Dogs fans gotta love both sides of that 55-7 score!

Aaron Murray scored, but this was a run he shouldn't have made. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Aaron Murray scored, but this was a run he shouldn't have made. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Coming into their first game of the season, Mark Richt’s 2010 Dogs appeared to have more question marks on defense than offense. But as impressive as the 55 points scored by Georgia against Louisiana-Lafayette was Saturday, the other side of that score is what left fans smiling at the end of the day.

With the exception of one play when they fell asleep and let La-La tight end Ladarious Green get behind them for a touchdown catch, Todd Grantham’s rebuilt Dogs defense pretty much played lights-out ball. The visitors got a measly 14 yards rushing on 29 carries and 114 yards in the air, 60 of them on that one scoring play. Georgia got three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), three sacks and continually hurried the Cajuns’ quarterbacks.

Yes, it was only Louisiana-Lafayette, and the Dogs’ D will face a much bigger challenge next week in Columbia. But even during garbage time, when the scrubs were in, Grantham’s defenders played hard and kept up the pressure. Usually Georgia teams give up some junk points late in these one-sided affairs. Not on this day.

As for the offense, well, 55 points says a lot. But they looked tentative early on and the offensive line drew four false start penalties, including two in a row on consecutive plays. The pass protection was generally very good but the run blocking sometimes left a bit to be desired. Caleb King and Carlton Thomas both had some fine, tough runs, but overall the rushing game definitely missed the suspended Washaun Ealey and still looked very much like a work in progress. That’s what much of your line missing preseason practices will do.

In his college debut, redshirt-freshman QB Aaron Murray threw three touchdown passes and (perhaps unwisely) ran for another. Murray completed 16 of 24 passes for 194 yards, a pretty decent showing. But he did at times look like an inexperienced freshman, throwing a pass to a fullback with a man on him that resulted in the loss of a dozen yards, misfiring badly when he had a wide open Orson Charles and launching a dying duck into the end zone that fortunately was dropped by a La-La defender who should have had an interception.

Murray’s run for a score ended well but Richt wasn’t pleased he took off running on that play because he barely got the ball over the goal and if he’d been nudged out of bounds with no time left on the clock, the Dogs would have gotten no points out of that drive. He’ll learn, though, and Georgia fans have to be pleased to finally have a quarterback who’s a legitimate threat when running. And Murray had moments when he looked like a veteran, including a perfectly placed pass to Kris Durham for 42 yards.

Speaking of Durham, he caught two touchdown passes and came back from a year off looking like a major weapon for the Dogs, even if he did lose the handle on a ball that resulted in the interception that set up La-La’s score. The receiving corps in general looked pretty good, though there were a couple of bobbled or dropped balls.

And how cool was it that true freshman backup quarterback Hutson Mason shed his redshirt to enter the game and then tossed a touchdown pass on his very first play … to backup quarterback-turned-receiver Logan Gray!

It was that kind of day in Athens.

I’ll have more to say Sunday, but for now I’ll turn it over to you folks …

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99 comments Add your comment

CSA

September 4th, 2010
5:23 pm

Great win for the Dawgs!

DIT

September 4th, 2010
5:35 pm

Did Sturdivane play at all today? I was unable to see the game.

DIT

September 4th, 2010
5:35 pm

sorry thats Sturdivant

dbc

September 4th, 2010
5:36 pm

Can’t wait for Carolina. Murray is the real deal and should/could have had more yardage and another TD. I think Ealey was the player UGA missed most. The running game and run blocking was underwhelming, but hopefully that will change. The D looks like they’ve finally gotten some coaching. I loved how Grantham was about ready to rip someone’s head off on the blown TD play. I’ll bet Richt heard a few words he’s not used to hearing! I’m willing to bet that LA La’s offensive line will prove to be better than Carolina’s. Garcia doesn’t do well under pressure — hopefully the Dawgs will have him running for his life. We’ll soon find out.

