Another case of SEC showing up Big 12

Aggies QB Jerrod Johnson runs into a wall of red. (Associated Press)

Aggies QB Jerrod Johnson runs into a wall of red. (Associated Press)

A few more thoughts and notes about Georgia’s win over Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl. …

No one will call this a game for the ages, but Georgia’s 44 points were a bowl record for the Dogs, surpassing the previous high of 41 in the Sugar Bowl win over Hawaii, and Georgia’s six touchdowns matched a record set by the 1941 Dogs in their 40-26 Orange Bowl win over TCU. Not bad considering the offense hardly registered a pulse in the first half. …

What kept Georgia in the game (and with the lead at halftime) until the offense could get on track and begin to wear down a surprisingly effective Aggies defense was the Dogs’ special teams play. If this didn’t drive home the importance of special teams to Mark Richt, I don’t know what would. He has indicated in recent days that he would be amenable to devoting one of the Dogs’ coaching slots to a full-time special teams coordinator. Let’s hope that comes to pass. …

Tight end Aron White has sort of become the Dogs’ stealth star. While most of the media attention has been lavished on Orson Charles, White has been a clutch player. Monday night, he came up big, tying a Georgia bowl record with two touchdown catches and being named offensive MVP of the game. When A.J. Green is covered, White is a good alternative. …

But let’s not forget Michael Moore, who had two big catches for 34 yards and jumped on that fumble in the end zone on a TD that was credited to Caleb King but really should have been Moore’s, as replays showed King lost the ball before he broke the plane of the goal. …

Kudos also to the game’s defensive MVP, Geno Atkins, who had three tackles and a sack and, more importantly, a blocked field goal. Atkins was pretty quiet much of the first half of the season but came on strong in later games. …

Aggies QB Jerrod Johnson finished 29-for-58 for 362 passing yards and two touchdowns against the Dogs, but hardly looked like the player who attracted so much attention for his showing against Texas.

What was the difference? Part of it might have been that his performance against the Longhorns was juiced by it being a rivalry game. But it’s hard not to conclude that a bigger factor was that he wasn’t going up against a Big 12 defense. Georgia’s defensive front harried Johnson all night long and while he made some nice plays, he also looked rattled on more than one occasion and made some bad decisions. Johnson only had six picks all season before this game, but Georgia snagged two and could have had three more. …

Joe Cox was … Joe Cox. Not a great night on those sideline routes and he threw a pick (though this one didn’t produce any Aggies points), but he also made some key throws, including the two touchdowns to White. The fact that he came within one touchdown of tying Matthew Stafford’s season record and yet had a mediocre season overall is kind of mind-boggling. …

Coming back from injury and a lengthy layoff, A.J. Green still led the team with six catches for 57 yards, but he was quite visibly rusty. He seemed to lose track of the ball on a couple of plays, got tackled more easily than usual on a couple of screens, and was visibly bothered when he went up high for one of his patented acrobatic catches but didn’t come down with the ball (though you have to give credit to the Aggies defender for excellent coverage). Perhaps Green’s greatest contribution, however, was acting as a decoy, particularly on one of Aron White’s TD receptions. …

The Dogs’ running game really missed Josh Davis on the line  in the first half, with Vince Vance struggling mightily. It wasn’t until Justin Anderson was inserted into the lineup in the second half that Georgia was able to run the ball with authority. And that they did, with Washaun Ealey (not “Early,” Mr. Franklin) having 78 yards on 13 carries, Caleb King having 16 carries for 60 yards, and the Dogs’ fullbacks showing some power late in the game, as Shaun Chapas racked up 43 yards on five carries and Fred Munzenmaier added 20 yards on four carries. Heck, even Cox finished with positive rushing yardage for the night!

Which brings up the nonfactor that A&M defensive end Von Miller, the nation’s sack leader, was in this game. Clint Boling might have drawn flags by jumping early a couple of times, but he did a masterful job of handling Miller, who finished with just four tackles and no sacks. …

Quantity doesn’t equate to quality, as the Aggies offense proved Monday. They ran 92 plays for 471 yards, the most offensive plays ever against a Mark Richt Georgia team, and yet were held 14 points under their season scoring average, and that last touchdown was against the Dogs’ scrubs when the outcome already had been decided. Again, Big 12 football vs. SEC football.

