Georgia entered a game ranked No. 1 for the first time since 2008, and the Bulldogs then fought off pesky South Carolina for a 24-10 victory Saturday at Sanford Stadium in Athens.
The victory, coupled with Kentucky’s loss to Ole Miss on Saturday night, clinched the SEC East title for the Bulldogs (9-0, 6-0 SEC). Georgia will play in the SEC Championship game for the first time since 2012.
This was the Bulldogs’ first close game since defeating Notre Dame 20-19 on Sept. 9.
Georgia is 9-0 for seventh time in school history and the first since 1982, when Georgia finished the regular season 11-0 before the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs lost to No. 2 Penn State 27-23 in the Sugar Bowl.
South Carolina falls to 6-3, and 4-3 in the SEC.
Here are three observations from the game:
A tale of two Jakes
South Carolina’s defense emphasized stopping the run, and Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm kept the defense honest. Fromm was 16-of-22 for 196 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with Javon Wims for a 12-yard touchdown pass with 9:27 to go in the second quarter and with Mecole Hardman for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 9:28 to play in the third quarter.
Both throws were placed where only the Georgia receiver could catch it, each in a tight spot in the end zone. In fact, Wims caught his pass along the sideline, barely getting a foot down in bounds. The play was ruled an incomplete pass before video review led the referees to reverse the call.
Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley kept his team in the game with his feisty passing game. Bentley was 21-of-35 for 227 yards and a touchdown, but he threw two interceptions.
A tale of two running games
The day was a tale of contrasts in the run game. Georgia rushed for 242 yards on 53 carries and a touchdown, while South Carolina ran for only 43 yards on 17 carries. Nick Chubb led Georgia with 102 yards on 20 carries. Sony Michel added 81 yards on 16 carries. Michael scored on an 8-yard run. A.J. Turner led the Gamecocks with 35 yards on eight carries.
Chubb had the 22nd game of his career with 100 or more yards rushing, second in UGA history.
Stats of the day
Georgia finished with 438 yards of offense to 270 for South Carolina. The Bulldogs were 8-for-13 on third-down plays, while the Gamecocks were 4-for-12 in that category. Georgia led in time of possession 38:22 to 21:38.