Well, an underwhelming season produces an underwhelming bowl assignment, and so the 7-5 Bulldogs find themselves facing 6-6 Texas A&M today in the Independence Bowl, of former weedeater infamy.
No matter how entertaining a game it turns out to be, 5 p.m. on a nonholiday Monday is not exactly a prime slot, though it is the only bowl game taking place today.
The game plan seems pretty clear for the Dogs: Run the ball and keep running it so that dual threat QB Jerrod Johnson and the fast-paced Aggie offense stay on the sideline. Hopefully, the presence of A.J. Green on the field will keep the A&M defense honest and keep them from selling out completely against our rushing attack.
When A&M has the ball, the game will be fast-paced and Georgia has to play smart. Against the two other similar offenses that the Dogs faced this season, the UGA defense did pretty well in a loss to Okie State and in a win over no-huddle Auburn. It’ll be interesting to see how the Dogs fare with just Rodney Garner and two grad assistants in charge.
I know the matchup of Georgia’s pourous D and A&M’s fifth-ranked offense has a lot of fans concerned, even if the Aggies’ defense is even worse than ours. But if the Dogs can hold on to the ball and keep from killing themselves with penalties, I’m somewhat optimistic. We’ll see how long that lasts.
It should at least be interesting. Playing the Aggies, with all those old-style “yells” and their myriad traditions, should be sort of like a trip back in time to the way college football used to be, even if the play on the field is up-to-date.
Anyway, I’ll keep updating this blog throughout the game with my thoughts and observations on the action. I’m watching the game on ESPN2 like most of you are. Feel free to comment, and whenever there’s a break in the action I’ll check in on what you’re saying and respond if I have anything to add.
Here we go …
You know it’s not a big-deal game when the sideline reporter is a guy. Richt told him that if A.J. plays like he warmed up, it’ll be good for Georgia. How did he warm up? “Pretty darn good.”
Decent kickoff return by Boykin.
Nice throw on second down to A.J., who knows he shouldn’t have cut back. Could have been a much bigger play.
Aggies penetrated and stuffed Caleb in the backfield. Blown assignments won’t cut it in this game. Georgia punts.
Aggies backed up and go nowhere. Nice three-and-out for Georgia. Good pressure on the QB.
First flag: False start. Dumb.
What’s with all this horizontal passing? If you’re not going to run, throw it downfield!
Third and 11, dump off pass to Chapas doesn’t go far.
So far, Bobo isn’t calling the game with the kind of confidence in the running game that he showed against Tech.
Dogs still getting good pressure on Aggies QB.
Incomplete attempt to A.J. but at least it was downfield.
Another pass batted down. Looks like injury to Josh Davis is having an impact.
Another fumble not recovered by the Dogs. What else is new.
Good place for a holding call against the Aggies.
And again. Thank you.
Good pressure by Brandon Wood. Another punt.
Bad call on the “incomplete” pass. Needs to be reviewed or challenged.
Blind man did the review. He took a couple of steps with the ball!
Third and six. Poor play-calling by Bobo. Throw it at least as far as you need to make a first down! Bubble screen fails again.
Missed tackle gives A&M a first down.
Defense not looking as good on this series. Curran apparently being held out of game right now for discplinary reasons. Aggies moving the ball.
Good play by Prince Miller. But he needs to act like he’s done it before.
End of the first quarter. Neither team had established any rhythm on offense until this latest Aggies series.
Aggies line up for a field goal attempt. Blocked!
Play-action pass gets a big 2 yards.
Third and long again. Good throw to A.J. for the first down.
Then King dropped in the backfield. Vince Vance is not doing a good job filling in for Davis.
Excellent move by Mike Moore for first down.
Running game definitely is not having a good day. Ealey down.
Another pass batted down.
Joe Cox reverts to form on third down and throws a pick. At least the personal foul call on Aggies reduces the yardage gained some.
Long pass to an open Aggies receiver. I don’t like the way this game is trending.
Tackling by Georgia defense is really poor.
False start on Aggies on third and long. Incomplete pass.
Another field goal try by Aggies. No, pooch kick.
Dogs need to get something going. Nothing straight ahead. Loss on the play.
Another false start on Clint Boling. This looks like midseason again.
Another big catch by Mike Moore for first down.
But Chapas drops a catch right in his hands!
TAMU coverage looked a little “tight” on that pass, but they got away with it.
Jerrod Johnson makes something out of nothing.
Johnson leaves Curran grabbing … nothing.
Long pass complete. Poor coverage. Dogs will be lucky to get out of this half scoreless.
Someone was complaining about how slowly comments post. Tell me about it. Typical WordPress.
Server didn’t like what I said and went out. Aggies touchdown. Wide open receiver. You can’t give a quarterback that much time. Too many Dogs defenders standing around.
Boykin returns kickoff for Georgia!! 81 yards!
