Georgia playing at level we haven’t seen under Richt

Dogs accept overnor's Cup for Saturday's win, but they're after bigger trophy. (Brant Sanderlin)

Dogs accept Governor's Cup after the win, but they're after something bigger. (Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – This is new ground. Or, more accurately, new air.

Georgia had never reached this elevation before under Mark Richt — not in BCS ranking at this point of the season, not in perception of championship potential.

It didn’t feel like this even during those two SEC titles early in Richt’s tenure, when Georgia already had been cropped out of the national pictured. It wasn’t this real when a Sugar Bowl win left the Bulldogs with a postseason ranking of No. 2, after they already had been leapfrogged in the BCS and left out of the national title game.

Never before in late November under Richt could we look at Georgia and legitimately think: That team can win it all.

Now we can.

Georgia didn’t just beat Georgia Tech on Saturday. It humiliated the Jackets 42-10. The tilt on the scoreboard would have been even greater if Richt hadn’t pulled starters with more than 10 minutes left in the game.

The Dogs led 7-0 after one minute, 14-0 after six minutes, 28-3 at halftime. They made touchdown drives look like wind sprints, ranging in elapsed time from 29 seconds to 2:42. They dominated the game physically. When is the last time Georgia played with that level of urgency?

Linebacker Alec Ogletree and Georgia's defense have have had a lot of reasons to celebrate lately. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Linebacker Alec Ogletree and Georgia's defense have had a lot of reasons to celebrate lately. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

This team is playing with an edge it hasn’t for years. It has beaten its last four opponents (Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia Southern, Tech) by scores of 37-10, 38-0, 45-14 and 42-10. That’s a composite dismembering of 162-34, give or take a limb.

Please, don’t come back with: “But look who they’re playing?”

Georgia has seldom stepped on opponents like this, certainly not in November when everybody, fans and pollsters, are watching.

With the score 42-3 Saturday, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo still could be seen and heard screaming in the coach’s box when things didn’t go well, at one point yelling into his headset, “Get your [bleep] off the field!” after the offense went three-and-out and players walked (not ran) to the sideline.

“Yeah, my dad texted me,” Bobo said later, somewhat sheepishly. “I guess he heard it on radio or TV. But you’re playing in Sanford Stadium. You should at least run off the field.”

Does this seem like the same Georgia team to you?

It was apparent after the win over Auburn: The Dogs are good enough to beat Alabama for the SEC championship. They are good enough to win its first national championship since 1980. They can pass: Aaron Murray has 14 touchdown passes, zero interceptions since the fourth quarter against Florida. They can run: Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall combined for 163 yards, four touchdowns and no carries for losses against Tech, and continue to look more like veterans than freshmen.

Most important, the defense, which had been expected to carry the Dogs all season, only to struggle early with suspensions and injuries and maybe a little bit of day-dreaming about the NFL, now is playing up to expectations.

This isn’t the same team that suffered so many hiccups in the first eight games. It’s certainly not the same team that lost at South Carolina 35-7, which prompted an egg assault on the home of some players and attacks via social media.

“At the end of the season, we might say that game helped us,” Marshall said.

“It was definitely an eye-opener,” linebacker Jarvis Jones said.

“This team is different. This team has something to it,” linebacker Christian Robinson said.

And then this: “I’m just glad my house is safe right now.”

This is the not same defense that was called out as being “soft” by senior strong safety Shawn Williams. Most agree he was on target with his comments, even if he was wrong to throw selected teammates (like Robinson) under the bus.

Richt said his team’s defensive leaders, most of whom passed up the chance to enter the NFL after last season “had a vested interest in his this season went.” He then added, “When Shawn Williams saw it slipping away, he felt he had to say something about it. He challenged everybody. He couldn’t stand what he was seeing. But I think everybody respected him for what he did. They may have not liked what he did but I think they agreed with it.”

Last year, Georgia reached the SEC championship game against No. 1 LSU. They led 10-0 after the first quarter, then gave up the next 42 points.

“We’re a different team,” Jones said.  “We feel like we can beat anybody.”

They certainly look the part.

By Jeff Schultz

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802 comments Add your comment

Chalupa Batman

November 24th, 2012
6:49 pm

First. Tech is awful

Chalupa Batman

November 24th, 2012
6:49 pm

Hbtd! Bring on the tide!

