If Pollack - the fullback turned defensive tackle turned defensive end - was the one who got away for the Georgia offense, he also was the only one who reached the end zone for the Bulldogs and the biggest play-maker on defense for either team Saturday.
In a game delayed 52 minutes in the first quarter by lightning near Williams-Brice Stadium, Georgia was still holding a 3-0 lead early in the fourth quarter when Pollack delivered the play that kept No. 9 Georgia (2-0 overall, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) undefeated.
On South Carolina's second-and-seven play from its 7, Pollack beat Gamecocks offensive tackle Watts Sanderson and immediately closed in on quarterback Corey Jenkins, who was standing in the end zone looking for an open receiver. As Jenkins began to move his right arm forward, Pollack reached up and grabbed the ball before Jenkins could make the pass. Standing in the end zone, Pollack grabbed the ball as it began to slide down his body and then fell to the end zone as the official raised his arms to signal the touchdown.
"I don't know how it happened,'' Pollack said. "I saw him throwing, and I was just trying to deflect it. When I hit it, I noticed it kind of stuck to my hand, so I just pulled it into my body.''
Pollack recorded eight tackles with the interception, a fumble recovery and two tackles for lost yardage. Georgia's offense still has not scored a touchdown against South Carolina (1-2 overall, 0-1 SEC) in 11 quarters - since the first quarter of the 21-10 loss in 2000 here. Georgia managed only three field goals in a 14-9 loss to the Gamecocks last year. The last time Georgia won a game without scoring an offensive touchdown was a 12-3 decision over Kentucky in 1995.
On Georgia's first play from scrimmage, quarterback David Greene completed a long pass to Fred Gibson for 52 yards. That pass set up a field goal for the 3-0 lead that lasted three quarters, but there were too few big plays to follow. Musa Smith recorded his second straight 100-yard game - rushing for 103 yards - and Greene completed 11 of 19 passes for 169 yards without an interception.
The second half of Georgia's quarterback rotation, D.J. Shockley, was 0-for-3 passing and left with what is believed to be a broken bone in his left foot. He probably will miss at least two weeks, thereby putting at least a temporary end to the two-quarterback system.
Despite the lack of offense, in this defensive struggle Pollack's big play and two field goals from Billy Bennett were enough for Georgia to end the Gamecocks' two-year winning streak in the series. "I've just never seen a play like that,'' said Georgia coach Mark Richt.
There were six turnovers in the game, including three lost fumbles and an interception by South Carolina. This came one week after the Gamecocks committed seven turnovers, including six lost fumbles, in a loss at Virginia. But Georgia needed South Carolina's last lost fumble in the final minute to preserve the victory.
With 3:20 left to play and Georgia leading 10-7, Richt made what he admitted was a difficult decision to attempt a field goal on a fourth-and-two play from the South Carolina 7. Even after Bennett nailed the 25-yard attempt for a 13-7 lead, South Carolina could still win the game with a touchdown, and it came within two yards.
Powered by pass plays of 24 yards to Michael Ages, 26 yards to Ryan Brewer and 11 yards to Andrew Pinnock, the Gamecocks finally had a fourth-and-one play at the Georgia 2 with 20 seconds left to play. Jenkins took the snap with Pinnock as his only back. Pollack charged from Jenkins' right and hit the quarterback just as he was trying to pitch the ball to Pinnock. The pitch looked good but may have been hurried by Pollack's pressure. Pinnock could not hang onto the pitch, and Georgia safety Thomas Davis covered the fumble at the 2-yard line to save the win.
Said Pinnock: "We were running the option and (Pollack) came off the edge quickly. I should have been expecting the pitch to come when it did. I dropped the pitch and we lost the game.''
Georgia was fortunate to lead 3-0 at halftime. Tyson Browning and Gibson lost fumbles in the half. Browning's fumble - on the first career carry for the true freshman - stopped a scoring opportunity at the South Carolina 12. The opportunity was set up when Ryan Davis of Columbus recovered a fumbled punt return by Chavez Donnings.
The Gibson fumble also followed a South Carolina turnover. This time, Pinnock fumbled a handoff from Corey Jenkins on a first-and-goal call from the Georgia 2. Pollack recovered for Georgia. The Bulldogs moved the ball out on a big 32-yard pass from Greene to Gibson on a third-and-10 play from the 3. But three plays later, Greene again passed to Gibson, and this time Gibson fumbled when hit after a short gain, giving the Gamecocks possession at the Georgia 38. That possession ended with a missed field goal attempt from 37 yards.
After the game, some Georgia players - including Kareem Marshall and Boss Bailey - were holding branches from the hedges behind the end zones, repaying the favor for South Carolina players taking branches from Georgia's hedges last year.
Asked how he felt as he left the field, Richt said "Thankful, very thankful.'' Mostly, Richt was thankful for Pollack.
GEORGIA 13, SOUTH CAROLINA 7
The quarter was slowed by a 52-minute delay due to lightning in the area.
Leading 3-0, Georgia had a chance to take a lead of 10 points after Ryan
Davis recovered a fumbled punt by Chavez Donnings. But on Georgia's first
play from the South Carolina 12, Tyson Browning - making his first career
carry - fumbled the ball back to the Gamecocks
Georgia 3, South Carolina 0
Georgia field goal: Billy Bennett 22 kick, 12:54. 5 plays, 59 yards, 2:06
drive. Key play: On Georgia's first play from scrimmage, David Greene threw
deep to Fred Gibson for a gain of 52 yards down the left sideline, setting up
a first down at the South Carolina 12.
South Carolina had the big edge in field position most of the quarter but
could not score. The Gamecocks lost the ball on a fumble by Andrew Pinnock on
a first-and-goal play from the Georgia 2. David Pollack recovered for Georgia
when Pinnock could not control the handoff. Later, a fumble by Gibson gave
South Carolina the ball at the Georgia 38, but Daniel Weaver was wide left on
a 37-yard field goal attempt.
The key point of another scoreless quarter came when South Carolina had a
third and 6 at the Georgia 29. After calling a timeout, the Gamecocks were
penalized for having 12 men on the field. After that mistake, a screen pass
from Jenkins to Michael Ages on fourth-and-10 was good only for nine yards,
thanks to a saving tackle by cornerback Decory Bryant.
It was appropriate that Georgia's first touchdown against South