South Carolina 38, UGA 35 – Bulldogs Suffer Bitter Defeat

hutson_mason

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.

UGA SEC Opener 2014: Dawgs Face Gamecocks

mark_richt_steve_spurrierGeorgia – 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 Versus Florida: Rivalry Renewed

florida_georgia_rivalry_2013Aaron Murray Facing Florida – Chasing History Again
Despite Georgia’s mediocre win-loss record, 2013 has been a historical season for quarterback Aaron Murray.  The Georgia passer has a chance to write more in the record books if he can lead the Dawgs to victory over the Gators for the third time in his career. Surprisingly, this feat has only been accomplished by two other UGA quarterbacks dating back to the 1940s.

According to an article on ESPN College Football Nation, other than Buck Belue in  1979-1981, one must look back over half a century to find a Georgia quarterback who was able to beat the Gators at least three times.

Written by David Ching, the article states Hall of Famer Johnny Rauch is the only other Bulldog quarterback to ever earn three victories over the Gators. Rauch beat UF four times, from 1945-1948.  If the Bulldogs defeat Florida this Saturday afternoon, Aaron Murray will become the third Georgia quarterback to best Florida three times.  The stat is a little less surprising when one considers how rare it used to be for a freshman or sophomore quarterback to start in college football.

Harsh Reality Check for Todd Grantham
In 2010, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was heavily criticized when CBS television cameras caught him grabbing his throat, and encouraging the Florida kicker to choke.  Ironic, considering Grantham’s defense has specialized in gagging for the better part of the past two seasons.

The UGA defense faces a struggling Florida offense in week ten.  It would be wonderful if the Dawgs are able to play stout and earn a victory without making UF QB Tyler Murphy look like a Heisman candidate.

Thanking the Missouri Tigers (and Sending a Grunt to Steve Spurrier)
Both Georgia and Florida fans should send the Missouri Tigers a thank-you note this week.  Missouri’s 17 point choke job against the South Carolina Gamecocks leaves the Southeastern Conference door slightly ajar.  However, the eye ball test reveals UGA and UF are too banged up to chase a division crown.

This game has been dubbed “The World’s Largest Outdoor Pity Party” for 2013.  The team that comes up short will be faced with a .500 record and a disappointed fan base.

The Georgia Bulldogs Need Their Gurl Back
If the Dawgs can count on the returns of receiver Michael Bennett and running back Todd Gurley for the trip to Jacksonville, Bulldog Nation should be favored to win.  As of this writing, both Bennett and Gurley are expected to play against Florida on Saturday.

The Georgia-Florida Clash Encompasses Everything Great About College Football
Regardless of how many off the field scandals college football endures, there is nothing better than a passionate rivalry.  We have chronicled the history of the Georgia-Florida Football Classic, but each year brings about a new chapter.  2013 is about pride, and for the team that is victorious, it is about salvaging the season.

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.

Georgia SEC Opener – UGA Versus South Carolina September 7, 2013

aaron_murray
Steve Spurrier: “Just an old Sweet Song…”

According to Sports Talk SC, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier played Willie Nelson’s Georgia on my mind at football practice on Monday. The South Carolina Gamecocks are looking for a fourth-straight win over Georgia, which would mean an entire UGA draft class (sans redshirts) would leave Athens without experiencing the joy of beating South Carolina. If the unthinkable occurs, the Bulldogs will only have themselves to blame.

Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers
The last three times that UGA has played the Gamecocks, Georgia has committed a total of five turnovers.  As a result, South Carolina has consistently been in position to make Georgia pay for careless errors. The Dawgs’ high turnover rate is magnified when they make mistakes and allow big plays like the ones shown in the videos below.
2011:



2012:



The Offensive Line Must Protect Aaron Murray
Jadeveon Clowney did not have a memorable opening to the 2013 season.  Instead of frequently sacking the North Carolina quarterback, he spent most of the game huffing and puffing.  Even so, Bulldog Nation better beware of the big bad wolf.  For the past two years Jadeveon Clowney and the rest of the Gamecock front seven have had success disrupting Georgia’s timing on offense and causing mistakes.

During the broadcast of the Clemson game last weekend, ABC/ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit brought up the fact that Aaron Murray is a rhythm passer.  This is the reason that Georgia only scored one touchdown against the chickens last season.  The offensive line must make protecting the quarterback their number one priority Saturday afternoon.  If they cannot, UGAs’ goose egg in the win column will remain.

Aaron Murray: Just Win, Baby
Aaron Murray could break every Georgia passing mark in the record books.  If he continues to fall short in big games, his legacy in Athens will ultimately be that he never won the big game.  If the offensive line has protection issues, and history indicates that it will, Aaron Murray must step up and take the game out of the Gamecocks.  2013 is Aaron Murray’s last stand between the hedges, he must play football accordingly.

