went 13-1 in the opening week of the season. The only SEC team to lose was Tennessee, which fell 40-14 to No. 14 West Virginia. … Mississippi junior-college transfer Scottie Phillips’ 204-yard rushing outburst against Texas Tech was the highest total ever for any Ole Miss running back making his debut performance. It marked the 10th time an Ole Miss running back has gained over 200 yards in a game.
UPSET WATCH: No. 18 Mississippi State at Kansas State. The Bulldogs are up to a 91/2-point favorite over Kansas State, which makes some sense considering Mississippi State’s 63-6 win over Stephen F. Austin and Kansas State’s way-too-close 27-24 vctory over South Dakota. Still, that’s a big spread in a Power Five game and Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald will be playing his first game of the season after missing the opener because of a suspension.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Kentucky RB Benny Snell Jr: Kentucky’s hopes of ending its 31-game losing streak in its annual series with Florida likely depend on a big performance from its best player. Snell ran for 125 yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening 35-20 victory over Central Michigan after rushing for over 1,000 yards each of his first two years at Kentucky. Florida limited Snell to 59 yards on 14 carries last season.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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