Wrapping Up: Georgia 45, North Texas 21

Scott Cunningham

The Georgia Bulldogs struggled more than they probably had any right to before pulling out a victory over the North Texas Mean Green.

If I told you that Georgia would amass 640 yards of total offense today you might not have been surprised. If I had told you that freshmen Brendan Douglas, Reggie Davis, J.J. Green and Shaq Wiggins would all see time on the field and make solid plays, you wouldn't have batted an eye. If I'd told you that the Bulldog defense would hold North Texas below 10 yards rushing, you would have been surprised, delighted, and wondered exactly how badly we'd beaten the team from Texas.

But if I'd told you that all this would happen while the Bulldogs "sweated out" a 24 point victory, one in which they were tied with the North Texas Mean Green in the second half, well, you would have given me the old "not sure if serious" face.

But it happened. This game was a nice little reminder of some basic rules of football. For one, special teams really is 1/3 of the football equation and the Bulldogs sucked hard in that phase. 14 Mean Green points were directly attributable to bone-headed special teams play.Take away the kickoff return and the botched punt and the Bulldogs are cruising into next week off a 45-7 thumping.

Aaron Murray threw the ball very well despite heavy rain throughout the second half, finishing 22 of 30 for 408 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. Todd Gurley had a slow start, largely because he couldn't seem to find anyone who wanted to block for him (more on that later), but finished with a respectable 91yards on 21 carries (a 4.3 yard average).

However, Murray and Gurley each had bad turnovers (and Murray got lucky on a couple of other occasions). At times the offensive line looked like they really had somewhere else they'd rather be. Aaron Murray was pressured repeatedly, rarely had a throw on which he was completely unrushed, and had to take off and make things happen with his feet more often than he has this season, and perhaps since his freshman season. Murray tallied 37 yards rushing on 7 carries, only 1 of which (a 1 yard touchdown plunge) was scripted. That's an indictment of the Bulldog line that seemed to really come into its own against South Carolina.

The defense, judged solely by the numbers, was extraordinary, holding North Texas to 245 total yards. Only 6 of those were on the ground, though in fairness that total is skewed by some significant sack yardage.

All in all, the Red and Black looked like a team coming off a bye week and looking ahead to a big showdown next week. I wouldn't take too much from this. In the end a win is a win, and while it would have been nice to get some starters a little more rest, that's not the end of the world. We have a prolific offense, a young and learning defense, and a kicker who needs to shake off some rust. None of this was news before kickoff today. None of it is news after.

Bottom line, the Bulldogs may drop a spot on some poll ballots, the style points weren't there, but a win's a win, and if the 'Dawgs take care of business next Saturday against LSU no one will really care. Until later . . .

Go 'Dawgs!!!

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