Dawgs should win tight battle against Gamecocks

Perhaps the most pivotal game either twenty-fifth ranked Georgia or twenty-first South Carolina will play during the 2001 season will take place Saturday night, September 8 in Sanford Stadium (7:45 ESPN). The winner could contend for the Southeastern Conference championship, while the loser will have its back against the wall and may have to pull an upset or two in the league to have a chance to challenge for the crown.

Georgia (1-0) has opened its SEC season with South Carolina (1-0) since the Gamecocks joined the conference in 1992, and in seven of those eight games, the winner has gone on to finish higher in the league standings.

Last season, the Bulldogs entered the game No. 9 in the country and South Carolina entered having beaten only one team in its last 22 tries. But Georgia quarterback Quincy Carter threw five interceptions in a game that sparked South Carolina's turnaround from 0-11 to 8-4 and started the Bulldogs' slide toward a dismal 7-4 season record.

"The winner of this game is going to be sitting in pretty good shape," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. "That's what we're concentrating on. Football is definitely a game of momentum, and momentum is hard to change. Momentum is a very powerful thing. Whichever team wins this game is going to have momentum."

Keys To The Game-
* Georgia quarterback David Greene has to play with poise.
If the redshirt freshman can maintain the pinpoint accuracy he displayed against in the Bulldogs 45-17 rout of Arkansas State last week, South Carolina could be in for a long night. Greene may be THE key to the game. How well he plays against a swarming South Carolina defense, led by All-World linebacker Kalimba Edwards, will likely determine who wins the game.

* Georgia must establish a running game and eliminate offensive mistakes.

The best way for Georgia to gain control of the game would be to establish dominance along the line of scrimmage and pound the Gamecocks with a powerful running attack. If Musa Smith gains 200 yards, the Bulldogs will be in dandy shape.

* Bulldogs need to hit some big plays

Expect Richt to turn it all loose against the Gamecocks. This game is too important for either team to be too conservative.

* Georgia must be consistent.
The Bulldogs must play with intensity, execute well for the entire game, make key defensive stops and avoid turnovers. If the Bulldogs fail to do one of these, they will likely lose. If they fail to do two or more, they will lose.

PREDICTION-This game should be really close. Look for Georgia to win it with a big play (maybe a Tim Wansley interception to preserve a lead) late in the fourth quarter. However, don't be surprised if it goes to overtime. Georgia (in regulation) 24-19.


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