312 comments Add your comment

Dawgaholic

December 29th, 2009
11:15 am

60-39-5 30-24

December 29th, 2009
11:18 am

tchdwnuga

December 29th, 2009
11:18 am

I’d have to say that was the least impresseve blowout i’ve ever seen. Aside from special teams, we looked very sloppy in the 1st half.

I actually cringed every time we threw to Aaron White, i was waiting for him to drop the ball.

Overall this should be a great launching pad for next season.

GO DAWGS!!!

60-39-5 30-24

December 29th, 2009
11:18 am

mike-dawg

December 29th, 2009
11:20 am

Bill – agreed on all comments. Special teams looked better, hmm… Fabris is gone. Direct correllation in my opinion. Additionally, Caleb King should not be starting. He continues to run up lineman’s backs instead of looking for daylight. Plus, he continues to have fumble-itis – we were so lucky Moore was there. Great half-time adjustments on the O-line.

CW

December 29th, 2009
11:22 am

Good win for the seniors and getting 90 wins in 9 years is impressive. That said, thank God this season is over. Lets get this taste out of our mouth and get ready for 2010

Top Dawg

December 29th, 2009
11:22 am

Not first!!!

60-39-5 30-24

December 29th, 2009
11:27 am

at least Sonny wasn’t first or 1.4 million

KJ

December 29th, 2009
11:28 am

To be fair, the pick wasn’t really Cox’s fault, Green horribly misplayed it (as he did a couple others, he probably shouldn’t have been in the game at all).

SEC

December 29th, 2009
11:32 am

Another case of the Dawgs playing half a cupcake in a bowl – A&M, Michigan State, Hawaii, Wisconin, Purdue, Virginia (multiple times)……………………… ESPN 2 – 5:00 P.M. – 2 second tier programs battling it out, SEC prevails.

Georgia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

December 29th, 2009
11:33 am

Orange Bowl or not, WHO’S YOUR DADDY???

((((((((((((((((((30-24)))))))))))))))))

Georgia will ALWAYS dominate GT!!!

2Dawgs

December 29th, 2009
11:34 am

Yes. Big 12 football vs. SEC football.

Dan

December 29th, 2009
11:35 am

Was it another case of the SEC dominating the Big 12 when Oklahoma St housed UGA earlier this year or is that just sort of forgotten about?

Cuz

December 29th, 2009
11:35 am

Kudos also for the two Grad assistants whose names escape me. I was expecting the Aggies to get beucuaps of points and they did not. Sure it was the SEC versus the Big 12 but I expected at least two more touchdowns from Johnson. CMR give those two kids a job.

The Watergirl

December 29th, 2009
11:37 am

I took over special teams for one game and you see what happens, hubby is announcing my promotion from watergirl to special teams coach tomm. and I pormise no pooch kicking ever again!!!!

DawgTime

December 29th, 2009
11:38 am

Aron White looks like he’s added at least 25 pounds since the beginning of the season. I didn’t recognize him at all during his first TD. He has really bulked up.

Archie

December 29th, 2009
11:39 am

This wasn’t a case of Big 12 vs SEC… it was a case of two bad teams playing for pride. Georgia was able to muster up more than A&M. Three special teams plays decided the game, the kickoff return, blocked punt (scored by the offense but give credit to the special teams), and the snap that sailed over the punter’s head (also scored by the offense but credit goes to the special teams). Both defenses made plays here and there, both offenses made plays here and there too. The special teams plays were the story of the game, completely changed the approach for both teams. Georgia capitalized on their gifts and started to just close the door with the running game, A&M had to pass more than they wanted to close the deficit.

re: Dan

December 29th, 2009
11:41 am

UGA didn’t get dominated by Ok. State like how the Dawgs owned the Aggies. It was still only a one score game halfway through the 4th quarter against the Cowboys.

Bob Dylan

December 29th, 2009
11:42 am

Dogs beat a Big 12 school that ended with a below .500 season. Hell yeah!!! Bring on Baylor and we’ll GATA.

FanDawg

December 29th, 2009
11:43 am

I’m not one to say “well A will get slaughtered since D defeated C who also beat B, etc.” but if last night’s game was any evidence as to how weak Texas’ defense is, Bama might have that game locked up by halftime.

