Georgia Versus Missouri – October 12, 2013

georgia_missouriMissouri is Untested So Far This Season
There is a bit of fool’s gold in the Tigers’ 5-0 start.  Missouri has beaten Murray State, Toledo, Indiana, and Arkansas State.  The Tigers thumped Vanderbilt 51-28 this past weekend, but the college football team from the Show Me State has a lot left to reveal regarding its potential.

Georgia Bulldogs Football: The Walking Wounded
The number of injuries piling up on Bulldog Nation following the game at Tennessee is devastating.  Keith Marshall is done for the year after being hit in the knee during the first quarter resulting in a torn ACL. Receivers Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley each went down with a non-contact knee injury later in the game.  According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Michael Bennett’s status is up in the air this weekend.  However, Justin Scott-Wesley tore his ACL.  He is out for the rest of the 2013 campaign.

Missouri Tigers on the Prowl
Saturday cannot get here fast enough for the Missouri Tigers to get a crack at the wounded Dawgs.  UGA will have home field advantage in this contest, and they will likely need help from the home crowd.  Mizzou was crushed by Southeastern Conference competition in 2012, and Gary Pinkel’s bunch needs to rebound this year, as the Tigers won only two SEC games last season.

An Early Bye Week is Never a Good Thing
Georgia needs tailback Todd Gurley to heal up as soon as possible.  However, the last thing Bulldog Nation wants is for him to come back too soon only to suffer a more severe injury.  The Bulldogs survived the trip to Knoxville, but there are only so many setbacks a major football program can overcome.

Survive and Advance
The Dawgs managed to escape a raucous Neyland Stadium with a 34-31 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers, but even the punter could not get out unscathed. Starting punter Collin Barber is questionable in week seven after he suffered a concussion following a blocked punt.

Football is a team game, and UGA needs to limit special teams mistakes while making the opposition fight for every yard.  The pressure is on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray now more than ever to play at a high level so that his senior season does not go south in a hurry.

Bulldog Nation – Win, and Stick Together
It is of the utmost importance for Bulldog Nation to stick together. The 2013 Georgia Bulldogs football team has shown an abundance of courage.  No matter what happens the rest of the season, this team is one that Bulldog Nation should be proud of.

Keep the Faith. Go Dawgs!

UGA 41 South Carolina 30 – Redemption for the Bulldogs

todd_gurleyThe Bulldogs Beat the Gamecocks Into Submission
Down two possessions with about a minute left to go in the game, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier did not even bother to call a timeout to stop the clock. Maybe it was because Georgia carried the ball an astonishing 50 plus times for over 220 yards. Or maybe it was because UGA senior QB Aaron Murray had an answer for everything South Carolina threw at him.

One thing for sure is the better team won the battle on Sunday, regardless of who wins the war to go to Atlanta at the end of the regular season.  As expected, the win did not come without adversity.  The Dawgs gave up some big plays on defense and Keith Marshall left the game with a minor injury.

Aaron Murray the Leader, Todd Gurley a Difference Maker
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray had a potential legacy altering (until the next big game) outing against South Carolina. Murray avoided pressure and extended plays which yielded the biggest results of the game for Georgia’s offense.  The Bulldogs’ rushing attack was nothing short of devastating, with four players making meaningful plays at the tailback position and Quavyon Hicks making an impact at fullback for the second week in a row.



Ultimately, Todd Gurley was the MVP for the Dawgs again. TGII led the UGA rushing attack with 30 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown.  If Gurley goes over the century mark against LSU in just under three weeks, the Heisman noise around him will get a little louder.  The Bulldogs balance on offense was the key to their success.  This game should be the offensive blueprint throughout 2013.

Welcome to Atlanta?
Not yet. The Bulldogs have a lot of work to do in order to secure a third straight SEC East title.  Bulldog Nation should savor this victory because UGA is right back on track.