Special Teams Must Execute
Steve Spurrier may very well watch film of the fake punt that he pulled on UGA in 2011 whenever he needs a laugh. Special teams execution does not refer to making 50 yard field goals. Rather, it means that the Bulldogs need to keep their head on a swivel playing against the old ball coach, because a special teams fake could come at any time.

Regardless of preparation, challenges and mistakes are going to surface on the football field for Georgia on Saturday afternoon.  As long as the Georgia Bulldogs give South Carolina their best shot, Bulldog Nation will have nothing to be ashamed of.

College Football 2013 Wish List

tebow_pray

Top Five Wishes for the 2013 College Football Season
Every college football fan in America hopes for certain scenarios to unfold during the course of each college football campaign.  With this observation in mind, I will now reveal my top five wishes for the 2013 season. Be warned, it will be fairly UGA-centric.

5. Johnny Manziel Starts Every Game for Texas A&M
Despite the fact that I defended Johnny Manziel a few weeks ago, I am sick of hearing about Johnny Drama and his off the field buffoonery.  If Manziel has broken NCAA rules he should be punished, irregardless of how one views the validity of his infractions.  I do hope that Johnny Football is deemed eligible to play, because it would be nice to see if he can answer his critics with spectacular performances on the gridiron.

I do dread the possibility that Johnny Manziel’s eligibility will be ambiguous throughout the upcoming season.  The NCAA must be steadfast in their investigation of the goings on in College Station so that the Texas A&M Aggies can move on with or without the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

4. Ohio State Loses a Game in 2013
The Ohio State University is the number two ranked team in the country, and the Buckeyes have one of the easiest schedules in the nation.  Urban Meyer and company do not play even one team in the preseason top 15.  Thank goodness there is a Big Ten Championship Game, because if not, Michigan would be the only roadblock between Ohio State and Pasadena, California.

The Buckeyes do actually play eleven other regular season games, but they are very loose traps that Ohio State could only fall into if they are selling memorabilia for tattoos during the games. Simply looking at the Buckeyes schedule makes me wish the college football playoff would start a year early.  Bottom line: Ohio State plays twelve regular season games, seven of which are against teams who had a losing record in 2012.

3. Georgia Beats South Carolina
Losing to a glorified chicken is terrible but when that poultry is coached by Steve Spurrier, it flat out sucks. Georgia must end South Carolina’s three game win streak against them, because the Dawgs will not go to Atlanta if they drop another one to South Carolina this year.  The good news is that South Carolina has lost a ton on the offensive side of the football.  The bad news is that the Gamecocks still have Jadeveon Clowney, and the Ole’ Ball Coach seems to have a knack for making Bulldog Nation miserable.

Georgia needs to defeat the Gamecocks to win the SEC East because South Carolina has an extremely soft schedule.  If South Carolina is good enough to beat Georgia, they will be hard pressed to lose two other Southeastern Conference games.

2. Please Football Gods, Do Not Allow Alabama to Three-Peat
Fans of the Southeastern Conference seem to be united when it comes to the SEC’s streak of seven straight BCS titles.  If Alabama represents the SEC this year, I might have to go against my gut and cheer for the team that is opposing the Tide.

Furthermore, we would all be subjected to ESPN discussions about whether Alabama is the greatest college football team of all time, while listening to absurd opinions such as  Alabama could beat an NFL team.  The only thing that could make the possibility of another Crimson Tide tidal wave worse is if the championship game also involves Urban Meyer.  The following image should represent every Georgia fan’s worst nightmare.

urban_meyer_nick_saban

1. Please Football Gods, Help Georgia Win a National Championship
Georgia’s loss to Alabama in the 2012 SEC Championship Game served to strengthen Bulldog Nation’s thirst for a championship.  Quarterback Aaron Murray returned to Athens for the pursuit of a national title, and a BCS trophy would catapult Mark Richt into legendary status between the hedges.

Wanting a championship and earning a BCS title are two different animals.  Georgia has a tall mountain to climb, but the Dawgs have the talent to turn back any challenge in the country.  I would give my right arm for a rematch with the Tide in the Georgia Dome come the first weekend in December, but UGA must take care of business in the regular season first.

College Football Outside of the South – ACC

bobby_bowden

The ACC has not won many rings since coach Bowden retired.

The Atlantic Coast Conference Has Been Atrocious in BCS Games
The ACC has been one of my least favorite conferences to keep tabs on in recent years.  As a result, this post examining a portion of ACC football will center around the conference’s four most important games against the Southeastern Conference in 2013.

ACC Coaching Thoughts
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson may be a triple option guru, but when he loses he becomes an obnoxious oaf.  Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State Seminoles have not won a big game since Bobby Bowden retired, Unless of course you are absurd enough to count the ‘Noles Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois at the end of last season.

