COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth is ready to hunker down against the Dawgs.
Georgia’s between the tackles, power-run game is right in his wheelhouse — perhaps a little bit more so than the spread attacks Mississippi State, East Carolina, Kentucky and Texas A&M employed against the Gamecocks.
“Georgia’s offensive line is more what I like,” Stallworth said. “They’re more of a come-at-you-type of offensive line.”
Stallworth will get all he can handle when Georgia rolls out Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. The two running backs have combined to rush 123 times for 622 yards and 4 touchdowns this season.
But as South Carolina coach Will Muschamp pointed out, the Bulldogs ground game goes beyond the borders of its offensive line.
“They do a really good job of out-flanking you in the run game, creating some edge issues for you,” Muschamp said.
And with freshman quarterback Jacob Eason inching closer to stardom, Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney is able to open things up a little bit more through the air.
“Georgia brings a lot of multiple things to their offense,” said Bryson Allen-Williams, who’s second among South Carolina linebackers with 28 tackles.
“So we’re getting ready to play against a spread and play against a 2-back style of offense.”
Eason has plenty of weapons at his disposal, including wide receivers Isaiah McKenzie and Terry Godwin, both of whom average more than 13 yards per reception.
“Isaiah McKenzie is a guy that’s really special with the ball in his hands. They’ve been really creative with how they get the ball in his hands,” Muschamp said. “Reggie Davis is a top-end speed guy, probably as fast a receiver that’s in our league. Terry Godwin is another guy.”
But make no mistake about it. Georgia’s identity is its ground attack. Specifically, Chubb, who’s facing a South Carolina run defense that’s giving up over 200 yards per contest.
“Both of them are very dynamic. Chubb brings a little bit more power, a little bit more patience. Michel, he’s a little bit faster back, more elusive guy,” Allen-Williams said. “Both of them are great backs.”
Muschamp added, “One of the best backs in college football. (Chubb) runs through contact, low center of gravity, has really good acceleration, catches the ball well, does a great job in protection, all-around good football player and a great person. I had the pleasure of recruiting him, really enjoyed getting to know Nick. Sony Michel, same thing for them. Has great top-end speed.”
Defensively, Georgia is “big and athletic.”
“They’re young up front,” Muschamp said. “Run extremely well at linebacker. Natrez Patrick and Roquan Smith, Reggie Carter are three guys that make a lot of plays for them. Dominick Sanders is as good a safety as there is in our league. Really athletic, defensively.”
The Bulldogs are explosive on special teams, too.
Davis is 32nd in the country, averaging 26.1 yards per kickoff return. McKenzie’s 10.2 yards per punt return is 41st.
“Special teams, Isaiah McKenzie is an issue in the return game for us,” Muschamp said. “He’s really electric when the ball is in his hands.”