Big Dawg

September 4th, 2010
5:37 pm

no he did not play,but will next week.

dbc

September 4th, 2010
5:37 pm

Sturdivant was out with a stomach disorder…

DIT

September 4th, 2010
5:37 pm

Thanks Big Dawg.

Anyone, what are we hearing about AJ Green for next week?

JP

September 4th, 2010
5:38 pm

Lookin good so far–gotta keep up the intensity for SC!

11Dawg

September 4th, 2010
5:38 pm

Great win! Now we just have to do it 13 more times and we’re good.

dbc

September 4th, 2010
5:38 pm

Also loved Mason’s TD. Fun stuff…Stripling also looked good for a freshman.

11Dawg

September 4th, 2010
5:39 pm

Oh, and how about Florida? So much for the Brantley hype.

RabidDawgFan

September 4th, 2010
5:39 pm

And to think, we scored 55 points WITHOUT Ealey, Tavarres King, and AJ Green. We get Ealey and Tavarres King back next week including Alec Ogletree. Hopefully the NCAA probe works itself out and we get our star back and we can go to work on South Carolina next week with everyone healthy and raring to go. Dumb Penalties (false starts) still need to be fixed, but it was game one jitters and Murray will only gain more confidence and get better as the season goes along. Looks to be a fun season ahead. GO DAWGS!

45ACP

September 4th, 2010
5:39 pm

First game and a good win even though it was against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Good experience and playing time for a lot of this years Dawgs.
Glad to see the defense playing lights-out for a change.
We will need it next week in Columbia.

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Georgia Dawg 79

September 4th, 2010
5:46 pm

I must say….I’m impressed. The real challenge starts next week

tdawg

September 4th, 2010
5:46 pm

Ga wins, Florida looks sloppy. looks like those Florida fans need to shut up

patrick

September 4th, 2010
5:54 pm

I dont see any Fla fans on here today…I wonder why? LOL 26 total yards in first 3 quarters………….now THATS pathetic

patrick

September 4th, 2010
5:55 pm

…………..AGAINST MIAMI OF OHIO no less…a 1-11 team from a MAC division LOL

TellicoDawg

September 4th, 2010
5:55 pm

Ah! Hits. No arm tackling. Receivers covered. Attacking the ball. Disrupting the offense. It was like waking up from a bad three year dream.

Guy

September 4th, 2010
5:56 pm

Can someone clarify the appropriate use of ‘dogs’ / ‘dawgs’? Inquiring minds want to know.

Heck yea

September 4th, 2010
6:01 pm

UGA for National Champs!

beatdowns galore

September 4th, 2010
6:02 pm

UGA couldnt hang 70 on the highschool team. Plus UGA got burnt on one play too. SEC play will be much much different little puppies…..Starting next week in Columbia the dawgs will go down for their first of many defeats this year. Bank on it……

Beat USC

September 4th, 2010
6:03 pm

I know it was just LA LA but I saw enough to be convinced that all of our major question marks are much improved over last year . . . . quarterback play, defense, penalties, turnover margin, and of course the lack of directional kicking on the kickoffs . . . . this could be a special year.

Minnesota Dawg

September 4th, 2010
6:07 pm

Every week is different with it’s challenges. If that defense can continue to get better and Murray matures, maybe . . . Go dawgs!!!

CSA

September 4th, 2010
6:13 pm

This defense has a whole new attitude and looked very aggressive. The QB’s were being hurried often and they were playing lights-out. I imagine that Todd Grantham is a little perturbed that he didn’t get his shutout. Also, Aaron Murray has, to a small degree, put out any notion that we need worry about his abilities. Aside from a few freshman mistakes, which were bound to happen (and better that they happen against ULL), he looked very accurate and calm. Probably a fun win for him and a way to get some more confidence before we march into Columbia.

