Senior tailback Nick Chubb rushed for over 100 yards and freshman quarterback Jake Fromm passed for 196 yards and two touchdowns to lead the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs past South Carolina, 24-10, Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
Georgia improves to 9-0 this season and a perfect 6-0 against Southeastern Conference opponents. This marks the first time since 1982 that the Bulldogs are 9-0 and the seventh time in school history. The Gamecocks fall to 6-3 overall, 4-3 in the SEC.
Georgia will officially play in Atlanta on Dec. 2. With the Bulldogs win over South Carolina and Kentucky’s loss to Ole Miss, Georgia clinched the SEC East division title and a chance to play in the SEC championship game.
This is the first time Georgia has played in the conference title game since 2012, when the Bulldogs suffered a last-second loss that presumably kept them out of the national championship game
The Bulldogs' defense, ranked third nationally in scoring defense, continued its impressive run and held South Carolina to just 43 yards rushing and 270 total on the day. Junior linebacker Roquan Smith led Georgia with nine tackles, while J.R. Reed and Malkom Parrish each recorded interceptions Saturday evening.
"The team has done a good job," head coach Kirby Smart said. "We'll have to continue to do that. The noise will get louder and the teams will get better and everyone will give us their best shot. It's about how we prepare, so we've got to focus on that first. It makes the game easier on Saturday if we make it difficult on them during the week."
The Bulldogs started the game with an onside kick, which South Carolina recovered at the 50-yard line. The Gamecocks could not take advantage as the Georgia defense held and USC missed a 46-yard field goal wide right.
After a fumble by Terry Godwin on Georgia's first offensive possession, the Bulldogs finally got on the board late in the first quarter. With Fromm lined up wide right and Sony Michel behind center, Michel took the snap and ran it in from eight yards out to put his team up 7-0 with 2:21 left in the opening quarter.
South Carolina had the answer on its first possession of the second quarter as Jake Bentley hit Bryan Edwards to cap off a 10-play, 75-yard drive and even the score at 7-7.
The Bulldogs answered on the next possession when Fromm connected with a tip-toeing Javon Wims on the sideline to put the home team up 14-7.
The Bulldogs rushed for 124 yards and passed for 126 in the first half. The Bulldogs have now outscored their opponents 97-17 in the first quarter this year.
A 14-7 lead at the half ballooned to 21-7 thanks to a Fromm to Mecole Hardman 20-yard TD pass on the Bulldogs' first possession of the third quarter.
Both teams swapped field goals late in the game and the Bulldogs held on for the 24-10 win.
Coming into Saturday's matchup, Georgia had posted only four drives that measured 10 or more plays in its 38 touchdown drives.
Saturday, the Bulldogs' first three scoring drives were all 10 or more plays and went 69, 75 and 75 yards.
Georgia also had a season-long 15-play scoring drive that resulted in a 20-yard field goal by redshirt sophomore place kicker Rodrigo Blankenship.
Seven different Bulldogs carried the ball and eight Georgia players caught passes.
Running back Michel scored his ninth touchdown of the season out of the "Wild Dog" alignment on an 8-yard scoring run in the first quarter to put UGA up 7-0.
Senior TB Chubb notched his 22nd career game with at least 100 yards rushing as he ended up with 102 on 20 carries plus had his first reception (a 9-yarder) since the road win versus the Irish. For his career, Chubb ranks 5th among all SEC rushers with 4,291 yards.
Michel finished with 81 yards on 16 carries.
Georgia got it done in the air as well. Fromm threw for two touchdowns. Senior WR Wims caught his fourth touchdown catch of the season (fifth of his career) on a 10 yarder at the 9:27 mark in the second quarter to give Georgia a 14-7 edge. Wims matched his career high with five catches for 46 yards, all coming in the first half.
In the third quarter, sophomore WR Mecole Hardman hauled in a 20-yard touchdown, the third of his career, to put Georgia up 21-7. Hardman completed the game with three catches for 41 yards.