Georgia, Kirby Smart gear up for South Carolina, talented QB

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Field Level Media
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Sep 17, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) passes as he is hit by Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Mykel Williams (13) in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Sep 17, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) passes as he is hit by Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Mykel Williams (13) in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Image: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly one year later, No. 1 Georgia gets another opportunity to shake up Spencer Rattler and South Carolina on Saturday.

Rattler was 13-of-25 passing for 118 yards and two interceptions for South Carolina in a 48-7 loss to the Bulldogs last season. This week he preps for a rematch with the Bulldogs while celebrating his SEC Offensive Player of the Week performance — 25 of 27 with 345 yards, three passing touchdowns, one TD run against Furman.

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"He's got elite arm talent, I can tell you that," Smart said Monday. "The throws he's made, touch throws, deep, vertical, back shoulder throws. He had a throw against Clemson on third and 10 that was a rope. So, he's very illusive, very accurate with the ball, hard to finish on. There's a lot of people that miss tackles on him when they try to get him down. Tremendous player."

North Carolina sacked Rattler nine times in the opener, but the Gamecocks allowed only one sack last week in an easy 47-21 win over Furman.

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Georgia won't look too deep into the 2022 film.

South Carolina has a new offense, and playcaller, with Dowell Loggains as coordinator. And Georgia lost several starters to the NFL off of the record-setting national title crew of a year ago.

Smart knows the style of the South Carolina system all too well. Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer was special teams coach and tight ends coach for Smart at Georgia for two seasons. He's 0-2 as Gamecocks coach against Smart and the Bulldogs.

Beamer plans to remind his team the difference between being a favorite and not being favored. As 24.5-point favorites in 2019, No. 3 Georgia left South Carolina with its first loss of the season in triple-overtime.

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"I mean, they're going to be hearing all week about ‘Georgia, Georgia, Georgia,'" Beamer said in a radio interview on Monday about players knowing they're 24-point underdogs this week. "We just need to make sure that from our standpoint, we do what we have to do on our end to allow us to go play our very best on Saturday and that's what we need to focus on."

Among the emerging playmakers for the Gamecocks, Xavier Legette caught a TD pass and led the team with 118 yards on six receptions against Furman.

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—Field Level Media