COLUMBIA, S.C. — Georgia linebacker Davin Bellamy had a simple pregame message for his teammates eager to bounce back from an awful two weeks.
“Everyone in there has aspirations of playing on Sundays. It’s Sunday, it’s time to play ball,” Bellamy said.
The Bulldogs did just that, rushing for a season-high 326 yards and snapping a two-game losing streak with a 28-14 victory over South Carolina on Sunday in a game pushed back a day because of Hurricane Matthew.
Nick Chubb, back from a sprained left ankle, ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns and Sony Michel had 133 yards — Georgia’s first game with two 100-yard backs since Chubb and Todd Gurley did it against Auburn in 2014.
Chubb ran for 18 yards the first time he touched the ball. He ended the series with a 15-yard TD run to put the Bulldogs (4-2, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) ahead for good.
“I think that got everyone going, the whole team,” Chubb said. “To come out there, first play of the game getting something going.”
Georgia didn’t stop — except when attempting to pass. Freshman Jacob Eason finished 5 of 17 for 29 yards with a TD and an interception.
“We’ve got to improve our ability to throw and catch the ball,” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said.
It didn’t matter much against South Carolina (2-4, 1-4), which came in next to last in the SEC at stopping the run.
“We knew they were going to come out and run the ball. We couldn’t stop them,” South Carolina linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams said. “It’s frustrating.”
Georgia came in hoping to turn around a miserable stretch where it was pounded by Ole Miss (45-14), then beaten by Tennessee on a Hail Ma ry after taking the lead seconds earlier.
“We needed this win,” Bellamy said.
“It felt good to know we are,” Michel said. “Georgia football, we’re going to run the football.”
Chubb , who had just one carry the past two games with a left-ankle sprain, was on his game from the start. He scampered 18 yards on his first carry and ended the sequence with 15-yard TD run.
Chubb added a 1-yard touchdown as the Bulldogs moved in front 14-0. The Gamecocks (2-4, 1-4) could not keep up in losing their third straight game.
“I don’t know why you’re all so surprised,” Chubb said. “We run the ball.”
It was the first time since a 2014 win over Auburn that Georgia had a pair of 100-yard rushers. Chubb was part of that, too, gaining 144 yards while Los Angeles Rams tailback Todd Gurley ran for 138.
The Gamecocks cut it to 21-14 on Rico Dowdle’s 1-yard TD run with 1:40 left. But Terry Godwin picked up South Carolina’s on-side kick attempt and took it 43 yards for a clinching score.
Georgia: The Bulldogs are a different team when Chubb is healthy. His powerful running makes Georgia’s other tailbacks in Sony Michel and Brian Herrien even more effective. The Bulldogs need help to contend in the SEC Eastern Division, but won’t go anywhere without Chubb in the lineup.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks once more struggled on offense, gaining only 108 yards in the opening half to fall into a hole they couldn’t climb out from. The three turnovers, including an interception from starting quarterback Perry Orth, did not help either.
This game had the ultimate impact on the AP Poll — the new rankings were delayed until Monday because this game was moved. While Georgia’s run game was impressive, it wasn’t a surprise particularly with Chubb in the lineup. Georgia may not get enough votes to re-enter the poll after this one.
MUSCHAMP’S BLOODY LIP
The South Carolina coach, Will Muschamp, needed a trainer to help his bloody lip. After the game, Muschamp did not know how it happened. “I got cut somewhere on the sideline,” he said.
There were few effects left over from the storm Sunday, although some letters on the stadium’s highest level were removed because a few had blown off and others were loosened by the high wins. The crowd, announced at 77,221, was not close to that number, but traffic was smooth without state troopers (they were deployed to help with recovery and cleanup) on hand to help.
Former Georgia teammates and longtime friends in Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart and Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp squared off for the first time as head coaches, although the two have coached against each other on opposing staffs.
Georgia: The Bulldogs return home next week to face struggling Vanderbilt.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks get the week off, then step out of the SEC when they return against Massachusetts on Oct. 22.