Georgia Bulldogs Lead the Nation in Turnover Margin
Turnovers have been the spark that has ignited the 2014 Georgia defense under Jeremy Pruitt. UGA is currently the top team in the nation when it comes to taking the ball away from the opposing offense. The Bulldogs turnover margin is +13. As for the Gators, Florida is nowhere to be found in the top fifty. In fact, UF is currently tied for 59th best in the country when it comes to turnover margin.
Gator Offense Sinking in The Swamp The quarterback position has been a revolving door for the Gators in 2014. True freshman Treon Harris seems to be the favorite to get the start for Florida this afternoon, as fourth-year junior Jeff Driskel cannot seem to get out of his own way.
Bottom Line: Provided Georgia can avoid unforced errors, they will extend their win streak over Florida to four for the first time since the ’80s.
The video below is from the YouTube Channel of Saturday Down South. The content focuses on UGA shutting out Missouri on the road a few weeks ago.
Angry Dawgs Face Desperate Tigers
In preparation for Georgia-Florida week, embattled former Dawg turned Gator head coach Will Muschamp said he is adopting a bunker mentality for the rest of the season. Memo to coach Muschamp; if you do not make a bowl game, be on the lookout for friendly fire. Still, if Muschamp is looking for a war, his Gators are certainly in for a fight this weekend.
All of Bulldog Nation has been waiting with baited breath to hear back from the NCAA regarding the eligibility of star tailback Todd Gurley. While the outcome was not favorable as it relates to week ten, UGA will get Gurley back in time for a showdown with Auburn. It should not matter come Saturday afternoon, as Nick Chubb gets the opportunity to leave his sizable paw print on the Gators’ backside.
Briefly Addressing Todd Gurley
The National Collegiate Athletic Association has many issues to address related to the profit made on the back of amateurism, and the issue of player likeness, but it is fortunate that Todd Gurley’s eligibility will be restored at all. Given the statement released by the NCAA, the punishment certainly could have been worse.
Muschamp Faces Must Win
At present, Georgia faces a dysfunctional Florida team coming off of an abysmal 42-13 loss at home to the Missouri Tigers. The Gators have lost two straight, with three conference loses already on their record, the Florida faithful (if there is such a thing) are ready to chomp Will Muschamp.
History Lesson: When is the Last time Georgia Beat Florida Four Times in a Row?
Prior to their current roll, the last time Georgia won three straight games in this rivalry occurred from 1987-1989, Should the Dawgs extend their UF win streak to four, it would be their longest string of consecutive victories in the series since 1978-1983, when Bulldog Nation took six in a row from the hated Gators.
The fallout from a fourth straight loss to UGA would be more than enough reason for the Gators to go head coach hunting in the offseason. Personally, I hope Florida retains their current head man. Competing with Florida is fun, beating them is so much sweeter.
Georgia Versus Florida. Picking A Winner Using the Transitive Property
Based on the transitive property, since Georgia beat Missouri by 34 points, and the Tigers turned around to maul the Gators by 29 the very next week, UGA will defeat UF by 63 points.
As much fun as the above prognostication was, in reality, 2014 is likely to be a very heated chapter in the Georgia-Florida story. The Gator coaching staff is fighting for their jobs with every single down, while UGA seeks to represent the SEC East in the Georgia Dome. So long as the Dawgs do not beat themselves, Bulldog Nation will start the month of November with a victory.
Prediction: Georgia 27, Florida 17. Bonus Pick – Coach Muschamp Will be Angry
34-0: Offensive Line Manhandles, Defense Dominates
Georgia’s road trip to Missouri resulted in a 34-0 mauling of the Tigers. The shutout was a combination of a sound defensive game plan, precise execution, and UGA’s ability to take full advantage of Mizzou miscues. Credit must also be given to sensational freshman Nick Chubb. Chubb was the centerpiece for the Bulldog offense, touching the ball a whopping 42 times.
Hutson Mason played his role of game manager perfectly. Normally, I shy away from labeling any player but the Dawgs are built to push people around and run the football.
