As the waves from Hurricane Matthew continue to crash down the Atlantic coast, Steve Fink, the assistant athletic director at South Carolina, executed a crash course in disaster management, and with the Gamecocks’ matchup against Georgia originally slated for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Williams-Brice, Matthew pushed the tilt back until Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Matthew also led to another delay — the Associated Press will not release its top-25 poll until after the South Carolina — Georgia game is complete.
Another delay will be lifted, however, as Georgia running back Nick Chubb returns to the field without any restrictions placed on his workload according to a report from Gridiron Now‘s Dan Matthews.
“We feel good about him going into this week,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “We’re not holding him back in any kind of way. He was cleared to go for [Tennessee]. It was more of a deal of was he better at the time than those other backs? Was he completely healthy? Was he able to run at full speed?”
During Georgia’s week five contest versus the Volunteers, Chubb only received one carry, which went for three yards, in the Bulldogs’ devastating last-second loss. Chubb is expected to receive a full dose of carries on Sunday, but Georgia is expected to make South Carolina account for running back Sony Michel as well. In Chubb’s limited work last week, Michel rattled off 91 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries.
But South Carolina has shown its competency in defending both the run and the pass so far in 2016. Last week, the Gamecocks held No. 9 Texas A&M to just 24 points, and only seven at halftime, which stands as its most impressive defensive showing of the year, a performance it would like to improve upon against Georgia.
One avenue in which the Gamecocks could potentially stall the Georgia offense is by peppering true freshman quarterback Jacob Eason with the blitz out of multiple formations, so expect South Carolina to send quite a few linebackers loose on Sunday. Eason has shown tremendous ability in flashes this season and has almost 1,000 passing yards to show for it, but making the Washington native uncomfortable in the pocket will be key for South Carolina in taking the load off the Gamecocks’ secondary.
Another area to watch in this matchup will be South Carolina’s performance from the quarterback position and who receives more snaps between senior Perry Orth or true freshman Brandon McIlwain, who had started each of the team’s past three games after unseating Orth early on. Against Texas A&M, however, McIlwain was pulled during the 4th quarter, at which time Orth entered the game and proceeded to light the Aggies up for 138 yards on 11-of-18 passing.
During the week, head coach Will Muschamp mentioned that both Orth and McIlwain will see time against Georgia, with Orth likely receiving the brunt of the passing plays and McIlwain entering the game as a change of pace that should operate a zone-read rushing attack.
Whoever is under center will have a more favorable batch of wide receiver to throw to this week, as Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards are both scheduled to see the field in earnest this week. Samuel missed the last three games, whereas Edwards was only sidelined for the Texas A&M game. Wide receiver Randrecous Davis is expected to be unavailable against Georgia.
Look for the Gamecocks to pelt Georgia with a balanced offensive attack behind Orth and McIlwain right as the South Carolina shoreline is pelted with waves on Sunday.