Archive for November, 2009

Dogs show it’s how you finish that counts

Caleb King and his teammates celebrate his game-winning touchdown against Auburn. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Caleb King and his teammates celebrate his game-winning touchdown against Auburn. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Still smarting from the Soulja Boy-dancing-Dawgs Blackout two years ago, the Auburn Tigers took the opportunity to do their own dance in Sanford Stadium Saturday night as they lined up for the second half kickoff with a 14-7 lead over Georgia.

Unfortunately for the faithful in orange and blue, they learned the lesson that what really matters is who dances last, as the Bulldogs shook off an abysmal start to come from behind and notch their fourth consecutive win over Auburn, 31-24.

Not many of the capacity crowd at Sanford would have seen such an outcome after watching what had to be the ugliest first quarter of football the Dogs have played in a long time.

The Georgia defense came out of the gate looking like it never had watched any film on Auburn, as the Tigers methodically marched down the field twice for easy scores to go up 14-0 with 3:15 still left in the first …

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Free tickets if you’re the ultimate fan!

You don't have to wear a silly costume to be the ultimate fan, but something to make your photo stand out is a good idea. (AJC staff)

You don't have to wear a silly costume to be the ultimate fan, but something to make your photo stand out is a good idea. (AJC staff)

There’s still time to let everyone know you’re the ultimate Georgia Bulldogs fan and win free tickets to the last home game of the season.

All you have to do is send us a photo of the ultimate fan and you could wind up joining me in one of the sky boxes at Sanford Stadium for the Kentucky game.

The theme of our final Junkyard Blawg Fan of the Week contest of the season: the ultimate Bulldogs fan.

Send us a photo of the ultimate fan and, if you like, provide a little information on why this person deserves that honor. This theme is pretty wide open, so just about any kind of fan photo will qualify. Entries must be in by midnight on Monday (Nov. 16). We’ll narrow the entries down and put the finalists to a vote of the readers next week.

The grand prize winner gets three tickets for one of the sky box suites at Sanford Stadium, where they’ll join …

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Thompkins does heavy lifting for Fox’s Dogs

Trey Thompkins scores against New Orleans at the Steg Friday night. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Trey Thompkins scores against New Orleans at the Steg Friday night. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

There weren’t really any surprises for Georgia basketball fans as the Mark Fox era officially got under way Friday night at Stegeman Coliseum.

With limited personnel in the wake of the Dennis Felton meltdown for the program last season, Fox faces a major rebuilding project. The Dogs figured to open the season with only one proven commodity, sophomore forward Trey Thompkins, and that’s pretty much what we saw.

But against a pretty evenly matched Sun Belt Conference opponent, the University of New Orleans Privateers, it was enough, as the Dogs led most of the game, faltered briefly in the second half, and then pulled it out 67-59.

Thompkins, who had 25 points, made seven of 11 shots from the floor, including three of five 3-pointers. He also grabbed a dozen rebounds. The only other Dog in double figures was Jeremy Price, with 12 points and three rebounds.

Aside from Thompkins, Georgia was …

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Keys to a Georgia win over Auburn

A.J. Green caught the game-winning TD against Auburn last year. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

A.J. Green caught the game-winning TD against Auburn last year. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

So why is a 5-4 Georgia team with middling to poor stats in most offensive and defensive categories a 5-point favorite over a 7-3 Auburn team that has one of the SEC’s best offenses? It certainly isn’t home-field advantage, as that goes out the window in this series.

Maybe it’s because Auburn’s gaudy offensive stats have been padded by feasting on cupcakes while the Tigers lost three in a row when they hit the meat of their SEC schedule. Maybe it’s because the Tigers’ defense is even worse than Georgia’s and the Dogs have A.J. Green matched up against a patchwork Auburn secondary.

Or perhaps it’s because everyone recognizes that Georgia needs this game more and there’s still faith that Mark Richt can dial up another late-season surge as he’s done before.

Whatever the reason, this is indeed the Dogs’ chance to make a statement that they’re not as bad as the Tennessee game made the rest of …

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Rivalry more bitter for some ‘cousins’

There are a lot of mixed marriages between the two schools.

There are a lot of mixed marriages between the two schools.

As the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry returns, I have to say that I really don’t dislike Auburn fans, unlike the supporters of a couple of our other longtime rivals. The two schools share a lot of ties and have intermingled for years. We’re better than them, of course, but they don’t rub me the wrong way like some other rival fan groups.

A lot of alums and supporters of the two schools seem to feel that way, judging from what I’ve heard over the years. It’s a sentiment that was also reflected in some of the reader comments when I wrote the other day about the series with Auburn being my favorite of Georgia’s football rivalries.

As one reader calling himself Dan put it: “You really can throw out the records when these teams play. The games are usually pretty hotly contested, and it always seems that one team [ruins] the other team’s season (and it’s usually the underdog). Both programs are very similar in history and …

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Who is the ultimate Georgia Bulldogs fan?

