Well, at least Dawg fans won’t have to spend a lot of time wondering what would’ve happened had A.J. Green been in the game. Green might’ve provided a new dimension for freshman QB Aaron Murray, but he wouldn’t have been able to stop Gamecock RB Marcus Lattimore, who gashed the reshuffled UGA defense to the tune of 182 yards and powered Carolina to a 17-6 win.
After the teams traded scores on their first drives, Georgia’s offense went into a shell, allowing the Gamecocks to take a 14-3 lead into halftime. In the second half, the coaches took the restrictor plate off Murray and let him throw some nice passes, but the momentum turned on a play midway through the third quarter, in which Georgia drove down inside the Carolina 5 only to cough up the ball on a Washaun Ealey fumble just inches from the goal line. Carolina iced the game with 76 seconds left to go on a chip-shot field goal from Spencer Lanning, and that was all she wrote.
Clearly, Todd Grantham’s reclamation project on the Bulldog defense isn’t done yet, as the Dawg front seven tackled poorly against Lattimore nearly all afternoon long. Aaron Murray, however, already looks ready for prime-time. The redshirt freshman avoided any major mistakes — he went 14-of-21 with no picks, and his 192-yard total bested Stephen Garcia’s — and showed poise and leadership under center that, dare I say it, looked almost Peyton Manningesque at times. A frustrating loss, to be sure, but one that still offers reason for hope.