In the minutes following Georgia's 31-14 victory at Vanderbilt early Saturday evening, the Bulldogs weren't exactly basking in euphoria.
Georgia struggled to get going offensively against the Commodores and struggled to close the game defensively. Though it was a triumph, coach Mark Richt sensed the lack of excitement in the visiting locker room.
"We're all perfectionists, and we all want to do it just right," Richt said. "We know when we don't that it bothers us and bothers everybody. I talked to the team after the game and said we've all got to look within ourselves and say, 'What did I do that I could have done better?'
"We're in a business of correction. We're in a business of watching film, critiquing what we do and being gut-level honest about what we see and making it better."
Several hours after Georgia felt a bit bland bout its performance, South Carolina went through a much worse experience. Favored in their Southeastern Conference opener against visiting Kentucky, the Gamecocks stumbled to a 26-22 defeat.
South Carolina trailed 24-7 after a disastrous first half and lost starting quarterback Connor Mitch for four to six weeks to a separated shoulder. The Gamecocks are 5-6 in their past 11 games dating to last September, which followed their sizzling 36-7 run that began in 2011.
"We had a bunch of disappointments last year, too, where we looked to have a wonderful chance to win but didn't," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday. "We've also won some games that we easily could have lost, including our first one (this season, over North Carolina in Charlotte). It seems like every game we have one or two plays that decides the winner.
"We have to put it behind us. It's unfortunate Connor got hurt, but you've got to move on to the next player. That's what we'll try to do."
The Gamecocks are moving on with redshirt junior Perry Orth, who completed 13 of 20 passes for 179 yards with a touchdown and a costly interception against Kentucky. Spurrier said Sunday that backup Lorenzo Nunez, a freshman from Kennesaw, Ga., also could play against the Bulldogs.
On several occasions this summer, Spurrier said his Gamecocks had a chance to attain the double-digit victory totals of their predecessors from 2011 to '13. He did not want to close the door on that thought Sunday.
"We've got to wait and see," Spurrier said. "Obviously our defense had two different halves last night, and our offense just about had two. We'll see if we can piece it all together, because we're not talented enough to play poorly and win."
Georgia won without playing its best Saturday, with the Bulldogs moving up from No. 10 to No.7 in Sunday's Associated Press poll.
"When there were some momentum shifts and some things that looked ominous there for a minute, we could have folded," Richt said, "but we didn't, and that's a good sign."
The Bulldogs opened as 16-point favorites over the Gamecocks, who have won four of the past five games in the series.
Chubb tweaks ankle
Sophomore tailback Nick Chubb rushed 19 times for 189 yards against the Commodores but was noticeably missing from interviews afterward.
"His ankle got a little tweaked, but we don't think it's anything at all," Richt said Sunday afternoon. "I don't even think he'll miss a practice, but for a minute there, we weren't sure."
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.