It's not often that South Carolina-Georgia games turn into shootouts. It happens occasionally -- as it did in 2009, the last time the rivalry traveled through Athens -- but generally they are low-scoring, closely-fought affairs.
This year was a little of both. The game was close -- there were seven lead changes in a game decided by a field goal -- but it was also a barnburner, with 87 total points. In the end, it was South Carolina claiming a second straight win in the series for the first time in a decade and taking the inside track in their bid to repeat as SEC East champions.
Whichever team had won, it shows the major flaw in the two teams that essentially split the preseason consensus on who would win the SEC East: Defense. Both defenses had some great moments at times, and had some questionable ones at other points in the game. You don't pass the 800-yard mark in a game with the kind of defensive play we're accustomed to seeing in SEC division champions.
That makes it all the more ironic that the key player in the game was one of South Carolina's defensive linemen: Melvin Ingram. Ingram had a 68-yard touchdown run off a fake punt, scooped up an Aaron Murry fumble and carried it five yards for another touchdown and snagged an onsides kick at the end of the game that allowed the Gamecocks to wear down the clock.
Despite the odd off throw -- including a terrible interception that was returned for a touchdown -- Murray still showed why he's a rising star among SEC quarterbacks, tossing four touchdowns in what could be one of the last gasps of the Mark Richt Era at Georgia.
South Carolina is by no means in the clear, and there's still plenty of time for Georgia -- or Florida or maybe Tennessee, which has looked strong so far -- to catch up. But for now, South Carolina gets a clean start in the SEC East. Warts and all, that's not a bad thing to have.