Who's the ultimate UGA fan? (AJC staff)

Who's the ultimate UGA fan? (AJC staff)

Is the ultimate Georgia Bulldogs fan the guy who follows the Dogs to every game, home or away? The one who paints his chest and screams encouragement to the team throughout the game? The fan with the craziest game-day getup?  The one who puts on the biggest tailgate spread? The old alum who hobbles to the game on arthritic knees? The little boy who doesn’t ever want to take off his Georgia jersey and grows up to follow the Dogs faithfully?

Or is the ultimate fan just a typical Bulldogs backer who takes every opportunity to show his or her support for the school?

However you would describe the ultimate Dogs fan, we want to see them. Whether it’s you or someone you know, send us a photo of the ultimate fan and you could wind up joining me for the last home game of the season.

That’s the theme of our final Junkyard Blawg Fan of the Week contest of the season: the ultimate Bulldogs fan.

Send us a photo of the ultimate fan and, if you like, …

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Bobo in no hurry … but why?

Quit messing around, Mike. (Georgia Sports Communications)

Quit messing around, Mike. (Georgia Sports Communications)

I’m puzzled by the way offensive coordinator Mike Bobo flirts with using the no-huddle offense.

Over the past couple of seasons, whenever Bobo has gone hurry-up, the Dogs usually have moved the ball well. And then just as his offense is clicking in the no-huddle, Bobo will suddenly drop it and go conservative — sometimes before the drive is even over, as in the bowl game against Michigan State.

It’s as if Bobo isn’t comfortable in the no-huddle, even when it’s working.

Most recently, Georgia opened the game against Tennessee Tech in the no-huddle, then dropped it after a couple of successful scoring drives. Talking with the Bulldogs Blog, quarterback Joe Cox denied the Dogs were really playing “no-huddle.” It was, he said, just that “we wanted to get some plays run, get the line up and down fast, and try to put points on the board quick those first couple of drives. … It was just a change of pace, something that a lot …

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What’s the problem Between the Hedges?

Would bigger student sections make for more of a home-field advantage? (Photo by Olivia King)

Would bigger student sections make for more of a home-field advantage? (Photo by Olivia King)

We all know that under Mark Richt UGA has been a more dangerous team on the road than at home, but when football historian Patrick Garbin heard a Georgia fan lament recently that the Dogs no longer have any home-field advantage at Sanford Stadium, he decided to see if that is really true.

With the home-field advantage defined as the difference between your winning percentage at home and on the road, Garbin crunched the numbers (you can check out the charts on his blog) and found that, indeed, for the Dogs the HFA has basically disappeared in the Richt era, particularly against ranked teams.

Why is that?

Some point to a fan base that is heavy on longtime (and aging) season ticket holders while tickets for the more vociferous students are limited, reducing the crowd noise. Garbin notes there are also physical reasons why Sanford, which is not fully enclosed, is not as loud as some other …

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10 great Georgia wins over Auburn

Tra Battle was one of the stars of the 2006 game. (University of Georgia)

Tra Battle was one of the stars of the 2006 game. (University of Georgia)

I said yesterday that Georgia-Auburn is my favorite of UGA’s rivalries. I’m sure a big reason for that is that the Dogs have clinched so many SEC titles against the Tigers, and in keeping with the quirky nature of the series, quite often at Auburn.

But there have also been some terrific upsets by less than great Georgia teams.

Overall, Georgia-Auburn has provided many thrilling moments. Here are the 10 greatest games in the series since I’ve been following the Dogs:

1959: Georgia’s 14-13 win in Athens. After a key fumble recovery by the Dogs’ Pat Dye, who would later become head coach and athletics director at Auburn, Fran Tarkenton threw a fourth-down 13-yard touchdown pass to Bill Heron to secure Wally Butts’ last SEC championship.

1962: Georgia’s 30-21 win at Auburn. Larry Rakestraw threw three touchdown passes to Don Porterfield as the Dogs upset the heavily favored Tigers in the biggest win of coach …

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Bulldog Bites: ‘We don’t have too many goals left’

Joe Cox and the Dogs have a new goal. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Joe Cox and the Dogs have a new goal. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Say this for the 2009 Georgia Bulldogs, they know how to adjust their goals in a season of diminished expectations.

Usually, at the beginning of every season, the official goal is to win the SEC East and then the SEC championship, which makes you a contender to play for the BCS championship. Beyond that, the seniors on this team wanted to become the sixth consecutive UGA class to claim 40 or more wins.

All that’s out the window now, so the Dogs are setting their sights on winning out so they can extend their best-in-the-nation streak of consecutive seasons with at least eight wins to 13 straight years.

“Around here, a 10-win season is marginal,” quarterback Joe Cox told Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald. But now the Dogs “know we need this one to finish up the season strong and reach our new goal of being 8-4 after the regular season. … It’s not something that we have plastered all over the locker room, but …

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