ATHENS, Georgia (Ticker) -- Brian Scott's leaping 16-yard touchdown catch with 1:22 remaining gave 21st-ranked South Carolina a stunning 14-9 victory over No. 24 Georgia in the Southeastern Conference opener for both schools.
Scott outjumped cornerback Bruce Thornton at the goal line to haul in Phil Petty's pass and fell into the end zone to put South Carolina (2-0, 1-0 SEC East) in front.
"I told coach that I could beat (Thornton) 1-on-1," Scott said. "I made the play and scored the touchdown. It was one of my biggest catches in college."
Trailing by just two points, South Carolina coach Lou Holtz ran the ball twice from the 16-yard line before deciding to put the ball in the air.
"I did not want to put too much pressure on the placekicker," Holtz said. "There was a lot of discussion about what to run, but in the end, Skip (offensive coordinator Skip Holtz) made the call."
On Georgia's first play from scrimmage, sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Garrison intercepted David Greene's pass at the Bulldogs' 36 and returned it 22 yards to seal the win.
The Gamecocks scored early and late en route to their first victory in Athens since 1993. They had not beaten Georgia in consecutive seasons since 1988-89.
"Last year, when Georgia lost, they said it was a fluke. We did what we had to do to get the win," Scott said. "It took 60 minutes to beat them."
Georgia (1-1, 0-1 SEC East) managed just three field goals by Billy Bennett. The Bulldogs drove to the South Carolina 1-yard line late in the fourth quarter but took two penalties and settled for a 27-yarder by Bennett that gave them their first lead of the night, 9-7.
"The offense looked like we were dead," Greene said. "We did not make the plays we needed to. There was always one guy, whether it was me, a lineman or a receiver, we did not make the play. We just could not put it in the end zone.
"The defense played great. There is no reason for us not to win when the defense plays that good."
Special teams set up the game's first score as Derek Watson returned the opening kickoff 66 yards to the Georgia 31. Six plays later, Andrew Pinnock went off right guard for a one-yard touchdown. It was the last time either team reached the end zone until the final 82 seconds.
The Bulldogs answered with a 55-yard drive that was capped by a 45-yard field goal by Bennett. But he missed from 44 yards on Georgia's next possession.
Late in the second quarter, Terrence Edwards dropped a sure touchdown pass in the end zone and Greene was intercepted by safety Willie Offord at the 1-yard line on the next play.
"There were a lot of missed opportunities -- the missed field goal, the blocked field goal, the dropped ball in the end zone," first-year Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We can't fault the kids, they played hard. ... I made my share of mistakes, as well. We played hard enough to win but not smart enough to win."
Bennett's 38-yard field goal with four seconds left in the second quarter got the Bulldogs within 7-6 at halftime.
Georgia appeared set to take the lead early in the third quarter after taking the second-half kickoff and moving to the South Carolina 20. But Bennett's 37-yarder was blocked by defensive tackle Langston Moore.
With just over 5 1/2 minutes left in the game, Petty hit Watson on a screen pass. But linebacker Will Witherspoon read the play and jarred the ball loose. Thornton picked up the fumble and returned it 29 yards to the Gamecocks' 10.
Georgia got to the 1 but was called for illegal procedure and delay of game. On 3rd-and-goal at the 11, backup quarterback Cory Phillips was stopped from one yard and Bennett kicked the go-ahead field goal.
"In the second half, we did not get anything going," Richt said. "As good as our defense played, we did not put any points on the board. The biggest thing that hurt us in the game was the inability to make the big play when we needed to."
Petty completed 19-of-29 passes for 193 yards without the aid of a rushing attack. Hobbled by an injury, Watson was held to 21 yards on 14 carries.
Greene was 21-of-33 for 169 yards and an interception for the Bulldogs.