The Dawg Sports staff is looking back at the 2012 season. Today we'll look at game 7 against Kentucky. You can find the previous installments here (Buffalo), here (Mizzou), here (FAU), here (Vandy), here (Tennessee) and here (REDACTED).
I've said many times on the podcast that this 2012 UGA team reminded me so much of the 2007 UGA team which I have said is the best all-around Bulldog team I've ever personally witnessed. What was so key for that 2007 team was a late fumble against Vanderbilt that gave the Bulldogs the ball and the opportunity to kick a game-winning field goal. That fumble woke UGA up, and was the turning point of a disastrous season into a successful one.
Truthfully, Georgia should've lost that game in 2007 against Vandy, just like they should've lost against Kentucky. The main difference between that Vanderbilt game and this Kentucky game was that it wasn't until that next Monday after Kentucky that UGA had their moment to turn things around. Shawn Williams stepped out in front of the press that Monday afternoon and called UGA's defense "soft." Not only soft, but he named names. He hurt feelings. He basically said what only the fans had been grumbling about all season long.
Williams didn't say what he said because UGA had a bad practice. He said what he said because UGA could have, and probably should have, lost to Kentucky. Not a bowl-eligible Rich Brooks Kentucky team (not that it's much better), but a Joker Philips, 2-10, 0-8 in the SEC Kentucky team. This team was terrible.
There were a lot of positives in this game from an offensive standpoint. Granted, our running game was less than stellar, to say the least, garnering only 77 yards on 32 carries. However, Murray made up for the lack of production by throwing four touchdown passes for over 400 yards of offense. Tavarres King also had his best game as a Bulldog, with over 188 yards of receiving and two touchdowns. That's really where the good news stops, though.
Marshall Morgan still had problems hitting extra points. He missed a big one in the first half that put UGA behind the 8-ball before redeeming himself with a field goal to give the Bulldogs the lead 16-14 at halftime. Kentucky hit a field goal in the third quarter that gave them a 17-16 lead, but Murray hit Chris Conley for a score to put the Dawgs ahead at 22-17 (the two point conversion failed), and the Dawgs didn't relinquish the lead again.
The big problem with this game was the underwhelming feeling that played out those 60 minutes. Any Dawg fan in the stadium or watching from home (as I was) had to have been sitting there with this "I shaved my legs for this?" feeling. You never really thought that UGA would lose, but as the game went along, the possibility became more real, and you were so embarrassed that you knew that even a win would hurt you on the national stage, especially after the whipping you took at REDACTED the week before. Look, I don't care who you are, but if you give up 206 rushing yards to Kentucky in 2012, you deserve to be embarrassed. It's even worse when those yards came right up the gut.
While this game isn't the one of which we do not speak, and it certainly wasn't the offensive display that was the Tennessee game, it was instrumental to the Bulldogs' success in 2012. Sure, that turnaround didn't happen on the field, but at least Kentucky played a role in it. If you don't believe me, just ask Shawn Williams.
Until next time kids.