The contest was far from a thing of beauty, but Georgia reminded skeptics football is a team sport which does not revolve around one player. With 38 carries, Nick Chubb turned in 174 yards, announcing to the college football world that the time is now for the true freshman tailback. While the immediate future of Todd Gurley as a student athlete at UGA is clouded in uncertainty, Georgia fans can rest easy knowing the Dawgs have a plethora of talented ball carriers.
Good Dawgs do not Beat Themelves
Much has been made of Hutson Mason’s apparent unwillingness to throw the ball down the field. Much to the chagrin of the Show Me State, Matty Mauk and friends turned the ball over a whopping five times, some of which can be credited to the Bulldog D, but sloppy play certainly played a role as well. If Hutson Mason is able to get the ball downfield with any regularity, Georgia is the favorite in the SEC East with or without Todd Gurley.
Georgia Defense Makes History
The goose egg laid by the Tigers marks the first shutout ever for Georgia Bulldog football against a ranked opponent. The University of Georgia has been playing football since 1892. Basic math skills tell UGA has been playing with a pigskin for more than a century. Given all the talented defenses the program has had, it is both encouraging and surprising that the 2014 Dawgs accomplished something previously unachieved.
Immediate Future Hangs in the Balance
Whether Todd Gurley plays another down in a Georgia uniform or not, this team has no excuses as far as achieving a ten-win season and representing the East in Atlanta. Georgia is now back in the top-ten, but Bulldog Nation needs Gurley available in order stake their claim as a legitimate contender.
Thankfully, Georgia has more depth at running back in 2014.
Showdown in the Show Me State at Noon
Georgia travels to Missouri for a date with the Tigers this weekend. The road team has won the first two games in the series as this new conference rivalry remains in its infancy. In 2013, Missouri stunned Georgia between the hedges, defeating the Bulldogs 41-26. The Tigers went on to win the SEC East, while injury riddled UGA struggled to an 8-5 season.
SEC East Destiny
Thanks to the Kentucky Wildcats, Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks would need a miracle to get back in the conference race. The Dawgs are once again in control of their own destiny, but they must find a way to win on the road this weekend to avoid falling two games behind the Tigers. Missouri’s lone blemish this season came in a non-conference tilt against Indiana.
Will the Real Hutson Mason Please Stand up The Hutson Mason era has not gotten off to the smooth start Bulldog Nation was hoping for. In defeating Vanderbilt 44-17 last Saturday, the fifth-year senior quarterback shared a few snaps with Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta. Star tailback Todd Gurley even found time to complete a pass when he was not running over the commodores. These shenanigans are cute for a highlight film, but Georgia needs a consistent quarterback if the Dawgs are to realize their potential this season.
Todd Gurley Show may not Last a Full Season
The Todd Gurley show has become must-see television for college football fans. Regardless, one has to wonder whether his spellbinding contributions can last a full season giving his current work load. Since he is clearly the big Dawg, Bulldog Nation must continue to feed the beast, while making sure Gurley does not bite off more than he can chew.
UGA Must Contain Matty Mauk The young Georgia defense is in another unenviable position this Saturday. The Missouri Tigers have a balanced spread attack, led by trigger man Matty Mauk. Mauk’s athleticism allows him to extend plays, which spells trouble for a Bulldog secondary that has had trouble covering the opposition. Jeremy Pruitt’s defense has shown noticeable signs of improvement, but a shootout with Mizzou seems inevitable.
Georgia – Missouri by the numbers Statistics dictate the Bulldogs will continue their run first approach. In losing to the Hooseirs of Indiana Missouri gave up more than 230 yards on the ground. While the Dawg secondary has been vulnerable, they have picked off at least four passes this season. When a turnover opportunity knocks, Georgia needs to answer the door.
With games against Florida, Auburn, and dare I say the Kentucky Wildcats looming, UGA cannot afford to be two games behind the Missouri Tigers. The #13 Bulldogs are likely to be favored, but Mizzou represents a huge roadblock back to the top of the division. Look for Georgia to win a hotly contested game on the road.
Rocky Top Calling The Bulldogs Bulldog Nation plays host to the Tennessee Volunteers this weekend. UGA is coming off their most lopsided win in more than five decades, while Butch Jones and the Vols seek to prove they can be competitive in the Southeastern Conference. The contest is the conference opener for the Vols, whereas the Dawgs need a win to get back to .500 in SEC play.
