Many Gamecock fans felt after a second consecutive loss to Kentucky that the sky was falling. I’m here to tell the Gamecock nation to hold on and step back from the ledge. There was far too much hype surrounding the Gamecocks from the fan base prior to the season. Thoughts of returning to 10 or 11 wins were premature.
Remember, South Carolina plays in the SEC, and in the highly underrated East. Kentucky has made great strides under Mark Stoops, and is no longer a permanent basement dweller.
We’re not going to discuss this loss too much though. Like the Gamecocks, we must look ahead and forge a path that we hope leads to the resurrection of the 2015 season. This weekend, South Carolina will travel to Athens to face the perennial East contender, Georgia.
The prognosticators in Vegas believe the Bulldogs will win in big fashion. Many fans plan to cover their eyes or look away as if there were a bulldog actually shredding a chicken. Folks, I’m going to give you some hope.
The Gamecocks, regardless of how good or bad they are, always play well against Georgia. In fact, they have won four of the last five meetings with the Bulldogs. Even during the awful tailspin of 2014, the Gamecocks managed to get the win. For some reason, when Mark Richt and Steve Spurrier meet, things get competitive. Since 2005, the Gamecocks have outscored Georgia 240-233. That includes a couple of ugly seasons before Spurrier got his team in gear.
The emergence of Perry Orth on Saturday should prove huge for the Gamecocks. This will be his first road game, and it could not come at a much more unfriendly place than Sanford Stadium. He will be nervous, but if the play calling allows him to get any kind of rhythm going, the Gamecocks will move the ball.
The defense in the second half Saturday night was what fans were expecting to see this year. They were solid and forced four straight three-and-outs. Kentucky only managed 72 yards in the second half, most of that coming on their final drive. If South Carolina can play like that at Georgia, it will be another close game.
If Perry Orth can pass as effectively as he did against Kentucky, the running backs should have little problem finding holes. Granted, there are a lot of ifs, but when facing an opponent expected to win going away, that is usually the case.
The Gamecocks are still a talented, quality team and are still capable of a great season. They just have to play the way they’re capable and get out of their own way.
South Carolina and Georgia will kick off Saturday at 6 p.m. in Athens, Ga., and will be televised by ESPN.
James Inabinet is the Customer Service Representative for The Herald Independent and can be reached at email@example.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.