University of Georgia
Location: Athens, Georgia
Head Coach: Mark Richt (91-27) 10th season
2010 record: 1-0 defeated UL-L 55-7
2009 game against USC: UGA victory 41-37 in Athens
Famous Alumni: Kim Basinger (Actor) Ryan Seacrest (American Idol), REM, John Bell (lead signer of Wide Spread Panic)
UGA offense vs. USC defense: Players to watch for Georgia that could play an important roll as to weather the Dawgs have success against Carolina's defense. Redshirt freshman Arron Murray, who looked sharp last week against UL-L, passing for 160 yards with 3 passing TD's and one rushing touchdown. He might be a redshirt freshman, but he has the talent to be a star in the SEC. Behind Murray, Georgia has a dynamic duo of running backs in Caleb King and Carlton Thomas. Both should get plenty of carries this weekend against USC. The biggest questions for Georgia will be what to do without South Carolina native and UGA super star WR A.J. Green. Green has been suspended by the NCAA for 4 games for selling his bowl jersey to an agent this off season. Look for Tavarres King to be the top WR for the dawgs this weekend in Green's absents. King did not play last weekend due to a suspension for alcohol-related charges.
Match up to watch: UGA O-line vs. Carolina's front 7: Most would say that Gilmore vs. Green would be the best match up, but since Green will be watching, there is no match up between the two. UGA's o-line only gave up 12 sacks last season, compared to the 37 the Gamecocks O-line gave up last season. The Gamecocks defense did not show to many blitz packages last weekend against Southern Miss, allowing the Golden Eagles to pass for 337 yards. If the Gamecocks want to win this game, they will have to put pressure on Murray early and often. Better play from the linebackers and interior line will be a must if USC wants to slow down the Dawg's offense on Saturday.
UGA defense vs. Carolina offense: The Gamecock offense looked great last week against USM, but Georgia's defense looked even better. The bulldogs held UL-L to only 128 total yards on offense, and gave up just one touchdown. Georgia's new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has switched the defensive scheme from a 4-3 last season to a 3-4 this season. So far it has worked, but I have a feeling Spurrier will have the Gamecock's prepared to play against a 3-4.
Players on defense for the dogs that might slow down the USC offense are Brandon Boykin and Justin Houston. Boykin, a speedy corner that had 3 interceptions last season, might only be 5-10 but has a 37 inch vertical that can make up for his height mismatch against bigger USC wide receivers. You might also remember Boykin from last years game, as he returned a 100 yard kick off return to beat the Gamecocks in Athens. Justin Houston is a hybrid outside linebacker and defensive end, who will have a key roll in stopping USC's rushing attack. Houston a 2nd team All SEC last season had 7.5 sacks and 39 tackles. He will move around in the 3-4 defense between the end and linebacker position, so if Garcia isn't careful, he could have a big game on Saturday.
Match up to watch: USC wide receivers vs. UGA Defensive Backs. USC will look to establish the run early, but the difference makers will be the wide receivers, just like last week. Look for Coach Spurrier to exploit the size different between Carolina's receivers and the smaller Georgia secondary. Jeffrey, Gurley and Moore should all have good games, as well as the speedy Sanders. Georgia only gave up one passing TD last week, but the TD pass was a 60 yard bomb, where starting safety Bacarri Rambo was burned on the play. Granted USC has a better passing game then UL-L, so this should be an advantage for USC.
What might happen: Just like every other UGA vs. USC game, except last year, it will be a low scoring game. The defense for both teams will set the tempo early. Look for UGA to run the ball more often the not, as Carolina will try to put pressure on Murray early to disrupt the passing game. Missing A.J. Green will not help matters either. In the end, I think Carolina's offense will be the key, if the o-line can give Garcia time to throw the ball, USC's wide outs should have good games. Lattimore and Miles will be a factor, but not like last week. Georgia's biggest advantage will be special teams, Drew Butler and Blair Walsh are both outstanding kickers that can change the out come of a game with one kick. Walsh booted a 52 yard field goal last week, and has the leg to kick one from further out then that. Butler the returning Ray Guy Award winner for best punter in the nation, is a favorite to win the award again this year. USC will have to be ready to return punts this week, as USC did not return one last week.
Prediction: UGA 17 USC 24