@DanWeiner

November 24th, 2012
6:56 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Steve

November 24th, 2012
6:57 pm

Happy we made it. Go Dawgs!

@DanWeiner

November 24th, 2012
6:57 pm

Not even going to read this. There’s no need. There’s a sucker in every crowd and I’m just shocked it’s Schultz and not Bradley.

JB

November 24th, 2012
6:58 pm

I hear ya Jeff and we are all hopeful… but next week is a different animal. Murray will have to play the game of his career

Uh Oh

November 24th, 2012
6:59 pm

IN RUSS, WE TRUST! HUNKER DOWN HAIRY DAWGS, DEC. 1 THE BIG DAWG EATS. WOOF WOOF WOOF

bdawg

November 24th, 2012
7:00 pm

Either we’re playing great or Tech is terrible. Or both.

JB

November 24th, 2012
7:00 pm

Munson will have to help from above

Vampire Bill

November 24th, 2012
7:01 pm

I think dawgs have a real shot against bama. Sure wish we had Marlon, Abry and Bennett. GO DAWGS

JB

November 24th, 2012
7:02 pm

Bdawg. Tech is horrible. If they had an AD, he might be gone

Uh Oh

November 24th, 2012
7:04 pm

I heard Bobo scream that on TV, I thought it was a fan. Good for him.

Raiderbeater

November 24th, 2012
7:04 pm

Weiner is a weiner

Bjohndawg

November 24th, 2012
7:04 pm

Now we need to beat the tide!

JB

November 24th, 2012
7:05 pm

Gotta let Murray use his legs next week when Bama over pursues

Dawgify

November 24th, 2012
7:08 pm

Great win for everyone, but particularly the seniors, some of whom finish 4-0 against Tech. Proud of our guys for pulling themselves up after SC and putting themselves in this position. They now have a shot at something special, but it won’t be easy. Nothing worth having ever is.

Uh Oh

November 24th, 2012
7:10 pm

JB, Munson is already helping from above.

Russa

November 24th, 2012
7:11 pm

the embarrassment that is Florida State and the ACC allows Florida to stay in the BCS Title picture even though they won’t even play for their conference championship.

Highly Respected Southern Troll

November 24th, 2012
7:11 pm

Way to whip the UGA herd up. Alabama will bring this crowd back down to earth next Saturday.

TroutFalcon

November 24th, 2012
7:12 pm

I think the key to us having success against Bama is how well the Dawgs establish the line of scrimmage. I think Georgia’s secondary and linebackers matchup pretty well against them.

Georgia 21
Alabama 17

Flagboy

November 24th, 2012
7:12 pm

The mutts got lucky. The Jackets will absolutely destroy fsu next week and the mutts next year. Go Tech, Go CPJ and GO OBAMA!!!

Slayer

November 24th, 2012
7:14 pm

We were a national title team in 2002 and 2007. This year we will bring it home like 1980. Alabama and ND are in for the whipping of their lives folks!

ALUM

November 24th, 2012
7:15 pm

Georgia better not turn the ball over against Bama.

kingdaddy

November 24th, 2012
7:15 pm

Good job tonight Jeff. Enjoyed the blogging…

Slayer

November 24th, 2012
7:17 pm

Lewis Grizzard and Larry Munson are happy in heaven today! Next week Saban and Bama belong to the Dawgs! Georgia 42 Bama 17. Georgia 38 ND 10.

blamegame

November 24th, 2012
7:17 pm

@ JB Munson and Erk

falconsrus

November 24th, 2012
7:19 pm

Get yer Pork rinds ready

Observer

November 24th, 2012
7:20 pm

When will ga fans learn that Georgia will always be overrated year in and year out because of the conference they are in? They are going to get manhandled in the sec championship game!!

diamonddaveincali

November 24th, 2012
7:21 pm

UGA will throw on Bama, and Bama better stop our run game, or the Dawgs will annihilate Bama. They are overated, and their qb’s are average. If we smack them some, it ain;t gonna be like the national media predicts. THE WHOLE SEC WILL BE PULLIN FOR THE DAWGS AS SABAN IS THE MOST HATED COACH IN CF, NEXT TO OLE BALL COACH!!!!! GO DAWGS SIC’EM!