UGA 2010

December 29th, 2009
11:44 am

Great game… Was really happy to see the defense do a lil bettter.

Big L

December 29th, 2009
11:44 am

Dawgs rule. To bad Kaintuck had to blemish the SEC bowl record. Clemson, really?

Frank Lane

December 29th, 2009
11:46 am

This was a much better Georgia team that the record. Remember the penalty problems in the first half of the season. And the minus 17 on takeaways. Give us regular penalties and even takeaways (vs -4) against Florida and we are even in that game. We had the second worst Fife factor in major college football and still finished 8-5 in the toughest conference in the country. (REMEMBER: The FIFE factor is the average number of plays that a team can go without shooting itself in the foot, which includes turnovers, an offensive penalty that kills a drive, or a defensive penalty that sustains an opponent’s drive. Named for Barney Fife from Mayberry RFD.) I think the the Fife factor is the most under-reported metric in Football.

Pooper

December 29th, 2009
11:46 am

Bob Dylan,

Joke all you want, but UGA playing as well as they did was very surprising. The bottom tier bowls usually come down to who wants to be there more, and everybody and their mothers knew A&M was stoked to be there, while UGA was not. So for UGA to play as hard as they did proved that Richt really got the team coached up well for the game. Positive signs to take into spring.

# 8

December 29th, 2009
11:46 am

Be sure to catch the Orange Bowl game. It’s going to be a real exciting match-up, almost as riveting as the ACC Championship game. Now who’s playing in the Orange Bowl and who played for the ACC?
GT and Iowa are probably the most boring football programs in all of FBS. Way to go Orange Bowl! Can’t wait to see those ratings!

Dan

December 29th, 2009
11:47 am

Whatever you say dude. But just don’t let facts get in your way…

NewnanDawg

December 29th, 2009
11:48 am

Glad the Dawgs got the win and sent the seniors out on a good note.

That said, business needs to improve next year because that broadcast was an exclamation point on why I hate having to watch any of the games on t.v. Someone needs to give these announcers, producers, and camera people a swift kick and tell them if they aren’t prepared then find a new line of work. We went to every game last year, so I didn’t realize how bad it was until this year when we watched most of the away games from home. “Early” most be from the same place as Holtz’s “Stokely” from 2005. The announcers only knew of about 3 players from each team and just rambled on about nothing during the 4th qtr. Pathetic! And it will just get worse when the Fox NFL guys try to cover the BCS games…… Can they not require a little pre game prep from these guys considering what they are paid for this?

Ok, venting complete – Congrats Dawgs! The offseason will be a lot more encouraging now…….

Alphare

December 29th, 2009
11:51 am

TEX-TAM: 42-39
UGA-TAM: 42-20

Man, dawg should BAMA in NC. Sorry, UGA is just better than TEX.

Reality

December 29th, 2009
11:53 am

Nail on the head here Bill. Very nice.

However, I think your last sentence could have read Any conference vs. SEC football

Bob Dylan

December 29th, 2009
11:55 am

During the game ESPN had a graphic showing the possible draft status of the players expected to leave the program. Georgia’s graphic listed 6 or 7 players while the A&M graphic stated: NO PLAYER DRAFTABLE. The Dogs just got it done and whooped those super hungry Aggpiles. Bring on BAYLOR!!!!!!!!!

Low Country Dawg

December 29th, 2009
11:55 am

I’m glad we beat A&M but okie state beat our ass like a red headed step child…literally! If we we were 2-0 against the BIG 12 I’d agree with ya sir.

Paul's Johnson

December 29th, 2009
11:56 am

So Mutt U. housing an inferior 6-6 club is now an example of SEC conference dominance? Kidding, right?

athensdawg

December 29th, 2009
11:57 am

last night we saw glimpses of what i would call a classic georgia win…. punishing tackling, constant pressure on the qb, special teams and defense making the plays until the offense can break through and a running game that took control in the second half.

I have to be honest, i was worried when i saw Joe Kines on the sidelines for A&M…..but in the end, he didn’t have the depth….the dumb a** ESPN commentators couldn’t understand why he didn’t leave Von Miller in on every play…they obviously don’t know Joe’s philosophy of rotating players to keep them fresh….

