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15 Thoughts Thinks the Cowbell is Worse than the Vuvuzela

2010 was the last time we played in Starkville. The 2010 World Cup was hosted in a country that also allowed God-awful noise makers. Coincidence? I think not...

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 12 Georgia at Mississippi State
Kearis had a couple of tough catches in traffic.

Now, a brief word from your friendly neighborhood curmudgeon blogger:

1. The only person(s) on Earth that should be allowed to play the cowbell is Will Farrell (or, Blue Öyster Cult’s Albert Bouchard).

The only thing possibly more annoying than 60,000* Mississippi State fans equipped with a cowbell is a vuvuzela.

*Davis-Wade stadium holds 61,337. Last night, there were probably 12,000 + non-cowbell totin’ Georgia Bulldog fans in attendance. The cacophony could’ve been a lot worse.

We haven’t played at Davis-Wade stadium since 2010, where the Conference turns a blind eye to this particular noise maker. In 2010, FIFA - the governing body of the World Cup - turned a blind eye (and, ear) to the Vuvuzela. Coincidence? The older I get, the more I realize there are no coincidences in this world. Only incompetence, much like last night’s SEC officiating. More on this in a bit...

2. I guess I’m just getting old because as soon as the sun set, my internal clock began to wind my old bones down like a toy monkey with old batteries. The coffee pot saved me, as did Georgia’s first drive of the game. I was back in business. Anyway, I figured we’d win this game something like 41-21 if we played a clean game. After all, Mississippi State has played very well at home, scoring about 43 points on average while giving up 22. We’d have to play a fairly clean game to achieve my prediction.

We didn’t play a clean game yet exceeded my prediction. That’s good, right?

3. Before I get into the “good” stuff, we must address some things that have to get worked out. Our offensive line, particularly guard play, was really poor at times last night and I don’t know if we’ve got the right personnel at the moment starting the games.

MSU’s defensive front is a very good one, and they came to play, particularly their big DL Tyrus Wheat. But man, we couldn’t do anything on early downs between the tackles and seemed to get away from what worked so well last week in terms of blocking schemes. We were 6 of 13 on 3rd down conversions (1-1 on 4th down) and found ourselves in too many of these situations because positive running plays on early downs were virtually non-existent.

4. Georgia had 179 rushing yards on the night. Seems decent, no? However, subtract Ladd Monkey’s 70-yard end-around and Kendall Milton’s 34-yard late TD, we’ve got 75 yards on 31 carries for an anemic 2.4 yards/per. We must do better.

4a. Having said that, it was great to see Kendall get a score through the biggest hole opened up all night, wasn’t it. This kid deserves to catch a break.

5. For the second week in a row, clock management just before the half left much to be desired. We settled for a field goal last week vs. Tennessee when there was ample time to score a touchdown, but precious seconds were frittered away by the kind of stuff that would drive us mad during the Richt era. Last night, I thought Kirby or Todd might’ve gotten a bit greedy. We had 51 seconds before the half and should have eaten the clock. So, we can’t get a first down, Brett Thorson hits a poor 36-yard punt and Mississippi State’s punt returner glides all the way down the sideline after Kelee Ringo whiffs on a tackle he’s got to make because the rest of the punt coverage team are slow enough to be timed with a sun dial. Oooof.

6. Turnovers could have played a much bigger part in this game had we not simply out-talented their squad, but we are now -2 on the year in turnover rate. And we got lucky. Daijun Edwards most certainly fumbled (stripped), but the ref blew the whistle citing forward progress had been stopped. Stetson threw 2 picks, the second one on a bizarre play that fit a strange night by big Tyrus Wheat as he channeled his internal David Pollock and memories of his 2002 interception in South Carolina’s end zone. As well as Stetson played, he’s lucky he didn’t have 3 picks in the game when he forced a throw about 20 yards deep on an out route that wasn’t open but had a wide-open Darnell Washington just over the line with a head of steam. Take what the defense gives you, Stet. A bird in the hand (in “Big 0’s” case, an Ostrich) is better than a pick in the bushes.

7. So, enough bashing of our guys. Mississippi State has a good offense and an above-average defense. Despite shooting ourselves in the foot on occasion, we won. We actually won pretty damn big and the issue was never really in doubt. Much like the Florida game, we may have become a bit unfocused. The remarkable thing about this team is, when they get their collective shit together, they can either grind out a long drive or hit you with a few big plays to atone. Good teams win. Great teams cover. I think we are a great team...

...that hasn’t put a complete game together since Oregon. Think of the possibilities?

8. This was a “chunk” play game. It was really great to get Kearis Jackson involved and he made the tough catches on the 2nd touchdown drive on the night with a couple of spectacular grabs in traffic. Kearis has been a bit quiet but had his best game since the opener vs. Oregon. If we are to achieve our goals, we’ll need him. With more weapons becoming available with the anticipated return of A.D. Mitchell in the not-too-distance future, this will open up things in the passing game more than they have been. Think about that. As good as we are, we might be trending to becoming even more dangerous at just the right time.

#10 came up big last night.

9. Ladd McConkey had a night, didn’t he? This kid is improving as his toe issues are abating and his confidence that was so shaken (think back to Kent State) does not seem to be an issue. His speed was on full display on the 2nd snap from scrimmage after the half. McConkey has become a leader on this team, and you could see him barking at the offensive line as the 3rd quarter ended and we were having no success on goal line rushing plays. When the camera shows a closeup of his face with his helmet on and mouthpiece in, he looks like he’s still in high-school. Hold onto that youth, my man. It don’t last forever.

