No. 3 Georgia tries to deflect upset bid from South Carolina

South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp welcomes players back to the sideline after a score against Kentucky during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

By The Associated Press

South Carolina (2-3, 1-2 SEC) at No. 3 Georgia (5-0, 2-0), Saturday at 12 p.m. EDT (ESPN).

Line: Georgia by 24.

Series record: Georgia leads 51-18-2.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart reacts to a call during their game again Tennessee at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 in Knoxville, Tenn.(C.B. Schmelter/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)


Georgia, favored by more than three touchdowns against a division rival for the second straight week, is trying to protect its SEC and national championship hopes. South Carolina is looking for a signature win under coach Will Muschamp. The Gamecocks also need to show improved ability to win away from home following road losses at North Carolina and Missouri.


In a matchup of two of the SEC’s top five rushing attacks, South Carolina is expected to lean heavily on Rico Dowdle and Tavien Feaster, who each ran for more than 100 yards in a 24-7 win over Kentucky two weeks ago. Georgia’s defense, led by linebacker Monty Rice, has not allowed a rushing touchdown this season. The Bulldogs lead the SEC and rank No. 6 in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 59.6 rushing yards per game.


South Carolina: QB Ryan Hilinski, a freshman who has started four games, needs a solid passing performance to provide some balance to what is expected to be a run-first offense. He completed only 13 of 30 passes in his last road start.

Georgia: RB D’Andre Swift is averaging 7 yards per carry while leading the Bulldogs’ balanced running game with 460 yards and four touchdowns. Brian Herrien, Zamir White and others have also been productive, helping to keep Swift fresh.


The Gamecocks have lost 11 straight against Top 25 teams, including six straight to teams in the top four. … Dowdle and Feaster gave South Carolina its first pair of 100-yard rushers in a game since 2001, when Andrew Pinnock and Derek Watson did so against Vanderbilt. … Georgia senior PK Rodrigo Blankenship has not missed a field goal (11 of 11) or extra point (25 of 25) this season. He has made two 50-yard field goals and has made a school-record 179 consecutive extra points. … Georgia QB Jake Fromm has completed 78 percent of his passes (86 of 111) for 1,076 yards with eight TDs and no interceptions.


More AP college football: HERE and TOP 25.

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