It wasn't quite 10 days ago when news of autograph-gate stunned Bulldog Nation. Suddenly, an upcoming 2-game road-trip looked untenable. I felt we were staring at another mediocre 8-4 (or worse) finish. If I was as down at the news of the suspension of Todd Gurley, I'm certain the team would be, too. How could they not be?
Not only have we won both, but (for the most part) we have thrived. The psyche of a competitor is a very difficult thing to gauge. Last weekend's shutout victory at Mizzou still wasn't enough to quite convince me of how this team would react for another tough road Conference match-up in another western time zone. It was another emotional week with no answers to the Todd Gurley dilemma, compounded by disappointing statements coming from our own Athletics Department. This morning, I am convinced that we have a very good football team. It is still flawed, but fixable. We still have some poor coaching decisions (more in a bit) that are every bit as frustrating as a Greg McGarity press release. To this I say further comment is necessary...and How "Bout Them Dawgs!
First of all, let's examine the
ugly weird. I"ve got some thoughts...
1. Georgia had an insurmountable lead at the half, right? There is no such thing as an insurmountable lead on the road. Let me rephrase this: You can never, EVER, have enough points in this Conference...especially on the road. Weird stuff happens...
2. Weird stuff #1: Officials suddenly start sympathizing with the home team. Flags start flying over anything that remotely resembles a late hit, a pass interference or the like. The players were none too happy, either.
3. Weird stuff #2: Offenses with big leads sometimes go conservative too early. After a 48 yard, 2nd half opening kickoff return by Isaiah McKenzie, Mike Bobo begins his maddening descent into conservatism. Our drive stalls (by about a foot) on a 4th down run by Nick Chubb on the Arkansas 30. This drive should have been the coup de grace. If we score 7 here, Arkansas probably folds the rest of the way. It wasn't just this particular drive. It was most of the 2nd half. I live for the day of no mercy, sweep the leg offensive philosophy.
It isn't like Arkansas had Mr. Miyagi on their sideline to fix things, you know...
4. Weird stuff #4: Players relax. It is human nature. If you have ever played sports, you know how this insidious affliction can creep in and rob you of motivation when you enter the fat & sassy comfort zone and hubris of a big lead. Ever played softball and watch your 9 run cushion evaporate? It happens. I guess some guys started to think about getting back to Athens perhaps in time for a date, a pizza, a movie, whatever. Gotta learn from this, from the coaches on down.
Could it be said that Mike Bobo can wear out both teams' defenses? - BartlettPear
post of the night, IMO
5. Enough of the negative. This game was still an incredible thing to behold. Mike Bobo's play calling in the first half was about as good as it gets. After the Razorbacks drove the length of the field and scored, we answered with a fly-down-the-field drive that sent a message. Hutson Mason was crisp with his passes, and the 48-yard deep ball to Chris Conley (5 receptions, 128 yards and a TD), was Mason's best throw of the season.
5a. Mason really showed me something when he took the targeting hit by Braylon Mitchell. The same crew that called targeting against Ray Drew and Ramik Wilson in last season's Vanderbilt debacle called this game. They are now 1 for 3...
You are a tough hombre, Hutson.
6. Nick Chubb is a football warrior. Thirty carries, 202 yards, 2 touchdowns. The kid has vision, a burst and is a nightmare to tackle in traffic. His Yards-After-Contact numbers are what makes this guy so special. Chubb now has 345 rushing yards as a starter. He might be the 2nd best running back in America. He might be the 3rd best running back on the team. Someone, somewhere suggested he get a Captain's jersey against the Gators in 2 weeks. Amen to that.
He’s built for it . He’s very, very tough physically, mentally. He’s strong. I think that he came from a high school Cedartown where they’re just tough. They coach tough. - Coach Mark Richt on Nick Chubb
7. Guess what? Prior to the game, Georgia was in the top 10 in + turnover ratio. We now lead the nation in turnover margin (+13). To date, we have 7 fumble recoveries and 10 picks. When you go on the road, you have to protect the football. We did not turn it over in Columbia or Little Rock, and emerged from both venues at +9. Wowzers....
7a. Quincy Mauger and Dominick Sanders are playing very well. They are generally in position, and are becoming ball-hawking superstars. Damian Swann's pick just before the half was, as it turned out, a pretty big deal. Our defense still has some issues, and the routes over the middle are still problematic, but our secondary are seeing the field better and the results are undeniable. And, they're still learning.
8. Special teams continues to be special. Marshall Morgan hit on his only chance of the game from 37 yards (and 6 for 6 in PATs). Ray Drew's block of the Razorback's first PAT sent a little jolt of energy through our bench, no? As mentioned earlier, McKenzie is a threat every time he touches the ball. Punting was a little bit suspect, with Collin Barber and Adam Erickson combining for 3 punts for a 35 yard average.
9. Arkansas out gained Georgia 422 yards to 386, with the majority of the Hogs yardage coming in the 2nd half against a tired defense. Glad we had the lead. Did I mention you can never score enough points in this league? Good.
10. The offensive line had a pretty good day. When you can rush the ball for 207 total yards against a defense that only allowed 67 yards rushing to Alabama with as much success as we did, some props are warranted. Hutson Mason took a few sacks, and some of this is due to his internal clock not quite ticking loud enough. But for the most part, we performed well.
11. This Georgia team is mentally tough. You'd have to be considering all the drama of the last 10 days. Whatever our coaches are telling these guys, it is working. The upcoming bye week could not come at a better time. Some guys are dinged up, and the extra week certainly bodes well for Sony Michel's return...
12. ...having said that, if we were to play Florida next weekend I wouldn't gripe. What a Swamp.
13. I love it when our defense scores. LOVE IT. That's three times in the last 4 games: A fumble recovery in the end zone against Tennessee, a Pick-6 vs. Vandy, and Dominick Sanders 58 yard' "Scoop and Score" yesterday after Jordan Jenkins sacked Brandon Allen.
I sense a trend. This makes me wanna boogie.
And now, for the GIF that keeps on Giving for no particular reason...
14. Andre Ware makes my ears bleed.
15. Has Mark Richt gotten his road Mojo back? How I wish we could play South Carolina again. How did we lose to those guys? How did Tennessee lose to Florida? How did I lose my hair so fast?
- I cannot begin to express my sheer joy for the sinkhole that has opened up directly underneath Ben Hill Griffin stadium. Urban Meyer's fingerprints are still all over this program. Sure, he may have won a couple of Natty's, but that guy left behind a worse situation than anyone ever suspected.
The smell of this performance is something the Gator fans in attendance won't be able to get out of their clothes for awhile. It was a rotten milk and burnt hair poured into a used diaper and left in the sun for a month. - Pat Dooley, Gainesville Sun
News for you, Pat. They don't call it The Swamp for nothing.
- Tech lost again. You gotta play defense.
- I didn't even watch Florida State hold on for dear life against Notre Dame. I'm so over Jameis Winston and ESPN's force-fed coverage of this game that it was my personal boycott. I've always hated Notre Dame. Florida State has reached an Auburn-like status for me as well.
- Enjoy your bye week, everyone. This team just might be coming together just like 2007. Except this time, there's a system in place (we think) for getting the most deserving teams into a potential shot at a much bigger prize. I dare not dream this big...or do I?