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.

It’s Great To Be a Georgia Bulldog

aaron_murray_bulldog_nation
Keep the Faith
Throughout the first five games of the college football season, drama and excitement have been synonymous with Georgia football.  As USA Today points out, three of Georgia’s four wins in 2013 have been determined in the final minutes.  Even the contest with North Texas featured multiple lead changes.

Pessimists will argue that many of the nail-biting moments were signs of a flawed team that struggled to put away the opposition.  However, we here at UGAMADDAWG choose to believe there are greater forces at work. This Georgia Bulldog team is special.

In light of the recent injury bug, I have taken it upon myself to encourage Georgia Bulldog football fans everywhere to keep the faith.  Some of my reasoning is outlined below.

Aaron Murray’s Last Stand
Prior to the 2013 campaign, Athlon Sports rated UGA starting quarterback Aaron Murray as the sixth most overrated quarterback in college football.  The article also pointed out that Murray is a diminutive passer. You have got to love any writer that uses a ten dollar word to describe someone as short.   This season, Murray seems poised to lead his Dawgs to win the SEC crown that has eluded him during his time in Athens.

No matter how much adversity befalls this football team, Aaron Murray under center gives the Bulldogs a chance to win.  Now the all-time leading passer in Southeastern Conference history, Murray has developed into a young man that can carry the team on his shoulders.



Chris Conley is Awesome
The one-handed catch made by Chrs Conley against Tennessee may have been the catch of the year thus far. The UGA wide receiver has been grabbing everything thrown his way, and Conley seems determined to leave his paw print on Georgia football far beyond what happened in the final eight seconds of the 2012 SEC Championship Game.

Todd Gurley Needs to get Healthy
Georgia running back Todd Gurley is a difference maker.  With respect to Keith Marshall, Gurley is a man among boys.  If UGA is going to get back to Atlanta for a third straight year, the Dawgs need to be able to hand the ball to TGII.

Georgia’s Young Defense is Only Going to get Better
Georgia’s defense is filled with potential.  At some point, experience will help the Bulldog D realize its potential.  Patience is a virtue, and Bulldog Nation must stay patient with coach Grantham and the personnel that he puts on the field.

Emotional Mark Richt
This final point goes back to the LSU game in week five.  Coach Mark Richt got visibly emotional watching his football team overcome the LSU tigers.  Mark Richt wants to win a national title; he has been busting his ass in Athens for over a decade.  While a crystal ball does not define Mark Richt’s career, it would catapult his legacy into legendary status.

Football Season is a Wonderful Time of Year
No college football team, not even that one in Tuscaloosa, should measure success by a national championship alone.  Unrealistic expectations can ruin magical moments if Bulldog Nation does not remember to enjoy the ride.

The University of Georgia absolutely strives to field the best football team possible. Even so, there is a lot of luck involved in winning a national championship.  The difference between Alabama’s third national championship in four years and Georgia’s first in three plus decades was less than ten yards.  Keep the faith, Bulldog Nation.

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 Versus Tennessee – October 5, 2013

uga_tennesseeGood Ole Rocky Top…
Well, not really.  Times have just been tough lately in Rocky Top, and the Tennessee Volunteers football program is adjusting to its third head football coach in five years.   Tennessee has some players at the skill positions on offense, but they have yet to find a quarterback capable of getting them the football since Tyler Bray left at the end of last season.

Butch Jones is tasked with being the architect of the rebuilding project in Knoxville.  The new head coach has his Volunteers at 3-2 after the Vols held off the South Alabama Jaguars to win 31-24 in week five.  Tennessee’s next three opponents are Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. Welcome to the SEC, coach.

Aaron Murray, Conquering Hero
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray’s college football career has been chalked full of twists and turns.  Rewritten record books, legacy defining moments, and possibly a championship await Murray at the end of his journey in Athens.  The fifth-year senior will need help from the defense, as well as a healthy Todd Gurley to accomplish all of his goals, but the victory over LSU had to vindicate Aaron Murray’s decision to come back to UGA for his final year of eligibility.