A Final Word From Steve Spurrier
According to USA Today, the ole’ ball coach had the following to say about his defensive coaches arguing on the sideline, “Well at least they care.” Spurrier went on to say that the coaches would settle the issue.  Hopefully they solved their problems during the long ride home.

Clemson 38 UGA 35 – Unforced Errors Doom the Dawgs

clemson
Rather than posting a drawn out diatribe filled with armchair hindsight, frustration, and silver linings, it is best to take a direct look at the negatives and positives coming out of last night’s loss to Clemson.

The Negatives
UGA’s Inability to Protect Aaron Murray

For a Georgia offensive line that came into the first game as a veteran group, the Dawgs struggled to keep quarterback Aaron Murray upright.  Murray was sacked four times, a number that easily could have gone up had he not used his mobility to extend plays. The poor blocking had a direct impact on UGA’s struggle to convert on third down. The Bulldogs only converted four out of 14 third downs last night.

The Georgia Defense Missed Critical Tackles
Following a flawlessly executed 75 yard touchdown run by Todd Gurley, the Bulldogs seemed ready to take back momentum from the Tigers.  With the game tied at seven, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd hit wide receiver Sammy Watkins on a pass over the middle.  Damian Swann’s laughable effort to tackle Watkins failed, and Clemson found themselves up 14-7 in a matter of seconds. In the third quarter, safety Tray Matthews failed to make the tackle on a crucial fourth down and one play that would have swung the momentum back in favor of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Unforced Errors
Georgia was penalized nine times for 84 yards. Infractions such as blocking below the waist, along with holding penalties, put Georgia behind the eight ball too often.  Quarterback Aaron Murray had a few turnovers, but UGA likely would have been able to overcome them if they had not insisted on shooting themselves in the paw.

The Dawgs’ biggest mistake came in the third period when Georgia was unable to put the ball in the end zone after driving to first and goal at the Clemson five yard-line.  At that point, UGA was down by three and they decided to kick a 21 yard field goal to tie the game. To the horror of Bulldog Nation, the kicker’s foot would never touch the football because the snap was too high to handle.  Georgia trailed for the remainder of the game.

The Positives
Gurshall
Todd Gurley was even better than advertised. He had an incredible showing and his struggle with an injury may have been the biggest turning point of the contest.  Keith Marshall did all he could to carry the load during Gurley’s absence, but the offensive line was too inconsistent for Marshall to flourish.

Justin Scott-Wesley appears to be another viable weapon as a receiver in Georgia’s loaded offense. Michael Bennett made a couple of phenomenal catches in his return from a torn ACL. Quavyon Hicks was a spark plug at the fullback position.  The Bulldog offense can never have too many options, and Hicks showed an ability to make big plays in important situations.

Georgia Gave a Valiant Effort, Clemson Deserved to Win
Georgia has nothing to be ashamed of, they fought to keep the game close and answered Clemson at almost every turn on the road. The Tigers were balanced, they (mostly) avoided catastrophic errors, and Tajh Boyd was absolutely masterful in the fourth quarter as Clemson put UGA away.  The Tigers forced Georgia to play from behind for nearly the entire game, which proved to be too much for the young defense to handle.

Georgia Will Win The SEC East in 2013

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Will this be the year that Georgia wins it all?

The Third Time is the Charm
Georgia will win the SEC East for a third straight year.  The Bulldogs are led by fifth-year senior signal caller Aaron Murray, and the Dawgs look to have a bad bark on the offensive side of the ball. With five starters returning on the offensive line and three more lineman with college football experience, Georgia figures to have one of the best lines in the country.

Furthermore, we are entering year number two for the dominate rushing duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall who together ran for 2,144 yards last season. It is safe to assume that Georgia will have no trouble putting points on the board.

 An Examination of the Competition (In Order of Projected Finish)
The final SEC East standings will look exactly the way they did in 2012. Florida will finish second because Will Muschamp will give his roster nightmares with his terrifying glare if the Gators lose too many games. An example of this (hilariously) horrifying look can be seen in the video below.  Along with the motivation of the Muschamp death stare, the Florida Gators have a very talented defense that will leave the opposition afraid to enter the swamp.



Nothing to Crow About
Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks will finish third, because the Ole’ Ball Coach will not have enough bullets for his fun n’ gun offense. Despite welcoming back the fearsome Jadeveon Clowney,  South Carolina will be without Ace Sanders and Marcus Lattimore, who are now both in the National Football League.

Vanderbilt is Improving
The Vanderbilt Commodores finished 2012 with nine wins, which is the Dore’s highest total since 1915.  The Commodores may very well open the season ranked in the preseason polls. Even so, Vanderbilt simply does not have the athletes to defeat the top teams in the Southeastern Conference. James Franklin is a good coach, not a miracle worker.

The Tigers Have Been Tamed
The Missouri Tigers attempted to make a splash in the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers were roaring when Sheldon Richardson called out Georgia for playing “old man football.” But, after a 2-6 finish in Southeastern Conference play, the Tigers have yet to make a ripple in the SEC pool. The Tigers figure to have another sub-par campaign this year, as the transition from the Big 12 has proved difficult. Missouri finishes fifth in the East, and the biggest question in the “Show Me State” this year may be whether or not Gary Pinkel keeps his job beyond the upcoming season.

Tennessee is Going to Hit an Iceberg
New Tennessee head coach Butch Jones is about to set sail on his maiden voyage as the captain of the Volunteer ship. But the boat has taken on water before it can even leave the dock. The leak that I am referring to is Tennessee’s schedule this year. The Vols play Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Oregon in a six week stretch that may be one of the most difficult schedules in recent memory.  The folks in Rocky Top have not had much to sing about on the gridiron lately, and that will not change in 2013. Tennessee will finish sixth in the SEC East.

Another Rebuilding Year in Kentucky
Finally we come to the bottom of the barrel in what is a very top heavy division. The Kentucky Wildcats have brought in Mark Stoops from Arizona, but the new head coach inherits a team that lost ten games in 2012. Mark Stoops is the brother of the Oklahoma Sooners head coach nicknamed “Big game Bob.” That pedigree will not save him from the Bluegrass blues.  Kentucky is a basketball school now and forever.

Hail to Georgia.



Georgia vs Kentucky 2012 – The Bulldogs Head to Lexington

Georgia figures to skin the Wildcats.

In week eight of the 2012 college football season, Georgia ventures to the Bluegrass State to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. Bouncing back from their deflating road loss at South Carolina will be the number one priority for the Bulldogs, as they try to get back on track against Kentucky before hitting the road to Jacksonville next week.

UGA’s offensive line had a pitiful showing their last time out, so it will be important for them to push a lesser opponent around and get some confidence back. Georgia’s contest against Kentucky should be a glorified tune-up for a Bulldog team that is still in the thick of the SEC East race. It is critical for Georgia’s offense that the running back tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall get back to form.  It will be equally crucial for UGA quarterback Aaron Murray’s uniform to stay clean while he is able to throw the football comfortably from the pocket.

The above point is not a slight against Kentucky. Joker Phillips and company play hard, but that has not resulted in a lot of wins this year for the Wildcats. In fact, Kentucky has had some particularly bad losses including coming up short in an overtime battle against Western Kentucky. The Wildcats usually have a heated in-state rivalry with Louisville over state supremacy, but this year the Cats could not top the Hilltoppers.

There is one thing that these two Southeastern Conference schools have in common: They are both experiencing an identity crisis. The Bulldogs want to be a consistent factor in the Bowl Championship Series, and the Wildcats have aspirations of playing in a bowl game at the end of each season. Lately when the time has come for each school to produce in a critical situation, neither team has been able to take the steps necessary to accomplish their goal. As a result, both Georgia head coach Mark Richt, and Kentucky head man joker Phillips face tough questions about the state of their football team.

What does this all mean for Bulldog Nation? Likely an easy win over a down opponent, but Georgia must play solid football for sixty minutes, as the Dawgs start putting the pieces back together after South Carolina knocked them over. It is time for UGA to make a statement; particularly to the rest of the Southeastern Conference that the road debacle in week six was an aberration and not a trend. The Bulldogs are at a crossroads as a football team, and this Saturday night is only the start of getting back on track.

Looking Back at Tennessee and Ahead vs South Carolina 2012

The Georgia Bulldogs must keep Aaron Murray upright on Saturday night.

The Georgia Bulldogs provided the Tennessee Volunteers with a lot of help in making this past weekend’s game closer than it should have been. The Bulldogs had three awful football plays (seemingly in succession) at the end of the first half. Leading up to that point, Georgia had been dominant. The fact that Tennessee turned a 27-10 deficit into a 30-27 lead was mind boggling. Georgia was able to get a last second field goal on the final play of the first half, evening the contest at 30.

Summary aside, there were an abundance of red flags for Bulldog Nation this past weekend in what served as a horrific reminder not to count our SEC East championship chickens before they hatch. Even so, the Bulldogs gathered themselves and finally put away the Volunteers by a final score of 51-44.

Other than the turnovers, Georgia was an offensive juggernaut against Tennessee. The Dawgs moved the ball at will, with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall each gaining over 100 yards rushing. With the exception of one pass, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray added another solid performance to his impressive resume.

Giveaways are a part of football, every team that puts on pads is going to turn the football over at some point. However, Georgia must avoid the self destructive behavior that nearly ruined their season at the end of September. The Bulldogs must have a short term memory and not let one bad play effect the next one. If such a thing occurs against the Gamecocks, it is going to be a long night in Carolina. Continue reading

Looking Back at Missouri and Ahead vs FAU 2012 – The Bulldogs Host Florida Atlantic

The tandem of Mark Richt and Todd Grantham has helped make it an exciting time to be a Georgia Bulldog fan.

From “old man football” to “grown man football” the Georgia Bulldogs tamed the Missouri Tigers on Saturday night. The game was certainly a bumpy ride for the first three quarters, but Bulldog Nation has to be pleased with the final result. The defense played outstanding football for most of the evening, all but erasing the doubts raised in the Dawgs’ first game of the season.

If Georgia can continue to build on their fourth quarter performance from this past week, there is not a team on the regular season schedule that can ruin the Bulldogs’ championship aspirations. This is certainly a lofty conclusion to draw in mid-September, but as long as the Dawgs can stay healthy and maintain their focus they should be favored to win every game between now and the SEC Championship Game.

As it pertains to week three of college football, the Georgia Bulldogs welcome the Florida Atlantic Owls between the hedges Saturday night in a match-up of teams headed in totally opposite directions. Georgia is fresh off of a triumphant victory in Columbia Missouri that has Bulldog Nation dreaming of Bowl Championship Series glory. Conversely, Florida Atlantic gave up 31 points on the road against Middle Tennessee, losing the game by a final score of 31-17.

It will be important for Georgia to stay focused on Saturday night. The atmosphere of a night game in Sanford Stadium should be beneficial to the Bulldogs  as opposed to the standard noon kickoff. Georgia should utilize this tune-up game as a way to build on their success from the previous two weeks. The Dawgs can continue to solidify their offensive line, while allowing the freshman tailback duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall to run through what will likely be large holes for significant chunks of yardage. Continue reading

Looking Back at Buffalo and Ahead vs Missouri 2012 – The Bulldogs Head To Columbia

Todd Gurley had a memorial debut in an otherwise forgettable season opener.

Columbia Missouri is not the usual destination to which Bulldog Nation is accustomed to traveling to begin conference play, but after the uninspiring at best performance Georgia turned in against Buffalo, the Dawgs are probably glad to hit the road. Georgia’s effort against Buffalo this past weekend was unacceptable no matter the height of expectations in Athens.

