Chants, ‘Cocks, Tigers put perfect records on the line

Off to its worst start in 15 years and with its head coach in perhaps the hottest hot seat in the nation, Georgia looks to catch its breath Saturday when it plays host to Coastal Carolina.

The Chanticleers are 2-0 for the first time since 2005, outscoring the opposition 50-26 in victories over Furman and Catawba.  Quarterback Aramis Hillary ranks first in the Big South Conference in passing efficiency and completion percentage, but Coastal Carolina rushed for only 13 yards in last week’s victory over Catawba.

Hillary is the key to Coastal Carolina’s offense. In two games, the junior has completed 26-of-37 passes for 350 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions, and has rushed for three touchdowns. He looks to get the ball for the majority of snaps this week after splitting time with QB/tight end Jamie Childers.

Fourteen different receivers have caught passes so far this season. The Chants figure to have trouble slowing down the Georgia offense, as Coastal Carolina has allowed 294.5 yards per game.

Coastal Carolina is 0-4 against FBS teams, losing 31-0 at then-No. 25 ranked West Virginia last season. They won’t catch the Bulldogs sleeping this time.
After losing to a pair of ranked teams in Boise State and South Carolina to start the season, there is plenty of speculation surrounding the future of head coach Mark Richt.

Despite being 0-2 for the first time since 1996, there have been bright spots.  Georgia freshman running back Isaiah Crowell made a big impact last week, rushing for 118 yards against South Carolina. Crowell earned SEC co-Freshman of the Week honors by scoring two touchdowns (one rushing, one passing).

Georgia’s Brandon Boykin set a school record with seven kickoff returns for 184 yards against South Carolina, and sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray set a career high with four touchdown passes against the Gamecocks.

NAVY AT SOUTH CAROLINA

Two impressive offenses will square off Saturday in Columbia as No. 11 South Carolina hosts Navy in its home opener at Williams-Brice Stadium.

The Gamecocks, tied for fourth in the nation with 50.5 points per game, are looking to win their home opener for the fifth consecutive season.

South Carolina boasts its highest ranking since it was ranked sixth in Oct. 2007. Navy, which leads the nation in rushing at 400.5 yards per game, hasn’t beaten a ranked team since upsetting Notre Dame in 2009.

The Midshipmen haven’t beaten an opponent ranked higher than the 11th-ranked Gamecocks since knocking off No. 2 South Carolina in 1984. South Carolina leads the all-time series 4-3 and has won four of five meetings in Columbia, including the most recent one, a 19-8 victory in 1988.

The Midshipmen are 2-0 for the first time since 2006 after scoring 40 points in each of their first two games, lopsided wins against Delaware and Western Kentucky. It marks the first time Navy has topped 40 points in consecutive games since 2007.

Senior QB Kriss Proctor leads the option attack with 199 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and senior RB Alexander Teich has added 167 yards rushing. Navy last played an SEC school in 2004, when it knocked off Jay Cutler and Vanderbilt, 29-26.

The Gamecocks are trying to start 3-0 for the third time in seven seasons under coach Steve Spurrier. The Gamecocks had to rally late against the Bulldogs despite standout performances on both sides of the ball. Sophomore RB Marcus Lattimore posted the sixth 100-yard rushing game of his career with 176 yards on 27 carries, and senior QB Stephen Garcia became the third player in school history to pass for more than 7,000 yards. He ranks sixth among active FBS quarterbacks with 7,005 career passing yards.

Senior defensive end Melvin Ingram was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against Georgia. Ingram scored on a 68-yard run on a fake punt and returned a fumble for a 5-yard touchdown. Antonio Allen returned an interception 25 yards for a score, giving him a touchdown in three consecutive regular-season games dating to last season.

Spurrier is 42-0 against schools outside the BCS automatic qualifying conferences, including a 16-0 mark against non-BCS schools since taking over at South Carolina.

TV: ESPN2, 6 p.m.   LINE: South Carolina-17

AUBURN AT CLEMSON

It hasn’t been easy for Auburn, but nonetheless the19th-ranked Tigers are undefeated and carry a FBS-best 17-game winning streak into Saturday’s matchup at also-undefeated Clemson.

Expectations were low for Auburn entering the season, as the defending national champions lost most of the firepower from last season’s squad.
But the Tigers showed resiliency in rallying late to stave off Utah State in the season opener, then made a final-second goal-line stand last week to hold off Mississippi State in the SEC opener.

Clemson also is unbeaten on the season, but like Auburn, these Tigers have found things anything but easy in their first two games. Clemson trailed Troy at halftime and Wofford in the second half before steadying itself. Quarterback Tajh Boyd and running back Andre Ellington have fueled a Clemson offense averaging 472 yards per game, ranking 23rd in FBS.

The star power might not be there, but Auburn has displayed plenty of punch on offense, scoring 83 points in two games. Running back Michael Dyer rushed for 150 yards against Mississippi State. Quarterback Barrett Trotter showed poise engineering late-game scoring drives in the first two games, and passed for 261 yards and three touchdowns last week. The defense is a major concern: Auburn has allowed 36 points and 489.5 yards per game.

Offensively, it’s been the Boyd and Ellington show. Boyd has completed 38-of-59 passes for 525 yards and six touchdowns, three in each of the first two games. Ellington is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and has rushed for 254 yards, including 165 yards on 22 carries against Wofford. The Tigers rank in the top 30 in FBS in passing yards (29th) and rushing yards (30th).

Auburn owns a 14-game winning streak against Clemson, the past two victories coming in overtime. Clemson last defeated Auburn in 1951.
Clemson is 2-0 all time when playing host to a defending national champion, beating Georgia in 1981 and Georgia Tech in 1991.

TV: ABC, Noon. LINE: Clemson -4.

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