Flag, but it’s on Aggies. Alright! Tied 7-7.
Penalty enforced on kick. But Georgia kicks it low and hard, which doesn’t allow much time for coverage to get down, so they get the ball at the 25.
Blocked kick downed at 2 yard line by Vance Cuff!
Touchdown King! Looked like he broke plane of the goal before he fumbled. Maybe not. Georgia’s score either way. Heads-up play by Mike Moore. 14-7 Georgia!
Aggies in even more of a hurry-up than usual.
Another bad play by Curran.
Dogs get a sack.
Another long throw for Aggies. Nine seconds left. Another completion. Our secondary looked clueless.
Officials gave A&M a chance by not putting the ball down quickly enough. But looks like time has expired anyway. The predominantly maroon crowd not happy.
So we go to halftime, with Georgia leading 14-7. Special teams get the first-half game ball for the Dogs.
Well, I feel better at halftime about our chances than I did for the first half of the second quarter, but our offensive ineffectiveness is a major concern. Only 99 yards and four first downs in the first half. That’s pitiful. Only 27 yards rushing. So much for our running game being back. Can the loss of one player on the line hurt that much? Apparently so.
Second half …
Another nice throw for Aggies.
A&M receiver breaks another tackle for a first down. Dogs are not tackling well tonight.
Geno can’t quite bring Johnson down. But at least he has to throw the ball away.
Reshad Jones drops an interception. Typical.
No Dogs even near wide open Aggies receiver.
Another missed tackle on Aggies run for a touchdown. Tied up again.
Dogs take pooch kick at 29.
Offensive line moves early again. They’ve regressed.
Third and long. Big-time catch and run by Caleb.
Someone tell Ron Franklin what Washaun’s last name is.
Bad third down play. Did A.J. lose the ball? Why didn’t they throw against the gimpy cornerback?
Walsh nails a field goal. Georgia up 17-14. Need to do better than that.
Short kick. Fabris’ legacy lives on.
Offsides on the Georgia defense. But Dogs follow it with good pressure on the QB.
Special teams again. Snap sails over Aggies punter’s head. Georgia gets the ball with great field position.
Nice throw but then running play completely stuffed. But previous play is “under review.” Tavares King didn’t keep possession, it looks like on replay. Yep, ruled incomplete.
So we go for the same pass to him again and Cox throws it too far out of bounds.
Now third and 10. A&M expects Cox to throw to A.J., but he throws 24-yard TD strike to Aron White! Georgia leads 24-14.
Dogs still not finishing their tackles. Short play turns into a long one.
Aggies go for it on fourth. Dogs intercept!
Nice hole for Ealey and he takes it for 19 yards. Dogs eating some clock.
A.J. goes up for a pass he normally would pull down but doesn’t get it. Looks like he may have hurt himself again.
Dogs punt. A.J. looks OK.
Flag thrown on Dogs for facemask. Jeff Owens. Takes them into Georgia territory.
Reshad Jones grabs another pick!
A.J. goes up for a nice catch. Cox overthrew him but he got it.
End of the third quarter.
Offsides on A&M defense.First and goal. Ealey takes it down to to 1.
Dogs stuffed on next two plays. C’mon!
Play action to Aron White for the TD. Brilliant play call by Bobo. Georgia up 31-14.
Penalty on kickoff for offsides; gotta kick it again.
Almost an interception by Branden Smith. That would have been a touchdown, too.
Ugh, close-ups of burritos should be outlawed from the airwaves.
Aggies punt to Logan Gray.
Caleb picks up the first down. You’ve got to think the Dogs will want to keep it on the ground as much as they can from here on.
Nice run by Chapas. Caught the Aggies asleep.
Sorry, Wordpress went out for a few minutes. Smart play call by Bobo.
Touchdown by Caleb King, but late flag in. Offsetting personal fouls.
Georgia leads 38-14. That’s more like it!
This isn’t the same Jerrod Johnson as in the Texas game. Thank goodness.
Logan Gray in at QB for the Dogs. Ealey off on long run.
SEC chant going as the clock goes under 8 minutes.
Dogs’ running game in this half and in first half is like night and day. Good halftime adjustment on the offensive line.
Fullbacks carry the load on this drive as Chapas scores!
Andrew Jensen in for the PAT and it’s no good. But it’s a nice gesture to let a senior have a shot at it in the bowl. Georgia leads 44-14.
OK, 4:24 to go. It took a while to get on track, but the Dogs finally wore them down.
Georgia’s got the second-string defense in.
Aggies complete long pass down to the Georgia 10 with just over 2 minutes left.
Touchdown pass for A&M with 1:13 left.
And they’re actually going for 2. Didn’t get it.
Georgia leads 44-20. Dogs fixing to douse Richt. Onside kick recovered by Georgia. Richt has himself surrounded by cops. Stayed dry.
That’s it! Dogs take it! Final score: 44-20.