South Carolina Beats Georgia 38-35
Player of the Game: Dylan Thompson- 21/30 for 271 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception
Georgia did it again. With lots of hype surrounding the Dawgs, a loaded defense, a pretty good passing game, and a Heisman candidate at running back, Georgia found away to cough up another game, which has appeared to be the mantra of this team for years.
And it always seems to come from bad breaks: the Terrance Edwards dropped pass against Florida in 2002, the injury to D.J. Shockley in 2005, and the tipped Aaron Murray pass that was caught in the SEC championship game in 2012.
This time, the Dawgs lost thanks to two gimmicks that have been a part of football since it began: kicking and chain measurements. The best way to put it: South Carolina beats Georgia thanks to a chain link. An exact measurement on an arbitrary spot.
Sep 13, 2014; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Nick Jones (3) makes a reception over Georgia Bulldogs cornerback Damian Swann (5) in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
With the ball and the lead with a minute and a half to go, Steve Spurrier and his Gamecocks converted a fourth and inches to secure the victory. Dylan Thompson got the first down barely, just grazing past the edge of the last chain link. The chain measurement, as always, was based on an estimated spot.
Why does this continue to happen in football? The refs estimate a spot and then use an exact measurement to determine if it’s a first down. It makes no sense. Are you seriously telling me we can’t make football like tennis yet and have an electronic way to determine where the ball landed? There has got to be some form of technology that’s a better way to determine where the ball should be placed.
This isn’t to say Thompson didn’t get the first down. After many looks, it appears as if he did. But there has to be a more exact way to determine it.
The other difference in the game came down to kicking.
Marshall Morgan, who is one of the most reliable kickers in the SEC, missed 2 against South Carolina, including a 28-yarder that would have tied the game at 38. This further proves the issue with kicking: no matter how great your team is and how well you have put it together, it could all come down to the mental toughness of one player. Even more than that player’s ability.
It’s the curse and blessing for football. Kicking has added more drama and entertainment to football than the sport could ever have without it, but it still seems inherently wrong that such a gimmick could cost the game. At the same time, there should still be a way to get some points if you move deep into the other team’s territory, so when you factor that in along with the exciting drama of it, kicking is a necessary evil.
And it doesn’t change lots of things that happened on the field.
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If Georgia could have punched the ball in when Morgan missed the 28-yarder, that wouldn’t have mattered. Todd Gurley should have had more than 20 carries in such a big game after he had 131 yards on the ground. The defense should not have allowed a 6-yard run to set up a 4th and inches on the last drive.
And Dylan Thompson deserves all the credit in the world. After facing heavy amounts of criticism in the loss to Texas A&M, he was very efficient in completing 70 percent of his passes and throwing for 3 touchdowns. There was an interception, but for the most part, Thompson took over the game, and Spurrier’s offensive genius showed.
South Carolina’s defense also deserves a tremendous amount of credit. While it did give up 35 points, after struggling with the 3-4 switch, it came up with quite a few nice stops, forcing Georgia to kick 4 field goals, and miss 2.
The Gamecocks’s win over East Carolina also looks very impressive now after the Pirates’ upset of Virginia Tech. Now, they are back in position to reach every goal they had set at the beginning of the year.
And more than anything, how good does this make Texas A&M look?
Regardless of how this win happened, South Carolina is a great team that can’t be slept on.