College Football Week 7 2014: Georgia Versus Missouri

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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.

Georgia Versus Auburn – November 16, 2013

georgia_auburn_2013The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry             
Georgia and Auburn square off for the 117th time this weekend.  The series is deadlocked, as the Dawgs and Tigers have each won 54 games and played to eight ties.  UGA began playing Auburn in 1892. The Dawgs have been victorious in their last two meetings with the Tigers.

The Auburn Tigers Have Been Running All Over the Opposition
For Georgia to pull off the upset, they must find a way to slow down Auburn’s running game.  The Tigers rank third in the nation, averaging 322 yards on the ground per game.  The Bulldogs have had some success stopping the run this season, UGA’s rush defense is fourth in the Southeastern Conference.

Aaron Murray’s Last Big Stage?
Barring a minor miracle in the SEC East, week 12 marks Aaron Murray’s final game against a top-ten opponent.  ESPN notes Aaron Murray has played brilliantly against the Tigers.  In three career starts, Murray’s completion percentage against Auburn is 67.1.  The fifth-year quarterback is 2-1 against the Tigers, throwing for a total of 705 yards with ten touchdowns. Murray has yet to throw a pick to the War Eagle. Hopefully I did not just jinx the Dawgs.

The Dawgs Must Make Nick Marshall Throw
Current Auburn QB Nick Marshall began his college career in Athens as a cornerback.  According to All Alabama, the Georgia coaches thought Marshall would be a future All-SEC defensive back in Athens.  Unfortunately for both sides, Georgia head coach Mark Richt dismissed Marshall from the program after he violated team rules.

Now the starting quarterback for the Auburn Tigers, Nick Marshall’s athletic ability is obvious.  In the six games that Marshall has attempted to throw the ball more than ten times, his completion percentage has only exceeded 60 twice.  Still, teams have struggled to keep the Auburn QB in the pocket.  Marshall has run for over 100 yards in four of Auburn’s last five games.

Georgia 83, Auburn 7.
Bulldog Nation has rebounded from a rough October.  UGA is ranked in the top 25, bringing a record of 6-3 into Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers are 9-1, with aspirations of playing Alabama in a winner-take-all game in the Western division at the end of the regular season.  Considering the Dawgs have tamed the Tigers by a combined score of 83-7 over the past two seasons, planning ahead does not seem wise.

Georgia Needs to Focus on Winning Out
Despite the inconsistency in Athens, a victory over Auburn would give the Bulldogs three victories over teams ranked in the top ten in 2013. UGA should be focused on finishing 9-3 and sending their seniors out victorious in a bowl game.  If the Dawgs can win their two remaining SEC games, Missouri would have to lose their final conference contests for the Bulldogs to end up in Atlanta.

41-26: The Missouri Tigers Outscore the Georgia Bulldogs

georgia_sec_championship_lossFaith Testing Defeat
Georgia’s 15 point loss at home to Missouri during week seven of the 2013 college football season put an end to the Dawgs’ national championship aspirations for the year.  However, it is still great to be a Georgia Bulldog.  Aaron Muray and the UGA offense nearly led Georgia to a comeback victory over the Tigers.  It was not to be, as mistakes put the Dawgs down midway through the fourth quarter.

Whether Georgia rebounds and finishes 10-2, or stumbles to an 8-4 season, the support of Bulldog Nation will remain.  Now that allegiance has been pledged, it is time to vent a little frustration.

Pee-Wee Football
If last year’s defensive effort against the Tigers of Mizzou was grown-man football, this past Saturday’s defense can only be described as pee-wee football.  The Georgia Bulldogs missed tackle after tackle, while being consistently outplayed by Missouri’s potent offense.  Credit must be given to Mizzou quarterback James Franklin for playing an outstanding game.  It is unfortunate he is out for the remainder of the regular season with a separated shoulder. The versatile Tigers will miss him dearly.

There is no excuse for giving up 28 points in two quarters of football. Almost two months into the season, Georgia’s defense has shown only minor signs of improvement.  Last week, I wrote patience is a virtue, but it is difficult to be patient when your team struggles to execute basic fundamentals. The reason for the highlights below below begins about 46 seconds into the video. At the 6:10 mark in the second quarter.  Cue the Benny Hill music.

The Georgia D adjusted, and played better in the second half, but they cannot expect to only show up for the final two quarters and still be able to win a football game. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham needs to get more out of his personnel.

Aaron Murray Says Turnovers Killed Georgia
Aaron Murray told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution turnovers ended the Bulldogs comeback chances.  The most heartbreaking gaffe was probably when Georgia running back Brendan Douglas fumbled inside the Missouri ten yard-line late in the first half.  The mistake squashed any momentum UGA could have carried into the locker room.

To be fair, QB Aaron Murray coughed up the football to end the previous series, which Missouri promptly picked up and returned for a touchdown.  The error left the Bulldogs in dire straits, as Bulldog Nation found themselves in a 28-10 hole they could not climb out of. UGA committed four turnovers in the contest, Missouri did not give away the ball.

Dawgs Prepare to Hunker Down Against Vanderbilt
Georgia remains in contention for a third straight SEC East crown.  If the Bulldogs plan on making it to Atlanta, Mark Richt and company must find a way to right the ship. Coach Richt believes injuries are no excuse for losing, but they sure do make it more difficult to achieve victory.  Georgia’s Southeastern Conference fate likely rests on the ankle of tailback Todd Gurley.

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!

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.



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

Georgia Bulldogs 2012 Schedule Preview – Part One

Over the next several weeks, I will be previewing the 2012 Georgia football schedule as college football is on the fast track to kicking off the regular season. This three part series begins with the focus on  the Dawgs’ first four games of the 2012 campaign. The highlight of the opening month will likely be a showdown in the “Show Me State” for Georgia’s Southeastern Conference opener against Missouri on September 8.

Before the Bulldogs come face to face with the Tigers, they begin the year at home against Buffalo. On paper, this is certainly a tune up game but it will be good for the Dawgs to get some of their parts in place before hitting the road in week two. Georgia would be well served to treat the season opener against the Bulls as a dress rehearsal. Bulldog Nation can get an early glimpse of who will step up up at the running back position, and the coaches can decide which side of the ball Malcolm Mitchell can contribute the most. Somewhere in the not too distant past, a Michigan fan had a similar train of thought going into the Appalachian State game in 2007. Remember how well that turned out?



Catastrophic possibilities aside, I will assume that Georgia wins the first game, and begins the year 1-0. Missouri will be chomping at the bit to take a bite out of Bulldog Nation, as suspension and depth issues have left the Bulldogs ripe for the picking early in the year. By the time the final whistle blows, this game will come down to three key factors. First, quarterback Aaron Murray must exercise his turnover demons from a year ago and play a polished game in a hostile environment. Georgia may have to outscore Missouri, and that task will ultimately fall on the shoulders of the signal caller. Second, Georgia must make a few key stops on defense to keep the Tigers at bay. The more out of control the game gets on the scoreboard, the more confident Missouri becomes. Continue reading