COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 3 Georgia is confident its dominant win over South Carolina won’t be the only major statement it makes this season.

The Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) made quick and easy work of the previously ranked Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1) in a 41-7 victory on Saturday. The game figured to be an early test of whether Georgia, which lost stellar NFL players like linebacker Roquan Smith and tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, could build and move forward from its College Football Playoff run in 2017.

“We knew we were going to have to make a statement,” Georgia offensive lineman Lamont Gaillard said. “And that’s what we did.”

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Georgia took control early with Deandre Baker’s interception and return in the game’s first minute (Baker’s sure pick six turned into a fumble recovery score by teammate Juwan Taylor after Baker dropped the ball early) and Georgia rarely let up. Three third quarter touchdowns where the Bulldogs outgained South Carolina 226 yards to 35 put the game out of reach.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart was pleased with his team’s focus and execution much of the contest. It won’t mean much, he added, if his team does not maintain a similar drive to achieve he’s seen since the Bulldogs’ demoralizing overtime loss to the Crimson Tide in the national championship game this past January.

“They’ve got to continue to get better for us to be the kind of team we need to be, for us to go where we want to go,” Smart said. “We’re not there yet.”

Although, the Bulldogs’ path to get there seems clearer, even this early in the season.