Georgia running back D'Andre Swift breaks away from South Carolina defender T.J. Brunson for a touchdown Saturday, Sept 8, 2018, in Columbia. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Strong second half propels Georgia to victory against South Carolina

The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs (2-0) beat the No. 24-ranked Gamecocks 41-17, sending more than half of the announced crowd of 83,140 to the Williams-Brice Stadium exits by the end of the third quarter. 

Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm shook off a first-half interception as the Bulldogs pulled away. Fromm was 6-of-6 passing for 115 yards in the third quarter as the Bulldogs expanded their 20-10 halftime lead to 41-10 by the start of the fourth quarter. 

Photos: Bulldogs pull away from South Carolina

Fromm was 15-of-18 passing for 194 yards with a touchdown and interception before being replaced by freshman Justin Fields in the fourth quarter. 

Georgia was forced to turn to a true freshman at left tackle when starter Andrew Thomas left the game in the third quarter with an undisclosed lower body injury. Cade Mays replaced him for the remainder of the game. 

South Carolina (1-1) built up a great deal of hype and fanfare entering what some referred to as a trend upset pick. 

Georgia’s team speed was ultimately overwhelming. Junior receiver Mecole Hardman did much of the damage, catching six passes for 103 yards and a touchdown, in addition to a 30-yard screen reception that was ruled a rush. 

The Bulldogs had 226 yards of offense in the third quarter on 21 plays. Georgia broke the Gamecocks’ will at the end of the third quarter, going on a nine-play, 86-yard TD drive that featured just one pass play before Brian Herrien scored on a 15-yard run up the middle. 

Georgia had a 20-10 halftime lead over South Carolina despite the Gamecocks out-gaining them 191 yards to 183.

South Carolina utilized a hurry-up offense throughout the first half. The quicker pace enabled the Gamecocks to get 46 offensive snaps in the first half, also thanks in part to a 5 of 10 third-down conversion rate. 

Hummer: Georgia asserts dominance in SEC East

Still, the Bulldogs were up at half, a 44-yard field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship as time expired providing the 20-10 margin. 

Georgia jumped to a quick 7-0 lead when cornerback Deandre Baker returned an interception for an apparent touchdown. Baker dropped the ball before scoring, however, so linebacker Juwan Taylor was credited with the touchdown, having picked up the ball in the end zone. 

Tailback D’Andre Swift made it 14-0 moments later, capping a 4-play, 76-yard drive less than four minutes into the game. 

South Carolina scored on its ensuing drive. Receiver Deebo Samuel took a handoff and ran wide before throwing to a wide-open Bryan Edwards in the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown. 

Georgia returns to action next Saturday against Middle Tennessee (0-1) at 7:15 p.m. in Sanford Stadium. The Blue Raiders (0-1) played Tennessee-Martin (0-1) on Saturday night.

Plus: Georgia Tech is outscored by South Florida

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