UGAX

November 24th, 2012
7:24 pm

first…

…time i’ve ever commented.

go, dawgs! win it all! i’ve been waiting all my life to see this.

Will

November 24th, 2012
7:25 pm

Bring home the title Dawgs! Bring it on home! You are one game away from playing for it all! You can do it!

Will

November 24th, 2012
7:26 pm

I know this…a lot of people are rooting for UGA to win next week. UGA can pass on Bama with ease. Bama’s pass rush isn’t great..their D-backs aren’t great. Gurley and Marshall will run very well. If the defense that played vs. Florida comes, then UGA will whip Bama next week.

JB

November 24th, 2012
7:26 pm

Congrats UGAX

GT Newnan

November 24th, 2012
7:28 pm

Best UGA team since 1980. Unfortunately Tech is about as good as its 6-6 record indicates. Good luck next week Dawgs – you’re going to need it.

Will

November 24th, 2012
7:29 pm

Alabama doesn’t have any dynamic receivers outside of Amari Cooper #8 and Commings will shut him down. The only thing that worries me with Bama is their All-American O-line and their run game with Lacy and Yeldon. But they can be stopped. Jenkins and Geathers will push them back and stop them. Alabama’s O vs. Georgia’s D? Advantage UGA.

Jesse

November 24th, 2012
7:30 pm

Troll, you have been saying that for weeks!

Justin

November 24th, 2012
7:30 pm

This team cannot win it all because they won’t get the chance after BAMA throttles them next weekend. Wait till next year (again)

SavannahDawg

November 24th, 2012
7:31 pm

Enter your comments here

Mike Franklin

November 24th, 2012
7:31 pm

“Georgia playing at level we haven’t seen under Richt”

Bovine excrement… sorry, but somebody has a poor memory. You may not have seen it as much as Dawgs fans would prefer, but we’ve seen this before. In one case, UGA stomped Arkansas in the SEC title game and in another, we ripped a hole in an unbeaten Hawaii team… a game which was a media slap in the face to the Dawgs anyway.

mark

November 24th, 2012
7:33 pm

Can we beat Bama? Ok, what will it take?

Ghost

November 24th, 2012
7:33 pm

Poor little Justin , Gt fans feeling really irrelevant today?

Patrick

November 24th, 2012
7:34 pm

Where are all of those GT fans now?

SavannahDawg

November 24th, 2012
7:36 pm

Georgia Tech scoring a late meaningless touchdown, just screwed up a perfectly good afternoon. GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ellijay

November 24th, 2012
7:38 pm

Bullshat the team that beat Hawaii could have won the natl championship

Dan

November 24th, 2012
7:40 pm

Hey Justin go marry your sister? Go dawgs!

Dawg Fan

November 24th, 2012
7:41 pm

How much longer do Tech fans tolerate that high school offense. PJ needs to go back to coaching 1-AA teams!!

Dan

November 24th, 2012
7:43 pm

Holy crap dawg man, I was just thinking that! To the bat cave and a dawg win!

Justin

November 24th, 2012
7:45 pm

You Dawg fans seem a bit testy even after a big (LOL) win. It must be the reality of next week creepin’ in. I’ll be back next week after BAMA rolls you up. Be sure to come back to the post SECCG blog. Roll Damn Tide!! Off to watch ND / USC

BullDogsSuckA$$$

November 24th, 2012
7:45 pm

jeff, you and all the other f****** morons out there are going to be in for a REAL disappointment when the dumba$$ dogs get their a$$ whooped by alabama…all you stupid trolls are sooo delusional to actually think y’all have a chance…I will be sitting here laughing so hard while the dogs get embarrassed in their own state and have to retreat back to your little troll homes… LOL HAHA

Thomas Not Concise Brown

November 24th, 2012
7:47 pm

um… playing on a whole nuther level? but, i thought we were told before this game that Georgia Tech was the worst team in college football? so why does this 11th out of 12 win against .500 win team all of a sudden equate to playing at a whole nuther level?

but ironically, i do agree. you are playing on a whole nuther level and in a week it will be painfully apparent to uga fans that the team who lost big to south Carolina and feasted on opponents who as a whole did not have a winning record, really doesn’t belong in national championship talk.

Alabama rolls and more Georgia players homes are egged. its an easy prediction.