Menu Close

South Carolina at UGA Preview and Prediction – September 16, 2023

South Carolina at UGA Preview and Prediction – September 16, 2023

SOUTH CAROLINA AT UGA PREVIEW AND PREDICTION – This is personal. I don’t know about you, but there is one distinct memory I have from last year’s game at South Carolina.

The Gamecocks attempted a 4th down conversion which Georgia successfully stopped. Kirby Smart stared at the South Carolina sideline, repeatedly made the first down signal with his arm while shouting “First Down!” I’ll let you fill in the blank on the expletive used afterwards. 

South Carolina head coach, Shane Beamer, lasted as a special teams coordinator for one season with the Bulldogs in 2016-2017.

Related: UGA vs. Ball State Recap

The rumor is that he and Kirby did not see eye to eye on things for whatever reason. Kirby is also known for not running up the score on coaches that he has respect for. The Dawgs beat Carolina by 41 points last year. You get the picture. 


When: 3:30 pm EST, Saturday, September 16

Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.



The Odds






South Carolina

(1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)






(2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)





The Opponent

The Gamecocks came off a scorching hot finish to the ‘22 season with wins over Tennessee and Clemson.

They cooled off in week one with a loss to Drake Maye and their Carolina neighbors to the north in a 31-17 loss. Last week, they beat up on the Furman Paladins in a 47-21 rout where Spencer Rattler threw for 345 yards and 3 touchdowns.

It’s taken Rattler years to mature as a quarterback into the 5-star billing he came into college with. His 700 yards in the first two games suggest he may finally have made his past the poor decisions that have plagued him thus far in his career.

He only had two incompletions last week, which is saying something no matter your opponent. 

South Carolina’s Offensive Line

The Gamecocks gave up nine sacks in the first week against UNC. Their offensive line struggles make Rattler’s performances so far even more impressive.

They will use one or two true freshmen along the offensive line due to injuries at tackle, so don’t be surprised if there are a couple of false starts caused by the crowd noise.

They lack a true running back and have not been able to run the ball with any consistent success so far this year.

Former QB/WR Dakereon Joyner is their leading rusher with a whopping 65 yards on 23 attempts. The next running back getting the most carries is Juju McDowell, who is averaging 1.3 yards/carry so far.

This team only averaged 2.8 yards rushing against Furman. I know the Dawgs haven’t been thrilled with their offensive line play nor their running backs. The Gamecocks situation is even worse than two of the Dawgs biggest weaknesses so far. 

The Receiver Room

Again, similar to UGA, the Gamecocks strength on offense is in their receiver room.

Xavier Legette has made a significant jump forward so far this season after a 2 touchdown performance in the Gator Bowl last year. Two games into his 5th season and he has surpassed his receiving total from the previous year. He is averaging 19.7 YPR so far this year. Legette brings a combination of size (6’3, 227lbs) and speed that is hard to defend and can be a threat on special teams too. 

Juice Wells is a very talented receiver who has been limited so far this year due to injury.

However, Joyner indicated this week that he would return this week, “I think it’s a very strong receiver group…gonna start to get Juice going again now that he’s more healthy.” We’ll see if his foot is 100% healthy on Saturday. If Juice can get loose, it’ll provide Carolina with a 1-2 punch with him and Legette that UGA will struggle against. 

A Defensive Debacle

Defensively, the Gamecocks have given up plenty of points through two games.

Their linebacker core has performed inconsistently. Against Furman, this led to coughing up 60 yards on 4 tunnel screens, which historically Mike Bobo loves to call.

The secondary has struggled to get off of blocks on the perimeter. Georgia’s perimeter blocking has been poor, so it’ll be interesting to see if Georgia is able to block better this week and capitalize on this weakness. The defensive line isn’t much to write home about either. 

Special Teams Guru

In terms of special teams, South Carolina really does have Kirby’s respect.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to Shane Beamer’s special teams fakes. He’s found some success against Georgia with those in the past and will almost certainly look to pull some kind of trickery to steal a possession in the game. 


The Dawgs will be missing some key pieces in this game. I do not expect last year’s leading receiver, Ladd McConkey, to recover from his back injury in time for this game. He is day-to-day but his injury has shown a propensity to flare up at any time.

Safety, Javon Bullard, was not able to practice earlier this week, so I doubt his ankle will be ready to go.

David Daniel-Sisavanh will fulfill his role, as will Dan Jackson. RB Daijun Edward should see his first action of the year so far and I think Georgia will experience a boost in the running game with his presence. Reserve O Lineman Austin Blaske will likely miss this game with an MCL sprain. 

The Carson Beck Show

Carson Beck will get his first true SEC experience this week and I think Georgia will begin to open up the offense.

Beck has started slow the last two weeks, and I think the crowd and energy from this game will get to him early. He may be a bit erratic to begin the game, and I bet Georgia tries to get him settled in quickly.

Georgia’s offensive line has struggled so far and while South Carolina’s d line doesn’t present a huge challenge, the overall athleticism will be a step up compared to the competition faced so far.

However, I expect Georgia to answer the call. LT Earnest Greene is going through his growing pains and I think he’ll continue to struggle some. However, I think this game begins Georgia’s return to a more balanced offensive attack and a slightly improved rushing performance. 

RaRa Receiver Number One

Look for RaRa Thomas to contribute more this week.

Assuming Ladd is still out, Georgia needs a true X receiver to open up the offense. Thomas has been learning the offense, but now is beginning to settle into the calls and checks in the playbook.

He’s got the talent, he just needs to be able to feel comfortable enough to play as fast and as physical as Georgia needs him to. He’s close and I think he may show some of that this weekend. 

Last year the Dawgs feasted on the Gamecock defense by using a lot of pre-snap motion and fakes.

They’d get the defense all flowing one direction only to have Brock Bowers or Ladd McConkey sneak out the opposite side for an easy catch and run. I expect a lot more creativity in the play calling this week, but not the same degree of execution. 

Defensively, Rattler will be one of the best QB’s, if not the best QB, that UGA faces this year.

While Georgia will likely create some havoc plays by pressuring him, I think Rattler will still find a way to show he’s matured as a player. SCAR will want to get the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible to avoid the speed UGA will put on the field in 3rd down scenarios. 

FUN My Pillow


Like I said at the beginning, it’s personal. Bobo, Muschamp, Kirby, Beamer, all have ties and I think Kirby really wants to send a message.

He’s yet to lose to one of his former coordinators, and has an average score of somewhere around 42-6 in those games. This game will reflect that UGA has taken a slight step back and South Carolina has taken a slight step forward. The latest line is 27.5 points. Dawgs barely cover and Mekhi Mews provides a spark again for the UGA offense. 

UGA 45 – SCAR 17

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *