By Rixon Lane
On a September evening over 20 years ago, the Georgia Bulldogs came to Williams-Brice Stadium and scored 24 points.
It hasn't happened since.
South Carolina's most prominent Eastern division rival hasn't topped 20 points in Columbia in two decades.
It started with a Heisman-caliber quarterback and a team of destiny. The Gamecocks opened the 1994 season at home against Georgia. The Bulldogs were led by Eric Zeier, a senior gunslinger and a popular choice for the Heisman Trophy. South Carolina found out why, as Zeier riddled the Gamecock secondary for 485 yards on the night.
Despite Georgia's high-flying ariel assault, USC had a chance to pull out the win. However, a late interception from Steve Taneyhill sealed deep in Bulldog territory sealed the win for UGA.
Zeier wouldn't wind up winning the Heisman, but he would be named a first-team All-American. Georgia finished the year with a 6-4-1 record. South Carolina would bounce back from the loss and become the first Gamecock team to ever win a bowl game, finishing 7-5.
Since that night, nine Georgia teams have ventured into Williams-Brice Stadium. Seven of them won bowl games. Two won the Eastern division crown. One finished as champion of the SEC.
But none scored 21 points.
Georgia has averaged 13.2 points in its last nine trips to Columbia. By comparison, the Bulldogs have averaged 29 in the last 10 meetings with the Gamecocks in Athens. Georgia has scored 41, 42, and 41 in the last three border showdowns held in Sanford Stadium.
The last three in Williams-Brice?
14, 6, and 7.
The list of Bulldogs who have not broken the 20-point barrier in Columbia is astounding. Among them are Champ Bailey, Orson Charles, Knowshon Moreno, Matthew Stafford, David Greene and A.J. Green.
While Georgia hasn't been able to put three touchdowns on the board in Williams-Brice in 20 years, plenty of other opponents have found a way. If you take out all SEC foes and Clemson, there are still eight non-conference teams that have score over 20 in Columbia since 1994; Louisiana Tech, East Carolina, Central Florida, Marshall, New Mexico State, Temple, Troy, and Navy.
All in all, Georgia's inability to score in the Capitol City has helped the Gamecocks win four of the last nine contests in Columbia and seven of 12 in the rivalry since 1994. In fact, until last year's 31-17 victory to end the regular season, South Carolina had the same number of wins over Clemson and Georgia in the last 19 seasons.
None of this will mean anything if a suspect Gamecock defense allows the Bulldogs to run wild on Saturday. Behind Heisman candidate Todd Gurley, the Bulldogs can seemingly put points on the board against anyone.
But if Georgia sputters again on Saturday night?
The curse lives.