ATHENS, Ga. — South Carolina turned around its season Saturday with a miracle in Athens, upsetting No. 3 Georgia, 20-17.
After missing a field-goal attempt in the first overtime — his second miss of the game — Parker White kicked the game-winner in the second overtime to give the Gamecocks their biggest win in the Will Muschamp era. It was just South Carolina's second win over a ranked team since Muschamp took over in 2016.
The Gamecocks had a chance to win the game in the first overtime but White's field goal attempt was wide right. South Carolina stopped Georgia on its first overtime possession when Israel Mukuamu intercepted his third pass of the game, setting up what would have been the game-winning field goal.
South Carolina got the ball first in the second overtime but could not put it in the end zone. On third-and-goal from the 2, Rico Dowdle was thrown for a four-yard loss and the Gamecocks had to settle for a White field goal to take a 20-17 lead.
The South Carolina defense, which was outstanding all day, forced Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm into two incomplete passes in the second overtime, forcing the Bulldogs to go for the tie. But normally sure-footed kicker Rodrigo Blankenship's field goal attempt was wide left, setting off a wild celebration on Dooley Field by the Gamecocks and their fans.
The win improved South Carolina to 3-3 and possibly spoiled Georgia's national championship hopes. The Bulldogs fall to 5-1, 2-1 in the SEC.
The Gamecocks led 17-10 at the half and dominated the second half defensively until Georgia put together a 96-yard drive to tie the game with 1:48 remaining.
South Carolina pinned Georgia deep in its own territory with 9:25 remaining but Fromm led the Bulldogs on a 96-yard drive for the tying score. The Gamecocks looked to have Georgia stopped on fourth down at the 11-yard line but safety Jammie Robinson was flagged for holding, giving the Bulldogs a first down at the South Carolina 6.
On the next play, Fromm found Demetris Robertson in the back of the end zone for the tying touchdown.
South Carolina got the ball back with 1:48 remaining and picked up a couple of first downs but the drive stalled at the Georgia 40-yard line. White's 57-yard field goal attempt was short and wide right.
Georgia got the ball back with 40 seconds remaining and quickly marched into South Carolina territory, with Fromm scrambling for 11 yards on third down. The South Carolina defense held, however, with Aaron Sterling batting down Fromm's fourth-down play on the last play of regulation.
Though Georgia had 464 yards of total offense, the Gamecock defense had three sacks, two interceptions and came up with big stop after big stop to hold the Bulldogs to just 17 points in regulation. But starting quarterback Ryan Hilinski sidelined with a knee injury, the Gamecocks could mount little offense in the second half.
South Carolina led 17-10 early in the third quarter when Hilinski went down with a knee injury. Hilinski was hit when Georgia linebacker Adam Anderson appeared to trip over South Carolina lineman Sadarius Hutcherson and landed on Hilinski's left knee. Hilinski, who wears a brace on the knee, was helped to the sideline and replaced by back up Dakereon Joyner.
Georgia was driving late in the third quarter but Fromm fumbled the ball at South Carolina 30-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter and T.J. Brunson recovered to turn the Bulldogs away again.
South Carolina gave Gamecock Nation hope in the first half by challenging Georgia blow for blow. The two teams were locked in a slugfest when Javon Kinlaw and Israel Mukuamu combined to produced a game-changing play that hushed the Sanford Stadium crowd.
On second down from midfield, Kinlaw busted through the line and bore down on Fromm, knocking him to the turf just as his pass was picked off by Mukuamu, who returned it 49 yards for a touchdown to give South Carolina a 17-10 lead.
South Carolina showed right away it would not be intimated by the No. 3 Bulldogs. Georgia marched down the field on its first possession of the game but J.J. Engabare sacked Fromm on third down, forcing the Bulldogs to settle for a field goal.
The Gamecock defense stopped Georgia again on its next possession, forcing Georgia to punt. The Bulldogs pinned the Gamecocks back at their own 7-yard-line, but Hilinski and the South Carolina offense were unfazed.
Hilinski completed two big third-down passes, the first to Bryan Edwards for 14 yards and then an 11-yarder to tight end Nick Muse. He then found Edwards streaking down the left sideline and lofted the ball beautifully into his hands for a 46-yard touchdown pass to put the Gamecocks up 7-3.
Georgia responded with a methodical 75-yard drive to take a 10-7 lead on D’Andre Swift’s 1-yard run.
The Bulldogs threatened to score again late in the second quarter but the Gamecock defense held again, forcing Fromm into an incomplete pass on fourth down at the South Carolina 38.
Hilinski then completed another 11-yard pass to Muse and Rico Dowdle broke loose for a 13-yard run to set up a career-long 49-yard field goal by Parker White to tie the game at 10-10.
Georgia gained 230 yards of total offense in the first half but South Carolina had two big sacks and Mukuamu’s pick-6 to hold the advantage.