With that said, I prefer to look at the first game as an aberration. Admittedly, doing so ignores the fact that such lethargic efforts have become more of a trend in the past few years. Georgia fans are well aware of who is not available against the Missouri Tigers, so the Bulldogs must make sure that those who are playing on Saturday night put forth their best possible effort. Failure to do so would ensure that last Saturday’s post game sentiment of Georgia head coach Mark Richt rings true. We will all come away from that game sad. Add very angry to the list of emotions as well.

Steve Spurrier once said that the biggest improvement a college football team makes occurs from week one to week two. Georgia is extremely talented, but the Bulldogs can not afford to tread water until the suspended players return. If the speculation around the program is accurate, Georgia will not have the opportunity to be at full strength until the start of week five, when the season is about a quarter of the way over. Continue reading

National Signing Day 2012 – Georgia lands #1 OLB Josh Harvey-Clemons

The Georgia Bulldogs kicked off national signing day 2012 with a bang. Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that top rated outside linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons has decided to play football for the University of Georgia. In an interview which aired on ESPNU, Georgia head coach Mark Richt said that he thought Harvey-Clemons had “fallen in love” with the Georgia program. Richt did not feel that his recent trip to the Clemons’ family’s co-owned bail bondsman’s service in Valdosta played a significant role in Josh’s decision to play college football in Athens.

The Georgia Bulldogs currently have the number five ranked recruiting class in the country according to ESPNU. The Dawgs have six players rated in the ESPNU top 150. Georgia commits featured on that list include: Keith Marshall, the number two overall running back, along with the previously mentioned Josh Harvey Clemons, as well as John Theus, the fifth ranked offensive tackle. Rounding out the list are the number six rated defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor, the eighth ranked defensive end Jordan Jenkins, and the #11 rated defensive tackle John Atkins.

The 2012 UGA recruiting class will join an already loaded Bulldog team that is returning 15 starters. Georgia welcomes back nine defensive standouts from one of the nation’s best defenses, coupled with six returning contributors on the offensive side. Mark Richt and his staff must guide Bulldog Nation through a productive off-season to ensure that the Georgia Bulldogs have plenty of bite this fall.

National signing day can be an exciting time for college football fans everywhere. However, it is important to remember that these recruits are 17 and 18 year old kids who are being placed under a mass media microscope. As a result, they need to be given time to mature and adjust to expectations at the college level. These brand new Bulldogs will make their way between the hedges with high hopes. Now that they are apart of Bulldog Nation, they must do all that they can to be good Dawgs on and off of the football field.

Georgia Running Back Richard Samuel’s Time To Shine is 2012.

richard samuel

Richard Samuel looks to leap over the competition in 2012.

Bulldog Nation has high hopes for rising sophomore Isaiah Crowell, as well as incoming freshman Keith Marshall. However, if Georgia is to build on their success from 2011, then Richard Samuel must carry the load for the Bulldog rushing attack in 2012. Samuel will be a senior in the fall, and during his first three seasons in Athens he has been a running back and a linebacker. By switching positions, Samuel displayed a willingness to be a team player and in doing so, he has earned the right to be the starting running back when his senior campaign begins.

Aside from his team first attitude, Richard Samuel is 6’2″ tall and 243 pounds. His size enables him to run between the tackles and pound the football up the middle. He also has the ability to run through defenders, as he did when the Bulldogs bit the Florida Gators in Jacksonville. While Isaiah Crowell provided electrifying runs early last season, he struggled down the stretch and must learn to protect his body better if he hopes to have long term success as a running back.

Carlton Thomas added his fair share of contributions to the Bulldog offense as well. However, the soon to be senior running back has not yet proven he can stay out of trouble. Thomas must earn his carries in 2012 by being a good Dawg on and off of the football field. The Bulldogs also have Ken Malcome, who will be a (redshirt) rising sophomore. Malcome has shown flashes of brilliance with limited carries, but he has not been on the field enough to lead Georgia’s ground game. Continue reading