I am looking forward to watching the ACC try to distance themselves from their own mediocrity in 2013. According to Mr. SEC the Atlantic Coast Conference holds a horrid record of 3-13 in BCS bowl games. Furthermore, if this is to be the year that the ACC reasserts itself as a power in college football, then there will be several roadblocks ahead.

Alabama-Virginia Tech
The Hokies are coming off an extremely disappointing year in which they finished 6-6 in the regular season, before defeating Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl to end the year with a winning record.  This year, Virginia Tech has the honor of playing the defending national champion, Alabama, to begin their campaign.

The Crimson Tide have been sitting atop college football for two consecutive years, and it is nearly impossible to believe that a fictional purple turkey is going to knock them off.  Luckily, college football is not played on paper. What a “Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game” it will be if the Tide forgets to roll in.

Georgia–Clemson
I will admit that my opinion on this game is totally biased.  With Bulldog quarterback Aaron Murray coming back for his last chance at a championship, UGA has no intention of starting the season in an 0-1 hole.  There will be an offensive shootout in Death Valley, and Bulldog Nation will have the final bark.

Clemson may believe they will defeat Georgia, but history is not on their side.  mcubed, a sports history and statistics website, reports that the SEC went 6-2 against the ACC in 2012.

Georgia-Georgia Tech
Since Paul Johnson broke out his fish frier after his Yellow Jackets skewered the Dawgs for 45 points back in 2008, Georgia Tech has not been able to recapture that magic again.  Johnson was the ACC coach of the year for each of his first two seasons in Atlanta, but downright appalling defense has stung  Tech for a total of 19 losses in the past three seasons.

Georgia wiped the field with Georgia Tech in the final regular season game of 2012. The Bulldogs capitalized on a Georgia Tech fumble at the Georgia one-yard line to gain an early 14-0 lead and never looked back. It was a game that Tech head coach Paul Johnson called “a pretty good thumping.”  If the regular season pans out the way that Georgia fans are hoping for, a similar result should be expected in Atlanta this year.



South Carolina-Clemson
Steve Spurrier (thankfully) has had trouble winning the SEC East in the past two years. Consequently, the Ole’ Ball Coach has had to find solace in making life miserable for Clemson fans every year.  According to Clemson head coach, Dabo Swinney, the Tigers are knocking on the door to greatness, but how can that be if Clemson is not even the best team in their own state?

Despite their advantage of 65-41 (with four ties) in the series rivalry, the Tigers have not beaten the Gamecocks since 2008. The heat between the two schools figures to be kicked up a notch this year, as South Carolina and Clemson are ranked 7th and 8th in the preseason polls respectively.

steve_spurrier_yell

Better Quote: Les Miles (LSU) or Steve Spurrier (South Carolina)

On October 13, 2012, the red hot South Carolina Gamecocks will travel to Baton Rouge to take on the wounded LSU Tigers. This post has absolutely nothing to do with who will pick up the win in this crucial Southeastern Conference Saturday night showdown. Rather, we would like to pay tribute to each team’s head coach. More specifically, both Les Miles and Steve Spurrier each have their own unique gift of gab when they are in front of a microphone.

les_milesThe Quotable Les Miles features musings from the head man at LSU himself. Allow me to take this opportunity to share some of our favorites, documented straight from the mouth of the “Mad Hatter.” Les Miles on Louisiana women and football: “This is the greatest football state in America. It’s a place where women understand what it means and how to play it.”

The head coach at LSU also offered his opinion on the state of Louisiana producing talented football players, “Louisiana has a heritage of great players that play their high school football within the boundaries of Louisiana.”  Finally, Mr. Miles shares his thoughts on giving truthful interviews as he observed, “The only thing I can tell you is that I am relatively honest, and somewhat deceptive.”

steve_spurrier_micWhen it comes to the Ole’ Ball Coach, we tend to have a love-hate relationship with Mr. Spurrier. Even though he can get a little whiny sometimes, it is hard not to appreciate his visor throwing ways. While at Florida in the mid 90′s, Steve Spurrier was asked what he thought about the Gators chances’ of beating Georgia. His response, “Is Ray Goof still the head coach there?” This was in reference to former Georgia Bulldog head coach Ray Goff.

Steve Spurrier has made a habit of mocking his opposition. When Spurrier decided to try his hand in the NFL, he was asked if he thought coaching in the pros would be more difficult than coaching college football. He replied, “I think so, there are no Vanderbilts in the NFL.”

I for one hope that there are multiple sideline interviews with these head coaches on Saturday night. When coach Spurrier used the phrase “pooped around” to describe the Gamecocks offense in the first half of last weekend’s Georgia game against South Carolina, it was the only time I laughed all night. Steve Spurrier and Les Miles should have television microphones on for the duration of tonight’s top ten battle. The material would be endless. Whose quotes do you enjoy reading more? Comments below!

