This time, however, Cox turned in a winning performance in spite of a nagging shoulder injury, helping to lead the Bulldogs to a 41-37 win over South Carolina.
“He handled it tremendously,” wide receiver Tavarres King said of the controversy surrounding Cox leading up to game day. “He handled all the things coming at him, came out confidence in himself and confident in us. We put our confidence in him, and you saw what happened. He just balled out.”
Reports surfaced Thursday that Cox might not be able to play Saturday, and that Logan Gray would step in as the team’s quarterback. Cox admitted that he is suffering from a shoulder injury, but he said the severity was overstated.
“It’s not something that’s getting worse and worse and worse,” Cox said. “It’s been the same the whole year, and I get enough treatment on it to feel good enough to play, and it’s going to be fine all year.”
Cox completed 17-of-24 passes in the game for 201 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t all highlights. His interception early in the fourth quarter was returned for a touchdown by Eric Norwood, pulling the Gamecocks to within one.
“I knew we were going to throw the ball, and it was one of those things where I could work either side. I kind of saw Norwood and was like, hmmm, but I decided to throw it anyway and he made a good play.”
Beyond the interception, however, Cox was the leader Georgia needed, tailback Richard Samuel said, and the win was a nice reminder of why he’s the Bulldogs’ quarterback.
“He has to be the leader of the offense, so he can’t let the critics get to him,” Samuel said. “This win was a good one for him.”