2013: Georgia won the Battle, the War Took A Toll
Last year, the trip to Knoxville was a nightmare averted for Georgia. Though they left Neyland Stadium with an overtime victory by a final score of 34-31, the 2013 Bulldogs were never the same. In fact, Georgia lost their next two games following the close call in Rocky Top.
Dawgs Running Free
Georgia’s rushing attack ranks among the most lethal in the country this year. Led by Todd Gurley, the Bulldogs have run over and through the competition. In an era where the no-huddle spread offense is dominating college football, the Dawgs pro style, run first approach is a breath of fresh air.
Under Pressure – Bulldogs must bite Justin Worley
Georgia’s secondary has had trouble finding the football throughout the first month of the season. To make matters worse, injuries have caused the defensive backfield to become a revolving door of healthy bodies. While Tennessee is a young team, their most experienced player is at quarterback.
Volunteer head coach Butch Jones has indicated both wide outs in question are dealing with a high ankle sprain. Junior-college transfer Von Pearson is not going to participate in Saturday’s contest, but fellow Volunteer Josh Smith is still hoping to suit up.
Georgia – Tennesee: Picking a Winner
Bulldog Nation has won the last four contests in this storied rivalry. Tennessee football has yet to recover from their quick hook of Phillip Fulmer, which should serve as a reminder to those UGA fans who seem to want a new head coach every time the wind blows in the wrong direction.
As with most pigskin parties, this game will be won at the line of scrimmage. If Georgia succeeds in imposing their will at the line of scrimmage, this one could get ugly. On the other hand, if Justin Worley is allowed time to throw, Tennessee has just enough talent to mount a balanced offensive attack. Prediction: Dawgs 31, Tennessee 21.
Georgia’s championship hopes may rest on the arm of Hutson Mason.
Georgia Train Wrecks Right On Schedule
It is hard to find more staunch supporters of Georgia football and Mark Richt than us here at UGAMADDAWG. Still, there was a disheartening sense of familiarity in Georgia’s performance on Saturday night. UGA has a developed a laundry list of signature losses, which make this past weekend’s disappointment more difficult to swallow.
If it Were not for bad Luck…
The above is not intended to blame Georgia UGA head coach Mark Richt. Coach Richt did not advise Hutson Mason to redefine intentional grounding in a single play. Coaching had nothing to do with Marshall Morgan missing two critical field goal attempts. Sometimes if it were not for bad luck, Georgia would not have any luck at all.
There are a lot of people that would take issue with the argument above. After all, if a team executes properly, they need not concern themselves with luck. The fact is, Bulldog Naton had ample opportunity to leave Carolina with a win and they could not. Still, faith in the Dawgs must never waiver and Georgia pride is not based on wins and losses.
Unintended Intentional Grounding
Bulldog signal-caller Hutson Mason made a terrible mistake resulting in him getting flagged for intentional grounding on first and goal from the four yard line. There is a lot of football left to be played, but Hutson Mason needs to step up if he does not want his Georgia career to be remembered for the game changing gaffe he made last night. While I cannot speak to the accuracy of the call in question, the less left up to referee’s discretion, the better.
Pruitt Serves up Prune Juice
I have no doubt Jeremy Pruitt will succeed in his mission to rebuild UGA’s defense. With that said, week three was a harsh reminder of how far the Dawg defense has to go. With the exception of one big play, the Bulldog D was nothing short of terrible. Still, growing pains are to be expected. Jeremy Pruitt has been the defensive coordinator at the University of Georgia for two games. Practice makes perfect, but there is no way to simulate game speed.
Todd Gurley led an impressive Georgia rushing attack again. TGIII carried the ball 20 times for 131 yards and a touchdown. If the zebras had not made a very questionable holding call, Gurley would have run for nearly 200 yards. The Bulldogs have the pieces in place to be special, but now they must work to improve every time out.
Steve Spurrier Strikes Again
The college football calendar is not yet a month old. Bulldog Nation always has cause for concern when the Ole’ Ball Coach comes calling, because coach Spurrier won his 16th game against Georgia this past weekend. According to the AL, this total marks the most wins against Georgia by any coach.
The Bulldogs welcome Troy between the hedges this weekend. In all likelihood, the game will serve as a tune-up before the Bulldogs resume Southeastern Conference play in week five.