OVERMATCHED: Dawgs Go Down In Dixie (South Carolina 35 UGA 7)

Team. Strong fundamentals. Strong line play. This is Spurrier’s genius. He builds real football teams.

Summary
On a beautiful night in the South, Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks treated the University of Georgia Bulldogs to a rude awakening to the 2012 SEC football campaign.  The University of Georgia was outplayed at every turn, and Spurrier’s team deserved every bit of a 35-7 thrashing of UGA.  I am sure we will have time to reflect upon how to fix what happened…and every Bulldog will have a theory (cue litany of fire Richt, Bobo, Grantham, lack of discipline, poor coaching, players are thugs, outcoached, poor recruiting, poor conditioning, blah blah blah) on how to correct these issues, but at present, let us reflect upon the reasons UGA failed so miserably.

  • South Carolina’s offensive and defensive lines absolutely controlled the line of scrimmage.  All problems in the Georgia-South Carolina game really came down to this inscrutable fact: Football is won and lost on the line of scrimmage.  The South Carolina defense was often three yards deep in the Georgia backfield within a second of the ball being snapped.  I actually saw UGA offensive linemen pancaked and on their backs.  Shockingly weak line play was the architect of defeat.
  • Aaron Murray (because of point directly above) was ineffective…primarily because he was continually harried and pressured off the snap.  Murray’s stats: Try 10-31 on for size.  The pressure the defensive line of South Carolina placed upon all facets of the offensive was stunning.
  • Georgia tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall were ineffective.  At one point, my wife leaned over and offered that Marcus Lattimore is a much better running back than either Gurley or Marshall.  I’m not buyin’ it.  I believe if each team swapped tailbacks, South Carolina still rolls.  I lost count of how many times the UGA tailbacks were met with a wall of USC defenders IN the backfield.
  • Georgia’s coaches were out-schemed early.  Spurrier is considered a genius for a reason and his game plan was shrewd.  I reckon that UGA’s defensive scheme was based upon stopping Conner Shaw and Lattimore first.  Spurrier responded by continually throwing deep, putting Georgia’s safeties on notice that they better mind their watch (no matter, UGA was gashed deep).  The play action passes were things of beauty, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a team (any team in any league) look as confused, overwhelmed, and generally lost as the defensive backfield for UGA.
  • We did not lose because Steve Spurrier is an Evil Genius (although he is).  What Spurrier has done is even more impressive (and should be worrying to all UGA fans): He has built a real football team. People are want to suggest we lost because of ‘schemes’ and ‘playbooks’ and such. No. We lost because for twenty years Steve Spurrier has proven he can consistently build better football teams than whoever happens to be the current UGA coach.  Finally, his true genius emerges in Columbia: he builds teams.

Closing Thoughts
Football’s stars are the quarterbacks, and the wide receivers, occasionally a linebacker or safety or punt returner.  Football games are won or lost in the trenches, on the line.  The UGA-South Carolina game 2012 was a clinic on this premise.  This game was a lesson on the realities of real football, and real football teams.

We can examine (and probably will) ‘why’ UGA football teams fail miserably against opponents considered peers. Tonight however, my hope was to communicate the ‘how’, not the ‘why’.  Hats off to South Carolina and Steve Spurrier.

UGA-USC 2012 Quick Hits…End of 1st Quarter: Five Keys Redux

Better start tackling this guy.

21-0 Gamecocks up.  Let’s review progress from our Five Keys for the 2012 Georgia-South Carolina Football Game article.  Bottom-line: I agree with Kirk H.: Our defense looks completely lost.

1.  Georgia’s ability to protect Aaron Murray and open holes for the tailbacks.
The South Carolina defensive line is living in the Georgia backfield so far.  Games are won on the line and the Gamecocks’ defensive and offensive lines have so far way out-played UGA.  Bulldog Line Play Grade:  F.

2.  Aaron Murray’s ability to make sound decisions.
Who knows thus far?  The Bulldogs ran, what, 9 plays in the entire first quarter?  The interception was bad luck. Grading Aaron Murray:  Incomplete.

3.  Force Conner Shaw to beat us with his arm.
Conner Shaw is running wild (and beating us with his arm…although I think this is a product of play action bamboozling our defense). Grade:  A+ (for Conner Shaw).

4.  UGA’s defensive backs must play an inspired game.
Botched interception attempt by Rambo led to a 42 yard Gamecock gain.  Badly beaten on two play action passes.  Grade for defensive backs:  F.

5.  Special Teams Play/Turn-overs.
Another year. Another punt returned for a touchdown.  Resounding F.

Bottom-line:  The first quarter of this game supports critics who say we haven’t really been relevant since 2005.