It’s like the football gods sit down before UK games and just pick one guy on the other team that they want to have the greatest statistical game of their career. Trey Burton, Cam Newton, Marcus Lattimore and now Washaun Ealey have all put up disgusting stats against us.
It’s hard to describe how we got beat so bad. The three fumbles in the first half definitely weren’t in the game plan but it’s so much more than that.
We didn’t create any turnovers. Our comebacks against Auburn and South Carolina were facilitated by our creating turnovers and often getting some fortuitous bounces, like the Raymond Sanders recovery of the Cobb muffed punt last week, which we didn’t get this week.
We gave up a huge kick return after we already experienced a let down by settling for a field goal on our first effective drive.
We couldn’t convert on 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1 in the first half, which turned into a Georgia touchdown.
Their punter was really, really good. This can’t be overstated. That guy could kick and he pinned us back deep. When your back is to your goal line you like to have a good running back to get you out of it. We didn’t have Derrick Locke though and I guarantee #20 isn’t fumbling it at the 5 like Donald Russell did.
We moved the ball and built momentum but turned it over, like on the LaRod strip and the Hartline interception in the endzone during the 3rd quarter, and destroyed any good vibes we had.
Our best players got injured. Locke was already out, Cobb and Trevathan got dinged up and LaRod, our go to guy in the endzone, sprained his knee after his second touchdown.
We took some deep shots by way of long passes to Chris Matthews but they never materialized.
The Georgia defenders lived in our backfield. We didn’t get the push up front like we did last week and Hartline was forced to throw the ball in places that weren’t going to lead to big plays. Chandler Burden reminded us all that this is his first year on the line. Georgia’s 3-4 caused a lot of trouble for him.
In the end, our defense just couldn’t step up. The first half didn’t follow the same script as the Auburn and South Carolina games because our offense left our defense in some bad situations so the fans weren’t necessarily calling for Steve Brown’s head at halftime. However, during the first drive of the second half we had momentum after LaRod’s touchdown and that was a time when the defense could have stepped up and made a statement. Instead, we give up a long play to A.J. Green and an Ealey touchdown. After LaRod’s second touchdown, Joker didn’t even have enough faith in the defense to kick the ball deep. Failing to recover the onside kick was a huge momentum swing for the Bulldogs. That’s when I became a big fan of Operation Just Don’t Get Beat Too Bad.
It wasn’t all bad though. It’s hard to have a game without anything to be positive about.
I thought that Mike Hartline came out and played a great game despite his two turnovers. He made some great throws and stood in the pocket despite heavy pressure and showed some good mobility by getting outside after the pocket collapsed.
I love how LaRod keeps developing into a complete receiver and I’m going to overlook his turnover as well.
It’s hard to get excited about our running game after a largely ineffective showing, but Raymond Sanders is still a true freshman and he showed great flashes of what we can expect in the coming years with him in the backfield. He broke some good runs and contributed well in the passing game.
Their kicker missed an extra point. This was probably more exciting for those of us watching from home. I’ve never heard commentators get so excited about a kicker with a consecutive streak for successful PATs until this game. Seeing their kicker miss the first extra point of his career just provided a little bit of good karma for those of us forced to listen to such terribly annoying commentating.
Georgia came in as the more talented team but this was definitely a winnable game for us. We went out and just killed ourselves.
I still believe in Operation Win and I can’t wait to get back on track next week against the dirtier Bulldogs of Mississippi State.