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No. 24 South Carolina edges sixth-ranked Georgia

Sep 14, 2014 - 3:30 AM Columbia, SC ( - Dylan Thompson threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns and No. 24 South Carolina held off sixth-ranked Georgia, 38-35, in a shootout from Williams-Brice Stadium.

South Carolina led by a field goal midway through the fourth quarter when Damian Swann intercepted Thompson in Gamecocks territory and returned it 18 yards, setting up Georgia's offense inside the 5.

An intentional grounding penalty knocked the Bulldogs back to the 11, and Marshall Morgan missed a 28-yard chip shot by the slightest of margins. Morgan made two field goals earlier in the game, setting the SEC record for consecutive field goals made with 20 before missing two later in the game.

The Gamecocks picked up two first downs and ran out the clock, securing their fourth win over Georgia in the last five meetings.

"I gotta say the same thing I said last week. Some wins are better than others," said South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier. "I think this one was better than most others. Gosh, what a ball game!"

Thompson completed 21-of-30 passes for the Gamecocks (2-1, 1-1 SEC), winners in two straight following a humbling 52-28 setback to Texas A&M in the season opener. Thompson also ran for a touchdown and muscled his way for three inches on fourth down in the final minutes before kneeling three times to run out the clock.

"Inches to go, it's all or nothing. You think you're going to get it easy. I thought I got it by a lot more than they gave it to us," Thompson said of the fourth down play.

Georgia (1-1, 0-1) running back Todd Gurley followed up a career-best performance against Clemson by rushing 20 times for 131 yards and a touchdown. Hutson Mason completed 16-for-22 for 191 and a pair of scores through the air.

"Our guys definitely played hard," said Georgia head coach Mark Richt. "I think we wanted to win. I think we played hard enough to win, but we didn't seize the moment."

The Gamecocks improved to 20-1 in their last 21 home games.

Thompson completed all four of his throws on the game's first drive to march South Carolina down the field for an early touchdown. On 3rd-and-5 from the Georgia 10, Thompson connected with Shaq Roland on a back shoulder throw by the left pylon, and his receiver fell into the end zone.

It took Georgia just two plays to respond. Mason went up top to Isaiah McKenzie for 36 yards, and a quick throw to Sony Michel led to a 33-yard score thanks to terrific down-field blocking.

Morgan made his 19th straight field goal -- a 36-yarder -- following a turnover to set the SEC record. He added a 26-yarder early in the second quarter but missed a 44-yard try near the end of the half.

Pharoh Cooper took a swing pass from Thompson late in the first quarter and dove into the end zone to put the Gamecocks back in front. The hosts then ended the second on a 10-0 run following Morgan's field goal to take a 24-13 lead into the break.

Tight end Rory Anderson hauled in an 18-yard touchdown from Thompson at 5:34, and Elliott Fry knocked down a 32-yard field goal as time expired in the half.

Gurley doubled his first half output on the ground on Georgia's first drive of the second half, gaining 48 yards and capping the series with a 2-yard TD plunge.

Thompson capped the ensuing South Carolina possession with a short rushing score.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Jay Rome adjusted in the end zone and made an impressive grab in traffic to cap a six-play drive. Mason then rolled out and hit Michael Bennett for the two-point conversion, and it was 31-28.

South Carolina responded. Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds each ran twice on the four-play drive, with Wilds busting through the hole for a 24-yard touchdown.

The Bulldog offense did its job, churning out a 75-yard drive and scoring from a yard out with the fullback Quayvon Hicks muscling his way over the goal line.

Game Notes

The start of the game was delayed 1 hour and 26 minutes due to lightning ... South Carolina hasn't started 0-2 in the SEC since 2008 ... South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier matched Georgia legend Vince Dooley for second place in all-time SEC wins with 201 ... The Gamecocks are 35-2 since 2008 when scoring 30-plus points ... This was Gurley's 15th career game with 100-plus rushing yards ... Georgia had 27 points combined in its last three trips to South Carolina.