The Georgia Bulldogs: Avoiding a Massive Letdown
The last time Georgia won a regular season home game at home against LSU in 2004, they followed it up with a loss to Tennessee the very next week.  There is nothing to indicate that history is going to repeat itself.  Unless the Dawgs decide to roll over and play dead, the longest thing about the trip to Knoxville will be the ride down there.

Tennessee does not have the talent on either side of the ball to compete with Georgia for four quarters.  One of Tennessee’s biggest assets is their offensive line, but it is a work in progress according to what coach Butch Jones told the Times Free Press, “I need more in terms of a level of physicality and finishing plays.  We’re working on that each and every day.”

Taming the Tigers Altered the Course of Georgia’s Football Season
Georgia’s four sacks on LSU QB Zack Mettenberger cast a silver lining on a poor defensive performance against the Tigers.  The Dawg secondary must feed off of the pressure created by the front seven, such as outside linebacker Floyd, to help create opportunities to stop the opposition.

No opponent should be taken lightly based on how big their reconstruction job is. However, The University of Tennessee has some work to do before they can be competitive in the Southeastern Conference again. Rocky Top Talk points out that coach Butch Jones is doing well in recruiting.  His new job is a marathon, not a sprint.

Prediction: Tennessee will play well early on defense, but the Dawgs’ veteran offense will settle down and take the crowd out of it early in the second half.  The Volunteers do not have enough offense to chase down the Dawgs even with home field advantage.  Georgia 34, Tennessee 17.

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

national_cgampionship_trophy

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 Bulldog Memories: Knowshon Moreno

knowshon_moreno
Georgia’s Rushing Attack is Critical to Their Success
The running back position has always been critical to the success of the University of Georgia. I was not even a gleam in my father’s eye when Herschel Walker made his debut at Georgia, but I do remember hearing about NFL alumni such as Garrison Hurst and Terrell Davis playing their college ball in between the hedges in Athens.

Knowshon Moreno Helped Make Georgia a Contender Again
As a fan, my favorite Bulldog tailback thus far has been Knowshon Moreno. I know he gets some flack from a portion of Georgia fans for leaving after two seasons as a starter, (he took a redshirt during his true freshman year in 2006) but the paw print he left on Georgia in 2007 and 2008 is undeniable. Playing for a UGA team that featured a future first overall draft pick in Matthew Stafford, Knowshon often had a bigger impact on Georgia’s overall success because of his ability to make defenses miss en route to the end zone. Knowshon Moreno was certainly a Damn Good Dawg.



Knowshon Moreno was a First Round NFL Draft Pick in 2009
It was a foregone conclusion that Matthew Stafford would leave UGA following the 2008 season because he was guaranteed to be the number one pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Even so, I was hopeful that Knowshon Moreno would stay in Athens one more year as the undisputed leader of the Dawgs. It was not to be, as Knowshon was the 12th overall draft pick by the Denver Broncos that same year. Georgia has been looking for a game changing tailback since his departure, and they may have finally found the answer this year with Todd Gurley.

Knowshon Moreno Can Still Hurdle Over Defenders
Knowshon Moreno is remembered by Bulldog Nation for the highlight reel of carries he put together in his time at Georgia. One run in particular against Central Michigan, during which Moreno hurdled a defender, is a fond memory for Georgia fans. Since it was against the Chippewas, who are a middle of the pack college football program most Bronco fans did not even consider Knowshon as being capable of jumping over NFL defenders.



Just two weeks ago, Knowshon Moreno hurdled All-Pro, future hall of fame safety Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens. Reed was asked about the play following the game and he told Yahoo Sports that he had been suffering from flu symptoms. Admittedly, if I were a pro football player in Reed’s situation, I would feel sick as well.



Knowshon Moreno could be the next Dawg to play in the Super Bowl
The former Georgia Bulldog seems to be finding his groove again in the National Football League.  He has made the most of the opportunity he has had in Denver this year, and the Broncos are poised to make a Super Bowl run with Peyton Manning at the controls in the Mile High state. Happy Holidays!

What Does Georgia Need to do to Beat Alabama?

georgia_alabama_tackle

The Dawgs will battle the Tide for Southeastern Conference supremacy.

