Learning from last season: South Carolina

South Carolina made it two in a row over Georgia for the first time in more than a decade. What did that loss mean to Georgia? Did the Dawgs learn anything from it? How did that loss effect Georgia's play the rest of the year?

South Carolina came into Athens and beat Georgia 14-9 on a late drive in the 4th quarter. South Carolina's Phil Petty found Brian Scott in the endzone on 3rd and 10 from the 16-yard line. Georgia's Bruce Thornton was not able to prevent Scott, a much bigger receiver, from catching the ball and sealing the Dawgs fate.

Carolina used their better special teams play to win. The Cocks got a 66-yard kickoff return to start the game from Derek Watson. USC would take that great field position and make it payoff, eventually scoring from one-yard out on a dive by Pinnock. Carolina also blocked a Billy Bennett kick. Both plays hurt Georgia's chances of winning tremendously.

Terrence Edwards was given a golden opportunity, but dropped a very catchable ball in the endzone. Edwards's performance was disappointing against South Carolina because of his drops in critical situations. Georgia did not avoid mistakes, South Carolina did and that is the reason that the Dawgs lost the game.

What we learned:

Numero uno we learned that South Carolina was for real and that the Cocks were not a one-season flash in the pan. We also learned that Mark Richt's offense was not going to be a 500-yards-a-game juggernaut. In fact, the Dawgs could only manage 9 points all game and only 282 yards in total offense. We also learned that Georgia's rush defense was for real. Carolina managed only 43 yards on 36 rushes, a meager 1.2 yards per carry average. We learned that special teams are a lot more important in close games that they might appear. And we learned that Georgia needed David Greene to play, and play well at that, in order to beat top-notch SEC teams.

What was said:

"There were a lot of missed opportunities. You can't fault the kids, they played hard. The defense played beautifully, except for a couple of lapses in the end. The offense needed to put points on the board. I made my share of mistakes as well. We played hard enough to win, but not smart enough to win," Georgia's Mark Richt.

"I mean the defensive back (Thornton) was there to make the interception. I thought for the world that Bruce Thornton was gonna pick this thing off," ESPN's Ron Franklin

Dean Legge can be reached here: dean@dawgpost.com

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