Gamecocks upend No.3 Georgia in double overtime

College Sports

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Israel Mukuamu returned the first of his three interceptions 53 yards for a touchdown and South Carolina took advantage of Jake Fromm’s four turnovers to beat No. 3 Georgia 20-17 in double overtime on Saturday.

Parker White’s 23-yard field goal in the second overtime proved to be enough when Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship was wide left on his attempt from 42 yards. Blankenship’s second miss of the game sent South Carolina players charging onto the field to celebrate the upset.

White missed a 33-yard attempt in the first overtime.

“I had confidence that I was going to get to go out there and have a chance to win the game for us in the next overtime,” he said.

Georgia (5-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) suffered a big hit to its national championship hopes. The Bulldogs, favored by 24½ points, could not overcome three interceptions and a lost fumble by Fromm, the senior quarterback known for avoiding mistakes. Fromm did not throw an interception in the Bulldogs’ first five games.

“You can’t beat anybody when you have a 4-0 turnover margin,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “We didn’t force any on defense. We didn’t cause any problems on defense and we didn’t take care of the ball.”

The Gamecocks gave up 468 total yards but showed surprising strength to contain Georgia’s rushing attack. The Bulldogs averaged 250 yards rushing, leading the Southeastern Conference, before being held to 173.

The Bulldogs expected to have a commanding advantage on each line, but they could not wear down South Carolina’s defense as they had against previous opponents.

On the second play of overtime, Fromm’s pass glanced off the hands of receiver Tyler Simmons and was intercepted by Mukuamu.

Fromm tied the game for Georgia with less than two minutes in regulation, capping a 96-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Demetris Robertson.

White, who made a 49-yard field goal in the first half, missed a 57-yarder with 40 seconds remaining to give the Bulldogs one final possession in regulation.

Fromm moved the Bulldogs to the South Carolina 38, in possible position for Blankenship to attempt a winning field goal. An illegal shift penalty pushed Georgia back five yards, out of field goal range as regulation ended.

South Carolina (3-3, 2-2) took its first win over a ranked opponent since beating No. 18 Tennessee in 2016. It was an important signature win for coach Will Muschamp over his alma mater.

“That was a great college football game, and you hate for anyone to lose in that situation, especially the way it happened,” Muschamp said, referring to Blankenship’s final miss. “My heart goes out to him in losing in that fashion.”

The Gamecocks won despite losing quarterback Ryan Hilinski to an apparent knee injury, the severity of which was unclear immediately after the game.

Hilinski completed 15 of 20 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown before leaving after a late hit in the third quarter. Georgia linebacker Adam Anderson was penalized for roughing the passer.

Fromm threw no interceptions on 111 passes through five games, but his first giveaway in the second quarter was costly.

Pressure from the South Carolina defense forced Fromm to attempt a pass off his back foot. The floater, intended for George Pickens, was intercepted by Mukuamu, whose 53-yard return gave the Gamecocks the lead.

With Georgia driving for a potential tying touchdown, Fromm fumbled the first snap of the fourth quarter. T.J. Brunson recovered for the Gamecocks at the South Carolina 29.

Hilinski’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Edwards in the first quarter gave the Gamecocks a 7-3 lead.

D’Andre Swift, who ran for 113 yards, had a 1-yard scoring run early in the second quarter.

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