Georgia – South Carolina – Expectations Versus Hope Bulldog Nation expects to contend for the Southeastern Conference Championship. The Gamecocks hope the past two weeks were not a harbinger of things to come. After giving up 52 points at home in the SEC opener, Steve Spurrier and South Carolina enter week three with their backs against the conference wall. Still, the Ole’ Ball Coach has made a living turning Bulldogs into bad Dawgs.
Bulldog Nation – Maintain Momentum
Sanford Stadium featured a raucous crowd firmly behind the home team, leading UGA to a convincing week one win over Clemson. Now, the Bulldogs must visit South Carolina to face a desperate conference foe. The Dawgs must not give Cocky and company anything easy early, as Georgia has the talent to pull away late.
Feed the Beast – Embrace the Heisman Hype
Todd Gurley leads the way with regard to early Heisman Trophy hype. After scoring four touchdowns in the first game of 2014, the eyes of the college football world are on TGIII. Bulldog Nation has a stable of running backs in its arsenal. TGIII leads the way, but running backs such as Keith Marshall, Nick Chubb, and Sony Michel have proven able to contribute when called upon.
Jeremy Pruitt Makes Immediate Impact in Athens
Georgia’s biggest move this past offseason occurred off the field when the Dawgs hired Jeremy Pruitt to be their defensive coordinator. In 2013, Pruitt’s FSU defense dominated college football. At present, the Bulldogs appear poised to bring defensive dominance back between the hedges. Let us not get ahead of ourselves though, two great quarters only represents progress, not a finished product.
South Carolina’s Secondary Sucks
Georgia’s running game was special in week one. However, the Gamecock’s biggest weakness is found in their secondary. After giving up more than 500 yards through the air against the Aggies of A&M, Carolina gave up 321 more passing yards to East Carolina last week.
If one puts their ear to the crowd anywhere in the college football universe it is almost possible to hear the Georgia bandwagon piling up. From a fan standpoint the hype is a lot of fun, but it will be interesting to see whether UGA can manage expectations. As for the opposition, Steve Spurrier’s mouth is the only thing crowing right now in Carolina.
Prediction: Georgia Bulldogs 31, South Carolina Gamecocks 17.
Other than Steve Spurrier’s propensity to make life miserable for Georgia, there is not much to indicate the Gamecocks can keep up with the Bulldogs. South Carolina has looked average at best, while UGA is in pretty much every early College Football Playoff bracket. If South Carolina is victorious Saturday afternoon, it will speak far more about Georgia being overrated than the fighting Spurrier’s being underrated.
For what it’s worth, Steve Spurrier has a record of 15-6 coaching against the University of Georgia. Even so, five of those losses have come during his tenure in Carolina. The father of the “fun n’ gun” offense may not have much fun in 2014.
UPDATE: Urgent Memo to Georgia – Be on the lookout for fake punts.
Georgia Pummels Clemson in the Second Half Georgia versus Clemson was a tale of two halves. The first act was altogether unimpressive. UGA gave up 254 yards on defense, resulting in the game being tied at 21 as the teams headed to the locker room. During the final two frames, Georgia not only tamed the tigers, they slayed the tigers. Bulldog Nation pitched a shutout in the second half while outscoring the Tigers 24-0 in the last 30 minutes of the game.
Dawgs Run Wild Between The Hedges
Having options at running back is nice, but Todd Gurley is clearly the big Dawg in Sanford Stadium. His production on Saturday night, including 293 all-purpose yards, proves the Dawgs carry a championship level bite when #3 is able to shoulder the loud. TGIII finished the opening contest with 198 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Wearing #27, Nick Chubb had a 47 yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to break the will of the Clemson defense.
A Damn Good Dawg Debut On the other side of the ball, Jeremy Pruitt’s defense settled down nicely after giving up 13 first downs in the opening quarter quarter and turned in an impressive performance against Clemson. If the starters can stay healthy, coach Pruitt should expect to continue his meteoric rise through the coaching ranks.
The Bulldogs came out even on the turnover ratio in week one. The fumble charged against Georgia was questionable, as what was originally ruled an incompletion to Michael Bennett turned out to be a fumble upon further review. Thankfully, the mistake turned out to be nothing more than a blip on the radar.
