Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dawgs Routed By South Carolina


Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement

Like I told the guys, we took a whipping, but the good news was that we all took it together. I don’t think anyone could look in the mirror and say ‘I had a great day but the other boys didn’t.’ I don’t think either side of the ball could say ‘We did our job and the other boys didn’t.’ It was a team loss. We got beat by a very good team that was primed and ready to go. I thought their fans were outstanding. I guess they broke a new record in attendance. They grabbed the momentum early and held on to it. The second quarter, I thought we slowed them down a little bit and stopped the bleeding to a certain degree. I thought the momentum was up for grabs in the second half. Their defense the entire night just took care of business. We have to give them credit. The other thing I told the guys is whether you lose by 28 or you lose in overtime, it is still a loss. That doesn’t mean the season is over for Georgia. We still have an opportunity to keep fighting and keep playing and getting better and winning. If we are able to do that, then we will have a chance to get back to Atlanta and that’s where we want to be.

On the speed of the South Carolina defense…

They’ve got great speed. They are very long human beings. They are 6-8, 6-6 and have long arms. I think a couple times we were blocking them halfway decent trying to run them by the quarterback, but they are just so long and they are so athletic that Aaron Murray was getting grabbed right at the last moment as he was trying to move up into the pocket. We did a good job at times.

On the first few South Carolina drives…

Three touchdowns in a row unanswered ,and we might have had a couple first downs here and there so it resembled a drive. It was nothing that really threatened them. We started to get some stops on defense and once you start getting stops it stabilizes to where, if you are able to put seven on the board before the half and you get the ball, you’re not in that bad of shape.

Senior Cornerback Sanders Commings

On what South Carolina was doing that was so efficient in the first quarter…

Nothing special at all. It was just lack of focus. When that happens, it is easy for a team to make a big play and that’s what they did.

Junior Quarterback Aaron Murray

On what the loss does to Georgia’s morale…

It stinks. We felt like we had a great rhythm offensively going on in the first five games. We’ve got to go back, watch the film and make corrections and get better. It’s still a long season to go and there’s still six games left. Plenty of chances to get better, more games to win. We just have to watch the film and get better.

On how big South Carolina’s punt return touchdown was…

It was huge. They built up a whole lot of momentum and it’s hard when a team like that gets rolling.

On how much of a roadblock it is when the running game can’t get going…

They did a great job defensively putting us in the situation of having third and longs. That’s not where you want to be. I know we had our shots, I know we weren’t executing whenever we had them. We just have to go watch the film and having a bye week is huge for us to work on some fundamentals and get ready for the next opponent.

Junior Outside Linebacker Jarvis Jones

On what South Carolina was doing in the first quarter that was so effective…

I think they just came out and made a couple big plays in the first quarter and scored on them. They really didn’t do anything else until the big play in the third quarter and had the last play in the fourth quarter. I think we held them in check but being down 21-0 in the first quarter, that’s hard to come by, especially by a team in the SEC.

On how Georgia adjusted to hold South Carolina scoreless in the second quarter…

Just communicated better, we knew what they were doing. They had a 21-point lead and they just tried to sit on it. We just kept stuffing the run.

South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier

Opening Statement

Obviously this was a special one, there’s no question about it, after beating Georgia for our 10th in a row and beating three years in a row a school that used to own you. They can’t say they own us anymore, that’s for sure. Our offense played beautiful. Offense, defense and special teams wise. We did miss one field goal, but we got touchdowns. It was really neat. We weren’t all that great on third-down conversions, but we didn’t have a whole bunch. It was a special day for us. I was thinking prior that this might be the best one since I’ve been here. I was thinking it might be closer, but with so much on the line and being here at home, it was a game that our guys were really ready. Our goal is to see if we can match that emotional level and getting ready as we get through the rest of the season. We’ll see where this leads us. One thing we’ll have to guard against is everyone telling us how great we are, which when you win convincingly, that’s what happens. Hopefully as coach and players we understand that we can play like we played that first half at Kentucky.

On the defense slowing down Georgia’s offense

We didn’t know the defense would be as effective as we were. We thought we could play with them. Coach Lorenzo Ward had a good feeling going into the game. He and Coach Brad Lawing and all the coaches felt like we could slow them down. We haven’t given up a bunch of touchdowns this year. Our defensive guys feel pretty good. Fortunately, we were able to kill a bunch of clock in the fourth quarter. I think they only had one possession in the fourth quarter. Obviously with 51 runs and 10 passes, that was a clock moving type of game.

On big plays like Ace Sanders’ punt return

They were all big. D.L. Moore’s catch, we sort of caught them without a free safety back there, checked to it fast, and he got it down to the one-yard line. That got us to 28-0. Obviously we didn’t have a lot of passes, but we didn’t have too. Our defense was sensational. Sixty-seven plays they had and 61 for us. That’s not a bad way to win sometimes.

