Everything in the Bulldog Nation isn’t exactly the way we want it, but let’s put off that discussion for at least a couple of hours. A win like Saturday’s is worth savoring just a bit more.
The Dogs’ honor roll for the Tech game is quite lengthy. The entire offensive and defensive lines deserve to be singled out. Washaun Ealey and Caleb King ran like Georgia backs are supposed to run. Reshad Jones redeemed himself from a year earlier with probably the best game he’s ever played.
And let’s not forget Mike Bobo. No, he didn’t call a perfect game. That attempted short pass on third-and-4 on the Dogs’ last drive, forcing an unsuccessful long field goal attempt, wasn’t the best choice. It was a time and place to just give it to the backs again, going for it on fourth down, if necessary. And in the second half, when Tech crowded the line to slow down Georgia’s run game, it’s curious that Bobo didn’t take at least a couple more shots downfield.
But overall, it was a masterful performance by Bobo. He went against his natural inclination to maintain “balance” at all costs and ran the ball a whopping 44 times in the game, which was the perfect approach to playing Paul Johnson’s team.
On defense, Willie Martinez stymied the Jackets for most of the first half. The DL continued to stuff the Jackets up the middle in the second half, though Tech has success challenging the Dogs on the corners. There’s no way of knowing whether the Dogs could have held if the ball hadn’t been dropped on the Jackets’ last fourth down play, but that’s fortunately not something we had to find out.
And on the plus side, the Dogs finally won the turnover battle, which usually means winning the game. We could drive ourselves crazy with “what if’s” about how the season could have turned out if Georgia had not been so terrible in turnover ratio most of the season, but on this night it worked out.
Special teams was the least successful aspect of Georgia’s game against Tech. When Blair Walsh went for the end zone on kickoffs, he got touchbacks. When he went with his coaches’ preferred directional kicks, the results were not as successful. And the kickoff coverage was still not very good.
Overall, though, the Dogs played probably their best overall game of the season against one of their toughest foes. And, for once, they didn’t beat themselves. Talent has never really been a question this season for the Bulldogs; it’s been execution and mental toughness. On Saturday, they played the way they should have played all year.
On the surface, a 7-5 season isn’t anything to celebrate. But it’s exponentially more satisfying than 6-6, especially when that seventh win brings the Governor’s Cup back to Athens.
Well done, Dogs!