Mark Ray did a great job of preparing his team to play. Now he needs to make sure he doesn’t hire another Kevin Ramsey. He’s got two years of a ‘cream puff’ SEC schedule (no LSU or Alabama) to right the ship…..

Michael Scharff

December 29th, 2009
11:58 am

I was disappointed in Ron Franklin. He used to be the ESPN anchor for night SEC games, and I really enjoyed him. His age was really showing last night.

Get a clue

December 29th, 2009
11:59 am

Excited about beating a .500 team? Really? Something to build on? Really? Excited about a defense that gave up almost 500 yards? It’s ignorant optimism like this that will keep UGA in the bottom tier of the SEC for a while.

AltamahaDawg

December 29th, 2009
12:00 pm

All the special teams that made the big plays last night were by the squads that are coached by guys already on the staff, and have done a great job with those assignment since they have been here. What exactly is it he need to learn from this game? Keep on doing it that way? Agreed.

What he needs to learn from the past 2 games (and 2 years really) is that our O-line coach’s squad is extremely inconsistant. And seems to play its worst against teams that they should be blowing away on the line.

With all the trendy critism of “special teams” which as a whole has been ok, lacking in some respects, superb in others, I have yet to understrand why the talk hasnt been more about what has actually caused UGA from being successful. You could hire the cheerleader coach for the special teams if our O-line was half of where it should be.

BTW, Walsh didnt kick every KO (none) out of the back of the endzone. I guess defying the laws of physics and the history of the organized game of football isnt really such a given. Who are we going to blame for that without Fabris?

Mark Thomas

December 29th, 2009
12:02 pm

Georgia underachieves during the regular season, earns a trip to a lessor bowl and then matches to an inferior opponent ( Texas A &M has a losing record) and wins the game giving way to overconfidence entering the following season where the cycle is repeated…..

AltamahaDawg

December 29th, 2009
12:03 pm

So much for BamaStan’s inside information that A&M was preparing as if this were the SuperBowl, and would take it to the Dawgs.

RonnieGarDner

December 29th, 2009
12:04 pm

UGA is playing better than any team in the country the last 2 games. They should open next season ranked in the top 5. GarDner should be the new DC after drawing up that great scheme he had yesterday.

Otis Campbell

December 29th, 2009
12:06 pm

I’m almost certain that the UGA broadcast team didn’t make the trip to Shrreveport due to budget cuts. I think Scott Howard and Eric Zeier called the game from their homes just by watching the TV broadcast.They were always late with the call and plus it sounded like they were on the telephone. I think this is the wave of the future for UGA broadcasts.

cherokee

December 29th, 2009
12:07 pm

Paul’s Johnson …December 29th, 2009
11:56 am So Mutt U. housing an inferior 6-6 club is now an example of SEC conference dominance? Kidding, right?

How about just kicking Tech’s butt…is that enough dominance for you

dawgfan

December 29th, 2009
12:08 pm

Alabama is going to stone Texas to death. Then ESPN will pretend it never happened and hype another Little 12 team for the 2010 national title. Its the same ole song and dance…

bsg

December 29th, 2009
12:08 pm

bob dylan,
did u not notice tht texas a&m is ranked 3rd in total offense? 3rd!!! averagind 33 points per game, what do the dawgs do?? gold em to 20!

Sic EM!!

bsg

December 29th, 2009
12:09 pm

David Granger

December 29th, 2009
12:12 pm

Dawgs played with a stand-in defensive coordinator (assisted by a couple of interns), and had their best defensive game of the season. Tells us all we need to know about Willie Martinez, doesn’t it?

chazzo

December 29th, 2009
12:15 pm

The last TD was after the outcome had been decided, but it wasn’t against scrubs. It looked like a blown coverage by a linebacker (I think Dowtin). Correct me if I am wrong. I have been before.

godawg

December 29th, 2009
12:15 pm

Ty

December 29th, 2009
12:16 pm

Rennie Curran being benched in the first quarter was the most significant thing that happened in this game. It bodes very, very well for the future of Richt-coached Bulldogs.

Red-n-Black

December 29th, 2009
12:16 pm

Pauls Johnson lover

What was the score of your last regular season game. Go back to the Tech boards – oh yeah there isn’t one.

1eyedJack

December 29th, 2009
12:16 pm

Has GT formed a punting unit yet?