Georgia football fans can blame a couple of guys from Berkeley County for their Bulldogs' 20-17 upset loss to South Carolina on Saturday.
It was former Goose Creek High star Javon Kinlaw who applied pressure to quarterback Jake Fromm all day, including at a crucial moment in the game just before halftime.
Tied 10-10 with about a minute left in the second quarter, Kinlaw, a defensive tackle for the Gamecocks, chased Fromm out of the pocket, forcing the quarterback to backpedal.
Fromm heaved a desperation throw to the sideline, and that’s when Berkeley High’s Israel Mukuamu leaped into action.
The defensive back snatched the pass for the interception and took it 53 yards for the touchdown.
“Those guys work really hard and when they get pressure on the quarterback, they rattle the quarterback and they can't throw the ball,” Mukuamu said about Kinlaw’s efforts. “It helps us a lot.”
The two Lowcountry products received SEC honors for their performances. On Monday, Mukuamu was named the conference's defensive player of the week and Kinlaw was named the defensive lineman of the week.
Mukuamu had 11 tackles and three interceptions in the game. Kinlaw had four tackles and a sack.
Mukuamu, a sophomore, is originally from Moncks Corner but played his senior year of high school in Louisiana. Still, he left his mark at Berkeley High, logging 69 tackles in 2016 en route to a 9-3 record with the Stags.
Kinlaw was a four-star recruit out of Goose Creek, but detoured at a junior college in Mississippi to improve his grades prior to attending USC.
“All I can say is I left it all out there,” Kinlaw said after Saturday’s game. “In critical situations, the best players have to be on the field at all times.”
Mukuamu’s touchdown gave South Carolina a 17-10 lead at the half. From there, the defense continued to stifle the Bulldogs. The game went into double overtime, with the Gamecocks finally securing the upset with a field goal. Georgia’s 17 points is its lowest total of the season, coming after they hung 43 on Tennessee.
Kinlaw said the upset is the second best feeling he’s had this year. The first was the birth of his daughter, Eden.
For Mukuamu, the performance came one day after his family celebrated another big football win.
Goose Creek quarterback Emmanuel Mukuamu, Israel's younger brother, led the Gators to a 35-27 victory over Berkeley on Friday with 258 passing yards and three touchdowns, and another 118 rushing yards and a score.