Georgia Plays Alabama for the 2012 SEC Championship
Following the upset heard ‘round the college football world against Johnny Manziel and the Aggies of Texas A&M, the Alabama Crimson Tide are expected to put the Auburn Tigers out of their Southeastern Conference misery on November 24 to clinch the SEC West. Conversely, the Georgia Bulldogs dominated the aforementioned Tigers by a final count of 38-0 this past weekend. The victory earned Bulldog Nation a trip to the Georgia Dome to represent the East in the SEC title game for the second straight year.

The Bulldogs Are Not Satisfied With Just Winning the SEC East
Alabama will finish the regular season with a record of 11-1 when they punch their ticket to Atlanta. Led by head coach and master motivator Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide will be hell bent on making the strongest possible case to defend their national championship crown.  Meanwhile, Bulldog Nation is determined to attack the wounded Tide, and secure a spot in a Bowl Championship Series game.  Let us examine what Georgia must do to catch Alabama coming in, as opposed to trying to hang on to the Crimson Tide when they are rolling out.

Avoiding Turnovers Will be Critical for Georgia
For Georgia to have a chance to defeat Alabama, the Dawgs must avoid turning the ball over. In the 2011 SEC Championship against LSU, Georgia doomed themselves by committing three costly giveaways, along with errors on special teams that translated to easy points for the Tigers. Alabama is the top ranked one loss team in the country for a reason, and the Bulldogs must avoid giving the talented Tide football team easy scores.



Georgia Has to Protect Quarterback Aaron Murray
Less than two weeks ago, the Bulldogs gave up five sacks in the first half against Ole Miss. No slight against the Rebels, but if Ole miss found a way to exploit Georgia’s offensive line, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and company will be frothing at the mouth at the chance to hit the UGA signal caller early and often.

aaron_murray_sacked

The offensive line must be stout against Alabama.

UGA Needs to Be Balanced on Offense to Keep Alabama Guessing
Texas A&M was able to defeat Alabama as a result of mixing up run and pass play calls. The Aggies had 253 passing yards, and over 150 yards on the ground. Aaron Murray is not quite as mobile as Johnny Manziel but he can certainly move around well enough to avoid being a sitting target. Furthermore:

  • The Bulldogs must avoid negative plays on offense. If Alabama’s aggressive defense can force Georgia to be one dimensional it will be a long game for Bulldog Nation.
  • Todd Gurley must lead the Georgia rushing attack by being physical and picking up critical yards after contact.
  • Aaron Murray must make all the right decisions with the football. Stephen Garcia is the last quarterback from the SEC East to defeat Alabama, as the South Carolina Gamecocks knocked off the Tide in October of 2010. Garcia completed 17 out of 20 passes for 201 yards in that contest. Those would be ideal numbers for the UGA QB to duplicate.
  • Georgia must keep drives alive by converting on third down. Texas A&M was 11 out of 18 on third-down conversions.
jarvis_jones

Jarvis Jones is saving his best for the Crimson Tide.

Defense is Essential to Georgia’s Success
Jarvis Jones is the heartbeat of a Georgia defensive unit that appears to be peaking at the right timeJarvis Jones must lead the Georgia defense and wreak havoc against the Tide.  A dominant performance from Jones will give other players the opportunity to put pressure on Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron. In addition:

  • No big plays. UGA’s defense needs to make Alabama go the length of the football field.
  • The Bulldog defense must cause as many three-and-outs as possible so that they are able to finish Alabama in the second half.
  • It is critical that Georgia forces A.J. McCarron to beat them throwing the football. When Alabama has to pass, they suddenly become a predictable football team. This observation is not questioning the talent of the Alabama QB, but the Bulldogs will increase their chance to win if Alabama has to abandon their potent running game.

A Win for the Bulldogs Over Alabama is Critical to the Future of Georgia Football Regardless of the Bowl Championship Series rankings, the Georgia Bulldogs have to beat Alabama to legitimize themselves as a championship contender. Consider this: Georgia’s signature win thus far in 2012 is beating a Florida team that nearly lost to Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend at the swamp. The Bulldogs do not need to try to impersonate Texas A&M, but they must be victorious in Atlanta. 

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.