published Monday, September 1st, 2014

Georgia with rare rest before facing Gamecocks

Georgia's Todd Gurley, left, breaks away from Clemson's Kyrin Priester to return a kick-off for a touchdown in their game, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in Athens, Ga.
Georgia's Todd Gurley, left, breaks away from Clemson's Kyrin Priester to return a kick-off for a touchdown in their game, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in Athens, Ga.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Perhaps it was Todd Gurley's 100-yard kickoff return Saturday night against Clemson.

Maybe it was his 23-yard touchdown run, his 18-yard scoring scamper or his 51-yard scoring burst. Whatever big play Georgia's junior tailback provided in the 45-21 whipping of the Tigers, the perception has changed for the Sept. 13 meeting between the Bulldogs and South Carolina.

Georgia's throttling occurred two nights after South Carolina opened the Southeastern Conference season with a stunning 52-28 home loss to Texas A&M.

"We're going to hear good stuff for two weeks," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said Saturday night, "and South Carolina is not going to hear much good this week. We've got to keep getting better."

Considering Clemson and Georgia are South Carolina's two biggest rivals, it was no surprise Sunday afternoon that Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier was able to provide an assessment from the night before.

"It was a very close game until the fourth quarter, but then Georgia just smashed them and ran it right down their throats," Spurrier said. "They stopped them completely on defense in the second half, but it was a very close game in the first half. Some of those runs by Gurley -- you wonder how anyone is going to tackle him right now."

The Gamecocks are having to prepare this week for East Carolina, which went 10-3 last season and is led by Shane Carden, the nation's top returning quarterback in completion percentage (70.5).

Georgia, meanwhile, has an open date before its trip to Williams-Brice Stadium. The Bulldogs have not had an off week before facing South Carolina since 2002, when they went to Columbia and prevailed 13-7 behind the heroics of sophomore defensive end David Pollack.

There have been six occasions in the past decade when South Carolina opened its season on a Thursday night and faced the Bulldogs nine days later. The Gamecocks have never had a week off between games leading into the Georgia contest since joining the SEC in 1992.

"I don't know if it will have any effect or not," Spurrier said. "I think we're glad we get a chance to play this week after our performance, and they may want to play as well as they played last night."

South Carolina tailback Mike Davis, who rushed for 1,183 yards last season, is doubtful for this week's game due to bruised ribs.

Georgia defeated the Gamecocks 41-30 last year in Athens, which ended South Carolina's first three-game winning streak in the series.

"The last time we went to South Carolina, we got mauled," Richt said in reference to the 35-7 debacle of 2012. "We've got to do better this time."

Odds and ends

Gurley was named Sunday as the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week. ... Richt said on his Sunday teleconference that junior tailbavck Keith Marshall, who had six carries for 8 yards in his first game since ACL surgery, had his right knee checked out following the game. ... Georgia improved to 42-18-4 all-time against Clemson and has won six of the past seven meetings. ... ESPN analysts Kirk Herbstreit and Mark May believe the Bulldogs should be seeded first if the inaugural four-team playoff started today. ... Richt: "We have played one game. We have a long way to go."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

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 ...

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