South Carolina and Georgia are ready to move on after Saturday night's game at Williams-Brice Stadium, and for very different reasons.
The Gamecocks, who throttled the Bulldogs 35-7, must quickly turn their attention to this week's game at LSU. South Carolina vaulted to No. 3 Sunday in the Associated Press and USA Today polls, its highest ranking since November 1984, when the Gamecocks got to No. 2 for one week.
"We've got some good leaders and some guys who have set their goals high," Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday. "You go one game at a time, but you also look down the road. After LSU, we know Florida is down the road and Tennessee is down the road.
"If we're going to have a big year, our only chance is for the team to be really prepared to play."
While the Gamecocks (6-0) try to defeat the No. 9 Tigers in Baton Rouge for the first time since 1994, the Bulldogs (5-1) have an open date before visiting Kentucky on Oct. 20. Georgia dropped to No. 14 in the AP poll and No. 12 in the USA Today poll.
The off week will give Bulldogs players time to rest, but there is the downside of an extensive wait before trying to remove the bad taste from what transpired in Columbia.
"It's going to be tough, but I think we've got kids who are made up the right way, and I expect them to come out and respond to work," Bulldogs offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "That's the only thing we can do. We just got our tails kicked, and we've got to regroup and go to work."
Said tailback Todd Gurley: "We're going to keep working hard, and then we're going to get some rest. When we come out to play Kentucky, we're going to be ready and pumped."
Getting pumped for Commonwealth Stadium isn't easy these days, as Saturday's announced crowd at the Kentucky-Mississippi State game was 49,498.
The Bulldogs had climbed into the top five for the first time since 2008 before being throttled by the Gamecocks, an obvious blow to Georgia's hopes of residing among the national elite. Georgia is now 3-1 in SEC East play, trailing South Carolina (4-0) and Florida (4-0).
"We've got to make sure that we don't get down on ourselves," guard Chris Burnette said. "This is just one game. We can't go back and fix it, so we've got to keep going with what we have."
Georgia went from averaging 48.2 points and 536 yards a game to 41.3 and 484. Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray fell from No. 3 to No. 16 nationally in efficiency after an 11-for-31, 109-yard evening, and Gurley (95.83 yards per game) is now third among SEC rushers behind Florida's Mike Gillislee (109.6) and Mississippi State's LaDarius Perkins (99.8).
The Bulldogs are allowing 373.8 yards a game, nearly 100 yards more than last season's 277.2-yard average.
"It's been tough, because being a veteran defense, we don't expect to give up anything," cornerback Sanders Commings said. "We've just got to correct our mistakes."
Quarterback Connor Shaw completed 5 of 7 passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns on South Carolina's first two possessions. He attempted just three passes the rest of the way.
"Our defense was playing so well," Spurrier said, "and we seem to have a pretty good record when Marcus [Lattimore] carries the ball over 20 times. It seemed like a good idea to let him run the ball and try to run the clock down a bit."
Odds and ends
Georgia head coach Mark Richt said Sunday that Hutson Mason, who is redshirting this season, would have played at South Carolina had Murray gotten hurt. ... The Bulldogs will work Tuesday through Thursday this week. ... Richt does not anticipate any changes on the offensive line, which had performed well until Saturday. ... Spurrier on how pleased he was with the loud crowd: "Jadeveon Clowney said he got a good jump because the quarterback had to tap the center on the butt before the snap."
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...