When undefeated Georgia and once-defeated South Carolina take a run at each other Saturday (WJLA TV-7 at 12:30 p.m.), nearly 60,000 fans will be seeing a game within a game.
The smaller contest will feature perhaps the two best running backs in the nation: Georgia's fabulous freshman, Herschel Walker, and South Carolina's Heisman Trophy candidate, George Rogers.
Walker is the Southeast Conference's leading rusher and is seventh in the nation with 877 yards. He has runs for 414 yards in the Bulldogs' last two games, including 283 against Vanderbilt two weeks ago. "Herschel Walker may be the best college back I've ever seen," said Georgia alumnus and former NFL great Fran Tarkenton last week to a national television audience on Monday Night Football.
Walker, who runs the 100-yard dash in 9.4 seconds, stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 220 pounds. He is matched in size and speed by Rogers, who is the same height and five pounds heavier. Pro scouts have compared Rogers, a senior, to Earl Campbell because of his power, speed and strength.
Rogers, relatively unknown until this season, is averaging 155.6 yards per game for the 14th-ranked Gamecocks (7-0), second in the NCAA, and already has gained 1,089 yards. He was second in total rushing last season to Heisman winner Charles White, but finished seventh in the voting for the award. Rogers will have extra incentive today because he will be playing in his home state and because his father, just released from an eight-year prison term after being convicted of murder, will be watching his son play football for the first time.
Georgia Coach Vince Dooley said five weeks ago he was looking forward to this contest. Dooley, whose term is 6-1, now says South Carolina's "crushing type offense" will have to be contained inside to keep the Gamecocks from winning their third straight game over Georgia.
The Bulldog defense has been weak against the run, allowing 268 yards per game rushing. South Carolina ran over Georgia for 605 yards the last two years.
"We'll try to be a little tighter inside than what our alignment calls for," Dooley said this week. "But we'll try not to go so far as to make ourselves vulnerable to the outside."