45ACP

September 4th, 2010
6:13 pm

Guy – Speaking for me, it is a personal preference that displays affection for the program with a Southern cultural variance on the word dog.

patrick

September 4th, 2010
6:14 pm

Dude….UGA took out its starters (as always) when its a blow out. UGA didnt even open up its offense and didnt have AJ or Tman or Ealey. UGA could have easily hung 100 on them guys. But Richt has too much class for that.

macrotech

September 4th, 2010
6:15 pm

UGA looked good! Next weeks game in Columbia is going to be a GREAT match up….as usual! Dawg fans can breathe a sigh of relief…defense looked good and Murray looks like he’s got game!

patrick

September 4th, 2010
6:16 pm

UGA didnt get a shut out because Murray hit the receiver in a bad place, between the numbers, and the D was already headed to the locker room mentally. They just had ONE lapse of concentration not expecting to play again that half. no biggy

CSA

September 4th, 2010
6:17 pm

Beatdowns Galore, you sound mad that Florida stumbled for quite some time against Miami. Oh wait, that was of Ohio? They went 1-11? Oh shucks. They looked sloppy up and down that field and it’s a bit of an embarrassment that they even hung so close.

Or perhaps you’re a Tech fan and just angry that you beat the WRONG Bulldogs today.

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South Ga Dawg

September 4th, 2010
6:26 pm

Its obvous that we have a playmaker in Murray. He brings a lot of excitement to the offense. He will only get better with experience. The DAWGS have a bright future on both sides of the ball. Its great to be a Georgia Bulldog!!!!

Gratefuldawghead

September 4th, 2010
6:28 pm

How Bout Them Dawgs! Big game coming up!

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bulldogmaniac

September 4th, 2010
6:41 pm

HEY BEATDOWN…..Let me guess, you are a nerd GT fan! I wouldnt be on a Gerorgia post talking smak! GT played a pethetic team and didnt score as much as UGA, gave up more than UGA all while having ALL of your starters!

Jay

September 4th, 2010
6:41 pm

Murray had a solid game. Defense looked good. Kicker booming field goals, punter changing field position, offense, explodes for 48 points.

It’s a good start.

bulldogmaniac

September 4th, 2010
6:45 pm

HA HAHA ….Nesbitt had 8 yds passing

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UGA is Just Fine...

September 4th, 2010
7:07 pm

Hate on Haters!!! Say what you will but the Dawgs definitely passed the eye test today. Loved how Grantham was fired up on the sidelines and got all over the guys for giving up that td. Murray looked poised and confident. The scary thing is the offense did it’s damage without the top 2 WRs or our #1 RB. SC looked good as well, next week will be a good game and most likely for the SEC East. UF did not look like a top 5 team.
Go Dawgs!!

TXDawg

September 4th, 2010
7:09 pm

Bulldogmaniac…..8 yards AND 1 completion in 7 attempts….how pathetic!!

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St. Richt

September 4th, 2010
7:34 pm

Impressive game Dawg fans. Things looked a little brighter today in Athens than they did in Atlanta, thats for sure. My Jackets have some work to do.

CHDawg

September 4th, 2010
7:36 pm

Great comments! Ealey and Green could add a lot of punch! It is very hard to get a sense of how strong either SM or ULL is relative to the other. SM crushed ULL in ‘08, but one common opponent last year produced about the same result for both schools. I thought SM looked the better of the two, but one thing is sure: SM got 20+ first downs and over 400 yds in total offense, despite the score. Hard to say how either UGA or SC handles a harder opponent. I’m optimistic. The SC game could be the most important game of the year! Special teams could make the difference.

CHDawg

September 4th, 2010
7:40 pm

3 ints for the D! Nice pressure. CTG gets his first real challenge from the Ball Coach next week, but hats off to the whole Defensive staff this week. With the exception of the one blown play, all defenders looked great–what a turnaround! Now we will see if we can do it in the SEC.

Good call, beatdowns galore

September 4th, 2010
7:40 pm

First of a few this season that the Dogs will dish out. Expect a few nail-biters also, but 10-11 wins look doable as long as Murray stays healthy.

What I liked about the defense was the tackling was sharper and more fundamentally executed, plus few blown assignments outside of one huge one.