On beating Georgia

I knew it was going to be a special one if we won. If we didn’t win, it wouldn’t be very special of course. When you get to the door of the school trying to win 10 in a row, if you don’t do it when is it going to be done if you don’t do it now? We had to try and do it tonight. I was telling Jamie Speronis, this was actually my 250th overall win as a coach, and having it against Georgia is special, too. That’s a team that used to beat my alma mater very well. I’ve been fortunate as a coach against them, not so much as a player, but as a coach so that was special.

On winning for the fans

Our fans had paid their dues, and they need something in return. Hopefully they are getting something in return now that we’re able to win at home and win some big games against good teams.

On not getting over confident as a team as the season progresses

All we have to do is remind ourselves of that Kentucky first half and the Vandy game. We were very fortunate to beat Vandy. Sometimes that’s how you hope your season goes. We still have a tough road ahead of us. It was a good one tonight and good to get all of those historical wins. Those are fun.

On the game atmosphere

I was thinking our stadium was probably the loudest in the country today with everything that was going on. I know the Swamp is loud, but this is sort of a first time for us with two top 10 teams. That’s happened a bunch in the Swamp, but our fans had so much extra energy coming into this game that I knew it would be a loud one. Fortunately it worked out for all of us Gamecocks.

On the goal line stand on fourth and goal

It was a good goal line stand. We’ve done that several times this year. Our guys can cover, and I guess they threw it about a yard short.

On winning with the running game

Connor Shaw is sensational running the ball. That’s his game. He can throw, too, but running Marcus Lattimore and running him we try to hit some big plays. Fortunately we did hit some big ones. That was key for us. When you play a team like Georgia, you like to limit their number of plays if you can by staying on the field. We did it decent the fourth quarter.

Game Notes

Shutout Avoided: Thanks to a 12-play, 75-yard TD-drive that consumed 4:22 late in the fourth quarter, Georgia avoided its first shutout since the 1995 Alabama game. Sophomore Ken Malcome accounted for 45 yards rushing on five carries on the scoring drive including a 3-yard TD run. However, tonight marked the first time since the 2009 LSU game in Athens that Georgia failed to score in the first half. That year, the 14th-ranked Dawgs trailed fourth-ranked LSU 6-0 and lost 20-13. Georgia came in tonight leading the SEC in scoring offense at 48.2 points a game while USC ranked second in the league in scoring defense at 11.2 points.

Top 10 Contest: Tonight was a Top 10 matchup for the first time in series history with USC at #6 and Georgia at #5. Under Mark Richt, the Dawgs are now 3-5 in top 10 matchups.

Win Streak Ends: Georgia (5-1, 3-1 SEC) saw its streak of consecutive wins in the regular season end at 15. Prior to tonight, the last time Georgia lost a regular season game was last year against then #12 South Carolina in Athens 45-42 on September 10th. Tonight, Georgia trailed 21-0 at the half which marked the largest halftime deficit since the 2008 Alabama game in Athens when the Crimson Tide led 31-0 en route to a 41-30 victory over the Dawgs.

Geathers Blocks Field Goal: Junior nose Kwame Geathers blocked a 33-yard field goal attempt by Adam Yates in the third quarter. It was the first field goal block by a Dawg since the 2009 Independence Bowl when Geno Atkins had one against Texas A&M. Earlier this year against Florida Atlantic, Geathers blocked a PAT.

Jones Gets Another Sack: Junior All-American outside linebacker Jarvis Jones registered a sack to give him 5.5 for the year and 19 in his career after leading the SEC last year with 13.5. Jones finished the game with four tackles including two TFL for minus nine.

Another Catch For TK: Senior Tavarres King registered a catch in his 21st consecutive game. He finished with 1 catch for 16 yards.

Points off Turnovers: South Carolina got 7 points off 1 Dawg turnover. Aaron Murray had a pass tipped that resulted in an INT (DeVonte Holloman) on Georgia’s first drive at the SC30. It was Murray’s fourth INT of the year and second straight week off a tipped pass. Dawg opponents now have 43 points off 10 Georgia miscues this season. Murray finished tonight 11-for-31, 109 yards.

Last Time: South Carolina’s Ace Sanders returned a punt 70 yards for a TD, the first to do that against the Dawgs since the 2011 SEC Championship game when LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu took one 62 yards in Atlanta.

GameDay: Georgia is now 3-10 in games when ESPN GameDay is on-site including 3-4 in an opponent’s stadium.

For Starters: Junior quarterback Aaron Murray started his team-leading 33rd consecutive game while senior Shawn Williams has a team-high 13 consecutive starts in a row on defense.

Captains: Junior quarterback Aaron Murray, senior corner back Sanders Commings, senior linebacker Christian Robinson and junior offensive tackle Kenarious Gates served as captains tonight.

Up Next: Georgia has an open date next Saturday before returning to action October 20th at Kentucky. The game time has not been set.

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