Will Georgia’s Bite Be Worse Than Their Bark?
There is reason to be excited in Athens. Georgia possesses a seemingly endless stable of running backs, led by a fifth-year senior signal caller. As long as Hutson Mason is able to make big throws when the running game opens up the throwing lanes, the sky is the limit for the UGA offense.
Defensively, linebacker Leonard Floyd is poised to continue wreaking havoc on the Southeastern Conference. Selected as a preseason All-American by ESPN, Floyd is the face of coach Pruitt’s defensive unit. Pressuring the quarterback will be the key to the Bulldogs’ season.
What A Difference One Game Makes UGA issued a resounding statement on opening night and the Dawgs now find themselves in the championship conversation. Following a bye-week, Georgia will look to build on their success in a pivotal Southeastern Conference contest against a wounded Gamecock squad that laid an egg against the Aggies in week one. Steve Spurrier has been a constant thorn in the Dawgs’ paw, but this year’s South Carolina squad found out that the hard way that it takes a lot more than a mouthy head coach to win a title.
Phil Steele Predicts the Future
During a recent appearance on ESPN’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd, college football guru Phil Steele revealed his picks for the inaugural college football playoff in 2015.
Predictably, Steele opted for safe assumptions over shock value. According to Phil Steele, Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida State and Ohio State are the four teams of destiny in the upcoming season. The first major college football playoff kicks off on New Year’s Day of 2015.
Dawgs Focused on Special Teams
Throughout the past few seasons, woeful miscues on special teams have come back to bite the Georgia Bulldogs. Whether it was the blocked punt that changed the complexion of the Vanderbilt game in 2013, or the punt return UGA gave up against South Carolina in 2012, Bulldog Nation has been able to chalk up at least one loss gridiron loss a year to inexcusable errors in the kicking game.
The article on Georgia Dogs features a brief comment from Richt, “This restructuring I believe will give us the best chance to win from a recruiting and special teams standpoint”.
Discipline Wins Championships
No matter who is doing the coaching, solid special teams play can largely be attributed to discipline. Players must be ready to execute on every special teams outing. Failure to do so can make or break an entire season in one play. Just ask Alabama and Auburn.
Only 51 days remain until Georgia welcomes Clemson on August 30.
Dawgs Putting Discipline Back in Defense
According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, UGA head coach Mark Richt dismissed Tray Matthews from the team earlier this week. Matthews started six games at safety for Georgia, however his off the field problems left the Bulldogs with no alternative but to remove him from the program.
During what the AJC termed an exclusive interview, Tray Matthews stated that his unruly classroom behavior was the final straw in his dismissal.
Hopefully Nick Saban is giving our beloved coach a discipline tip. Or two.
Fret not, Bulldog Nation, for Tray Matthews says he was planning to leave anyway. Apparently, he had been waiting for the right time to inform the media. Matthews clearly has some growing up to do, and here’s hoping a change of scenery helps facilitate that.
As far as what is next for the troubled sophomore, Tray Matthews has expressed a desire to continue his college career at either Auburn or Louisville.
Task Getting Tougher for Jeremy Pruitt
Tray Matthews was not a difference maker on defense during his time in Athens. Still, there is no substitute for experience. UGA possesses the talent level to compete with any team in the country, but a lack of depth on defense is going to make a quick turnaround very difficult.
Georgia Sending a Message to Student Athletes
In the midst of another turbulent offseason for the Georgia Bulldogs, Mark Richt says the football team “is trying to make room for guys who want to do things right.” Tray Matthews is the third player who played a significant role in 2013 that has left the program this offseason. Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has his work cut out for him preparing for his first season between the hedges.
Discipline issues are a fact of life in big time college football. The key to success is whether or not a team establishes a no nonsense standard of handling and overcoming issues, while working together to be successful on and off of the gridiron to breed success in all facets of college.
Games Cannot be won in June (Though they can Certainly be Lost)
June is a fairly absurd time to make big predictions about the upcoming season. Even so, 2014 promises to be a pivotal year for Bulldog Nation. It has been nearly a decade since Georgia won the Southeastern Conference, and expectations will be high for a lot of new faces to make a championship level first impression.