ATHENS, Ga. (AP) – A decade later, Georgia finally got back at Steve Spurrier between the hedges.

Barely.

Thomas Brown scored on a 5-yard run with 11 minutes to go, South Carolina failed to convert a 2-point conversion and No. 9 Georgia held on for a 17-15 victory over Spurrier’s Gamecocks on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) were no match for Spurrier when the Ol’ Ball Coach was at Florida, losing 11 times in 12 years. The most embarrassing defeat came in 1995, when the Gators routed Georgia 52-17 at Sanford Stadium.

Returning to the Bulldogs’ hallowed home in his first season as South Carolina’s coach, Spurrier came without the dynamic offense that symbolized his Florida heyday. But the Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1) gave Georgia all it could handle.

Clinging to a 10-9 lead, Georgia finally wore down the Gamecocks with its running game. Quarterback D.J. Shockley scampered 14 yards, Danny Ware broke off a 16-yard gain and Thomas Brown did the rest. The sophomore carried five times for 33 yards on the drive, capped by his TD with 11:24 left.

Brown finished with 144 yards on 20 carries, leading Georgia’s 238-yard effort on the ground.

But the Gamecocks weren’t done.

On third-and-18, Blake Mitchell spotted a safety blitz and connected with Syvelle Newton over the middle for a 34-yard pass. Going down the middle again, Mitchell threw a 24-yard pass to Sidney Rice. Finally, Mitchell found Rice on a 4-yard touchdown play with 6:52 remaining.

A missed extra point earlier in the game was crucial, forcing the Gamecocks to go for two. Mitchell overthrew Rice, preserving Georgia’s narrow lead.

South Carolina got the ball once more with just over a minute to go, but went four-and-out deep in Georgia’s territory.

Booed every time he was shown on the scoreboard, Spurrier trotted to midfield for a quick handshake with Georgia’s Mark Richt, then headed off the field to jeers from the crowd.

Spurrier never hid his animosity for Georgia, which goes back to his days as Heisman-winning quarterback at Florida. And the Bulldog faithful had been eager for revenge since that 95 debacle, feeling Spurrier ran up the score when he called for a late touchdown pass that made Florida the first visiting team ever to score 50 points at Sanford Stadium.

After leaving the Gators for two forgettable seasons in the NFL, Georgia got its chance when Spurrier took over a rebuilding job at South Carolina.

Mitchell and Shockley came in as the nation’s top-rated quarterbacks, but this was a defensive struggle all the way.

Shockley, who tied a Georgia record with five touchdown passes the previous week, threw two interceptions in the first half – one that was returned for a South Carolina touchdown, the other picked off by the Gamecocks in the end zone. For the game, he was 8-for-17 for 112 yards.

Mitchell completed 22 of 34 for 236 yards, but also was intercepted twice. South Carolina managed just 43 yards rushing.

Shockley scored Georgia’s first touchdown on a spectacular 15-yard run, flipping head over heels as he soared into the end zone. Otherwise, it was a mostly forgettable day for the senior who played so well in his first college start, a 48-13 rout of Boise State.

Johnathan Joseph returned an interception 42 yards for South Carolina’s first TD, grabbing a ball that was tipped by teammate Ko Simpson. But Josh Brown’s extra point ricocheted off the upright, leaving Georgia with a 7-6 lead.

That proved to be crucial.

South Carolina also missed a 46-yard field goal.

AP-ES-09-10-05 2110EDT


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