ATHENS, Ga., Sporting Alert -Georgia’s chances to reach the College Football Playoff took a big hit on Saturday after the No. 3 Bulldogs were stunned at home by South Carolina.
Coming into this game, George (5-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) had just 2 home defeats as an AP Top-3 team in the AP Poll Era, but this was the first time they were losing to an unranked opponent.
The third-ranked team in the nation entered Week 7 as one of the favored ball clubs for a playoff spot, but went down 20-17 to the Gamecocks in double overtime at home after Rodrigo Blankenship saw his 42-yard field goal attempt drifted wide left.
“That was a great college football game, and you hate for anyone to lose in that situation, especially the way it happened,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said, about to Blankenship’s missed attempt.
“My heart goes out to him in losing in that fashion.”
South Carolina (3-3, 2-2), which had entered the contest as a 20-point underdog on the road, was beating an AP Top 5 team for the first since 2010, while it was the largest upset in an SEC game since 2014 when Texas A&M beat No. 3 Auburn.
Both teams played to a 17-17 tie at the end of regulation, while the score stayed the same at the conclusion of the first overtime play.
However, Parker White, who missed a game-winning try in the first overtime, recovered put away a 24-yard FG and Blankenship, one of the top kickers in college football, failed when it was his turn.
“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,” White said.
Although they are not quite out of the runnings yet, the defeat on Saturday saw Georgia’s chance of securing a CFP spot dropped to 16 percent, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor.
The Bulldogs still have a strong schedule ahead of them and if they can win out and also bagged the SEC tournament – with the addition of that big win over Notre Dame earlier this season – then it is likely they can still make the playoff.
On Saturday, the Gamecocks overcame losing quarterback Ryan Hilinski to what looked like a knee injury, when Israel Mukuamu returned the first of his three interceptions 53 yards for a touchdown in the highlighted moments of the game.
Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm passed for 295 yards and a touchdown, but he also had four turnovers at Sanford Stadium.
“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.”