ATHENS, Ga. -- After rewatching Georgia’s 35-7 loss to South Carolina online, I can’t say there was much there that wasn’t evident while watching it live.
The key to the game was that Georgia’s offensive line couldn’t handle South Carolina up front, which shut down the running game and eventually led to Aaron Murray unraveling at quarterback and finishing the night 11-for-31 for 109 yards and one interception.
South Carolina was excellent on its first two possessions and then took the air out of the ball, but it didn’t matter much what the Gamecocks did offensively after the first 10 minutes. Georgia had no good answer for the Gamecocks’ defensive front and Jadeveon Clowney in particular, as the star defensive end ran roughshod over Bulldogs left tackle Kenarious Gates all night.
Instead of rehashing a bunch of details from the game, I thought we might use most this space today to review, play by play, what happened each time Murray dropped back to pass. I think it explains what happened in this game as well as anything else I could do. So let’s get to it:
1. Second-and-12 at South Carolina 34. Clowney rushes up middle, picked up by Todd Gurley and is at Murray’s feet as he throws. Kelcy Quarles deflects throw high into air and DeVonte Holloman intercepts pass in front of a diving Murray.
2. First-and-10 at UGA 28. Clowney pushes Gates back toward Murray, who throws high and incomplete to Rantavious Wooten.
3. Third-and-8 at UGA 30. Bad snap by David Andrews. Murray dribbles it, picks up and throws incomplete to Tavarres King. Not a bad throw. Looked like it could have been caught, but Victor Hampton breaks up pass.
4. Second-and-17 at UGA 18. Quick screen pass to Wooten complete for 15-yard gain.
5. Third-and-2 at UGA 33. Shotgun. Quick pass to Marlon Brown for 11-yard gain.
6. Third-and-10 at UGA 44. Shotgun. Overthrows Malcolm Mitchell on deep ball, faces heavy pressure from Clowney.
8. Second-and-8 at UGA 11. Pass interference on South Carolina after incomplete pass to King. Clowney destroys Gates and hurdles right over Marshall before hitting Murray as he throws.
9. Second-and-11 at UGA 25. Clowney blows past Gates and Marshall misses chip block on him, sacks Murray for 6-yard loss.
10. First-and-10 at UGA 19. Play-action rollout pass complete to Merritt Hall for 9-yard gain
11. Second-and-10 at UGA 33. Quick screen to Brown, who drops for incompletion. Might have had a decent gain on the edge if caught.
12. Third-and-10 at UGA 33. Shotgun. Completion to King for 16 yards and first down. Nice play.
13. First-and-10 at UGA 49. Quick screen to Wooten. Dropped for incompletion.
14. Third-and-2 at SC 43. Completion to Mitchell for 12 yards. Clowney gets close by hurdling a diving Gates, but Dallas Lee picks him off in time for Murray to throw.
15. Third-and-10 at SC 31. Hits back-shoulder throw to Mitchell for 27-yard gain to SC 4. Probably Murray’s best throw of the game. Holloman blitzes and is in Murray’s face as he throws.
16. Third-and-goal at SC 2. Shotgun pass incomplete to Mitchell. Hampton breaks up in end zone.
17. Fourth-and-goal at SC 2. Shotgun. Complete to Wooten at goal line, fails to get into end zone through Swearinger, Shaq Wilson. Well defended by South Carolina.
18. First-and-10 at SC 47. Shotgun. Underthrows deep ball to Wooten, who has beaten Jimmy Legree. Legree recovers and tips ball away from Wooten at last second near SC goal line.
19. Third-and-11 at SC 48. Shotgun. Steps up into pocket and has time to throw, but overthrows an open Brown deep down middle.
And that’s it for the first half. Murray was not horrible, but the rush has clearly started to affect his passing by this point. The last two incompletions -- to Wooten and Brown -- were probably the point where the game became a lost cause. Georgia’s defense held after the offense failed to score at the goal line, but then Murray and company couldn’t do anything with a drive that started inside Gamecocks territory and it went to halftime as a 21-0 game. Murray was 8-for-17 for 93 yards at halftime and the running game had produced 18 yards on 17 carries.
Now let’s pick up with the second half:
20. Second-and-1 at UGA 34. Holloman fights through Brown to nearly intercept quick screen to Wooten.
21. First-and-10 at UGA 35. Wooten dives to catch low screen pass for 5-yard loss.
22. Second-and-15 at UGA 30. Overthrows fullback screen to Hall in flat. Probably a decent gain here if he hits Hall in stride.
24. First-and-10 at UGA 33. Taylor pressures Murray into throwing ball into ground after play-action fake.
25. Second-and-10 at UGA 33. Clowney beats Gates and sacks Murray, who fumbles. Play is blown dead on a false start penalty against Georgia.
26. Second-and-15 at UGA 28. Shotgun. Quick pass to Brown in tight coverage goes incomplete.
27. Third-and-15 at UGA 28. Chaz Sutton blows up Andrews and sacks Murray for 10-yard loss.
28. First-and-10 at UGA 45. Shotgun. Into traffic across middle to King. Incomplete.
29. Third-and-11 at UGA 44. Quick pass to Wooten for 8-yard gain, but short of first down.
30. Fourth-and-3 at SC 48. Shotgun. Overthrows Wooten for turnover on downs.
31. Second-and-3 at UGA 27. Shotgun. Takes snap and runs up middle for 6-yard gain and first down. Might have been a designed run.
32. First-and-25 at UGA 18. Shotgun. Quick throw to Mitchell complete for 13-yard gain.
34. Third-and-12 at UGA 31. Sails pass way over Brown’s head, nearly intercepted by Brison Williams.
35. Second-and-1 at SC 41. Play-action pass incomplete to Rhett McGowan, deflected by Williams.
36. First-and-10 at SC 23. Incomplete on screen pass to Marshall in a crowd at the line of scrimmage. Gerald Dixon Jr. deflects pass.
So there you have it. Considering the success Murray had experienced lately, it’s surprising to see his second-half stat line -- 3-for-14 for 16 yards -- and not be fairly stunned. The Bulldogs simply couldn’t do much of anything against South Carolina’s defensive line and it affected Murray and the skill players greatly.
Between the second-quarter drive when Georgia stalled at the South Carolina 1 and the Bulldogs’ garbage-time touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, Georgia ran five drives -- resulting in four punts and a turnover on downs -- that totaled 17 yards.
It was that kind of night.