Each week, Rixon Lane examines South Carolina's overall series against its upcoming opponent and detail three previous wins in the series for the Gamecocks and the seasons in which they occurred. This week's history lesson features the Georgia Bulldogs.
South Carolina's series against Georgia got off to a rough start, as the Gamecocks won just two of the first 15 matchups. Overall, South Carolina trails the Bulldogs 18-47-1.
However, South Carolina has won four of the last five contests and has split the 10 meetings in Steve Spurrier's tenure.
Here's a look back at three of South Carolina's victories over the Bulldogs, three times the Gamecock defense slammed the door on UGA.
Coming off an 8-4 record in 1987, the Gamecocks appeared to have picked up right where they left off in 1988. Through the first three games of the season, the South Carolina defense had allowed just 10 points and Todd Ellis, who had struggled with accuracy issues in his first two seasons, had yet to throw an interception. However, the Gamecocks had yet to face a stiff challenge, beating North Carolina, Western Carolina and East Carolina to open the season. Next on the schedule were the 6th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs.
Georgia boasted the top rushing attack in the nation, but Joe Lee Dunn's defense stifled the Bulldog ground game. UGA averaged just 2.5 yards per carry and managed just 241 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, Ellis scorched the 'Dawgs for 321 yards through the air and was sacked just once on the afternoon. Despite intercepting Ellis once, the Georgia secondary had no answers for Robert Brooks, who tallied 98 yards on nine catches and pulled in an acrobatic touchdown reception just before halftime. The 23-10 victory for South Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak against Georgia and was the Gamecocks' biggest win over a ranked team since upsetting No. 3 North Carolina in 1981.
The momentum from the Georgia win appeared to carry over, as the Gamecocks built a 6-0 record and attained a No. 8 national ranking. However, the season went off the rails with a 34-0 loss to a poor Georgia Tech team. The Gamecocks lost four of their final six games of the season, including a 34-10 defeat against Indiana in the Liberty Bowl, and head coach Joe Morrison tragically passed away in the offseason.
Spotlight on Succop
South Carolina was coming off an 8-5 season in 2006 and Steve Spurrier believed his Gamecocks were finally ready to contend for the SEC championship. After an underwhelming effort in the season-opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, the Gamecocks headed to Athens.
South Carolina grabbed an early lead on a Cory Boyd touchdown and Ryan Succop took it from there. Succop drilled three field goals and South Carolina's defense harassed Matthew Stafford in a 19-for-44 performance as the Gamecocks picked up their first win over Georgia in five seasons. Knowshon Moreno and the Bulldog backfield was held to just 128 yards on the ground. The 16-12 defeat was the first time the Bulldogs had been held without a touchdown since 2001, when the Gamecocks knocked off UGA 14-9 in Sanford Stadium.
Once again, South Carolina appeared to be rolling midway through the season. The Gamecocks were 6-1 and ranked No. 6 before being upset at home by unranked Vanderbilt. The loss to the Commodores put South Carolina into a tailspin as the Gamecocks dropped their final five games of the season and missed out on a bowl game for the only time in Steve Spurrier's tenure.
Blowout at the Brice
It was billed as the biggest game in South Carolina football history. At 5-0 and ranked No. 6 in the country, the Gamecocks welcomed undefeated and 5th-ranked Georgia to Williams-Brice Stadium. Columbia was the center of the college football world that October Saturday, as ESPN's College GameDay set up shop on the Horseshoe to break down the SEC East clash.
It was a garnet and black house party from start to finish. South Carolina jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, capped by an electrifying punt return for a touchdown from Ace Sanders. Aaron Murray and the Bulldog offense spent the night under siege from Jadeveon Clowney and Co. and only managed a garbage-time touchdown as South Carolina pummeled Georgia 35-7.
The Gamecocks suffered a pair of setbacks over the following two weeks, losing on the road to LSU and Florida. However, South Carolina won its final four games of the regular season and knocked off Michigan in an Outback Bowl thriller for its second consecutive 11-2 campaign.