This is how you handle adversity coming out of the half. Brilliant play call and execution.

10. Stetson Bennett played an imperfect game on a night when he wasn’t alone in this regard. But Bennett still one of the best athletes out there regardless of position. I didn’t appreciate the move he put on MSU’s #19 in real-time, but the replay is what makes this art:

Stet was 25/37 with 3 additional passing touchdowns and 289 yards for a 7.8 ypa. He simply continues to make plays and, as mentioned before, might just have his #5 back to throw to sooner than later. Good times.

11. I feel like we underutilized our tight ends last night to a degree, particularly when the early running plays weren’t there. But when we needed them, both Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington were just about perfect. It was good to see “Big 0” catch a score (because Lord knows we weren’t running it in from short), and Bowers nearly had a 2nd touchdown except for a very good defensive play on the ball. Between them, 10 catches and 101 yards - a bit more than a third of Bennett’s passing productivity.

Taking the lead and never looking back (despite a few anxious moments).

“Big 0” for the score.

Brock Bowers stated to Todd Blackledge that Darnell Washington is really the catalyst for how the offense works because of his ability to block and receive. He’s truly a matchup nightmare. Scouts all over the NFL are drooling over the talent on this team (except in Atlanta, probably).

12. Sean McDonough and Todd Blackledge cited how well Georgia is when it comes to tackling, and how they excel in 1 on 1 situations. I believe Kamari Lassiter’s might’ve had the best 1 on 1 tackle of the year (so far) on Jo’quavious Marks who had a pretty good head of steam and appeared to be converting a 4th and 1 play inside our 10-yard line:

Puttin’ the game on ice.

13. Jalen Carter had a night as he continues to regain his health and his ability to terrorize anyone trying to block him. In 3rd down passing situations, he’s usually being blocked by a single lineman. It generally doesn’t end very well for the opposition. Carter is a special, special talent and seems to be talking up some of the younger guys on the sideline. Big #88 had 7 tackles, 2 solos, the only sack on the night and 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Apopka, Florida’s finest has become a sure-fire top 3 pick in the draft. Might even be #1 when the lights get turned out on 2022.

Mon dieu! (That’s French for, “1st pick in the 1st round, maybe?”)

13a. On the other hand, someone on defense had to get a bit of coaching last night.

I have no idea who Kirby was barking at, but he obviously wasn’t thrilled with the effort.

14. Special teams were mixed. The good? Jack Podlesny was perfect on the night with a lone field goal and and 6 extra points. His kickoffs were generally deep enough for touchbacks which is a bit of a challenge when the air is colder and denser like it was in Starkvegas.

Brett Thorson, after his monster 75-yard punt last Saturday vs. Tennessee, has mis-hit more than he’s really connected with. This needs to be fixed. Perhaps his lack of punting throughout the year has affected him? Punt returns and kick returns were “handled.” Going on the road in this Conference, at night with a zillion cowbells ringing in your head could lead to bad things. Fielding the ball cleanly is a win.

15. I do think this team, at times, played pretty poorly last night. But at times, some of the position groups were outstanding. The receiver corps across the board were excellent. The offensive line couldn’t run block for love nor money, but they gave Stetson plenty of time to do his thing. On defense, anytime you hold a Mike Leach offense to well below average in rushing and passing is a job well-done. Big plays from Will Rogers were really scarce and what kept more MSU drives going were penalties (some legit, some bogus).

The officiating - for both teams - was really poor. I suppose it all evened out, but I’ll say it again: This Conference deserves better. It certainly isn’t just limited to when we play, either.

Anyone else see this yesterday? Is anyone listening?

Mike Leach, before the half, wasn’t thrilled with the refs, either. But at least he was philosophical and asked the important questions.

I’d like to have a long, in-depth conversation with this man. I may have to take some peyote to understand him, but I’d do it for science.


  • This man gets paid a lot of money to be one of the most prominent voices of college football. I just don’t understand.
  • Texas A&M won’t be bowl eligible. They got UMass next (toss up? ;-) and close with LSU.
  • Look, I hate Auburn. You hate Auburn. But we love college football and what it means to us. So, this is pretty good:

It’s a sentimental sport, no matter who you root for.

  • Congratulations to Vandy. The 26-game SEC losing streak is over! I watched the entire 2nd half of this game and must say it was satisfying and strangely comforting, much like a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese on a cold afternoon.
  • Dan Lanning made a huge rookie head coach mistake last night in Eugene. I bet he won’t make the same mistake again. Vol fans happy...
  • Texas is being a 6-4 team at this point. TCU gutted out a tough win in Austin that many didn’t predict. Vol fans not happy....
  • I watched a bit of Miami vs. Georgia Tech. This game was so low on the broadcasting resources priority that the only thing the “chyron” showed was the score and the clock. No down or distance, timeout counter, play clock, or anything. Tech lost. Both teams suck.
  • We’ll get to meet Harold Perkins, Jr. in Atlanta on December 3rd. He’s a rising star in the Conference. He, and Malaki Starks, have a good case for SEC Freshman of the Year.
  • I thought Josh Heupel was a bit of a jerk running the score up on Mizzou yesterday, but then I remembered how Mizzou’s offensive lineman tried and succeeded in hurting Jalen Carter with the chop blocks. Therefore, screw ‘em both.
  • And Mizzou gave Eli Drinkwitz an extension and a raise. In my next life, I’m coming back as a mediocre coach in the SEC.

Anyway, have a good week, err’body. We are the 2022 SEC East Champs and we’re not done.

As Always, GO DAWGS!