South Carolina was down to its third-string quarterback after losing starter Ryan Hilinski to an injury in the third quarter, but the Gamecocks survived and pulled off one of the most stunning upsets of the season, taking down No. 3 Georgia 20-17 in double overtime. After South Carolina kicker Parker White missed a potential game-winning field goal from 33 yards out in the first overtime period, it was Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship who ended the game with a miss on a 42-yard attempt.
The upset victory for the Gamecocks ties for the second-best in program history, trailing only their win against No. 1 Alabama in 2010 and matching a 1981 win at No. 3 North Carolina. It’s South Carolina’s first victory over a top-five team since defeating No. 5 Missouri in double overtime in 2013, and it’s the program’s first win over a ranked opponent since 2016.
The Gamecocks arrived in Athens, Georgia, as three-touchdown underdogs, but their defense was best unit on the field for the first three quarters of the game. South Carolina played with a physical edge and brought the fight early, stuffing Georgia’s efforts to establish the run to set up the pass.
The visitors won first and second down, and Georgia QB Jake Fromm couldn’t bail his offense out with the passing game. Fromm was involved in all four of Georgia’s turnovers, losing a fumble on a quarterback-center exchange in the second half and throwing three interceptions, including a pick-six that gave South Carolina a 17-10 lead and another pick on the first possession of overtime that gave the Gamecocks a chance to win it with a 33-yard field goal that was ultimately missed.
In the third quarter, Hilinski went down after taking a low hit from Georgia defender Adam Anderson. A replay showed that Anderson tripped over the leg of a South Carolina lineman and fell into Hilinski to roll up his leg. The result was a roughing the passer penalty on Anderson, and Hilinski, who was 15-for-20 passing for 116 yards and a touchdown to that point, was knocked out of the game. Hilinski had a bag of ice wrapped around his left knee after an extended stay in the injury tent on South Carolina’s sideline. He proceeded to root on his teammates from a training table and motioned to his parents that he was OK, but he did not return to the game.
“It was Jake [Bentley] early in the season, we lose Ryan, Dekereon [Joyner] was halfway practicing because of his hamstring,” Will Muschamp told ESPN after the game. “It says a lot about the culture of our program, the leadership in our program, the players in our program and the future of our program.”
Dakereon Joyner entered the game for Hilinski, completing just 6-of-12 passes for 39 yards, but he was able to add an element to the ground game with his legs. Georgia’s defense was able to come up with key third-down stops, and South Carolina played it pretty safe by choosing to punt and attempt a field goal during fourth and short situations. With their backs against the wall still down the halftime score of 17-10, the Bulldogs answered with a 13-play, 96-yard drive in the fourth quarter that finished with a touchdown pass from Fromm to Demetris Robertson.
But then Fromm’s aforementioned interception in overtime allowed South Carolina to move the ball enough so that Parker White could knock down the game-winning field goal. White missed a 33-yard attempt, sending the game to a second overtime period. The Gamecocks offense leaned on its rushing attack and got down to third-and-goal inside the 5-yard line, but a tackle for loss by Tyler Clark forced White back out onto the field for a short field goal that ended up being the game-winner.