The latest chapter in the rivalry between the Georgia Bulldogs and the South Carolina Gamecocks could have been the coming out party for Isaiah Crowell, as he accounted for 158 yards, (rushing and receiving) against a bitter SEC rival. Saturday also should have been sweet redemption for Mark Richt as Georgia out-gained the Gamecocks by 50 yards. Oh, what could have been. The reality is that Saturday’s loss will be remembered for the 4 plays of doom. *(Video clips are included when possible so this is not for the feint of heart.)
#1 The Fake
Georgia had all the momentum as they were up 13-7 late in the 2nd quarter following a 26 yard TD pass from Aaron Murray to Rantavious Wooten. The Bulldogs were about to get the ball back after forcing an apparent South Carolina punt on 4th down and 7. However, somebody forgot to tell the Dawgs to actually look and make sure the ball was snapped to the punter. Hindsight is always 20-20 but one should always be aware of who they are up against. The following fake punt will surely go down as one of Steve Spurrier’s fondest memories.
#2 The Fumble
Georgia was up 20-14 on the Gamecocks and driving deep in South Carolina territory trying to take control of the game in the third quarter. As I touched on previously, Isaiah Crowell was having a game worthy of a 5-star highly touted freshman running back. However, Crowell was playing in his first SEC game and picked a bad time for his inexperience to shine through. There is not a video clip available at this time but I cannot think of why any Georgia fan would want to relive the nightmare anyway. Isaiah Crowell never had control of the football in a handoff gone wrong between Aaron Murray and himself. Gamecock standout cornerback Stephon Gilmore took advantage as he returned the ball to the UGA 5 yard line. This mistake would set up a Stephen Garcia 8 yard run a few plays later. Gamecocks 21, Dawgs 20.
#3 The Interception
The Dawgs and Gamecocks had exchanged scores as Georgia still trailed South Carolina by a mere point in the third quarter. Georgia was hoping to take the lead on South Carolina going into the final frame as quarterback Aaron Murray looked to guide the Georgia offense on a crucial drive. Georgia was rolling along until the young gunslinger thought he could fit a pass over the head of Gamecock linebacker Antonio Allen. As a result, the Dawgs had an even bigger hill to climb in the 4th quarter as they trailed 28-20.
#4 If The First Fumble Doesn’t Get You…
When Georgia took a 35-31 lead on an Isaiah Crowell 15 yard run with 6:28 left to play I remember thinking that we were destined to win the game. The team was going to overcome their mistakes and give coach Richt the big win he was searching for. Unfortunately, as we now know, it was not to be. After a South Carolina score, the Gamecocks were clinging to a 38-35 lead with 3:28 to go. Deep in Gamecock territory, the stage appeared to be set for a drive that would go down in Georgia history. Instead, Georgia had one final heart breaking mistake to make.
There are a lot of positives that will come out of this gut-wrenching experience for Bulldog Nation. With 11 games left to go, the schedule sets up favorably for the Dawgs to win out and still end up in Atlanta. For now, the team is under intense pressure to win and save their coach’s job. I implore my fellow Bulldog fans to stay patient and let the season play out. Even the loudest detractors must realize that badgering the coaching staff will only serve to put more pressure on this young Georgia Bulldog team that needs a chance to grow. Leave the discussion of Mark Richt’s future up to those in charge of making that decision. Win or lose, Georgia needs the support of Dawg fans each Saturday in Athens.