Picking the highlights of a frustrating season for Dogs

A.J. Green's touchdown catch against Colorado was one for the ages. (Cliff Grassmick / Dailycamera.com)

A.J. Green's touchdown catch against Colorado was one for the ages. (Cliff Grassmick / Dailycamera.com)

Can you think of 10 really great plays by UGA’s football Bulldogs this year?

In a 6-6 regular season, the honest answer is probably not. But that hasn’t stopped the official UGA Web site, Georgiadogs.com, from letting fans vote in a countdown to select their 10 favorite plays of this season, which will be shown on the Dec. 26 edition of “Inside Georgia Football With Mark Richt” and posted online Dec. 28. You can see the 25 nominated plays (yes, they actually came up with that many!) and vote by going here.

The first play listed is pretty much a lock to finish No. 1 and that, of course, is A.J. Green’s amazingly acrobatic one-handed circus catch for a touchdown in the otherwise eminently forgettable game against Colorado. That one will be on UGA highlight reels for decades to come.

The other nominated plays are:

Justin Houston recovering a fumble forced by Akeem Dent and then returning it for a touchdown against Georgia Tech. Most of the time, players are better off just covering a fumble with their body instead of trying to scoop it up and advance it, but this was a definite exception and provided one of the biggest plays in Mark Richt’s ninth win over the Jackets.

Aaron Murray’s near-textbook 63-yard touchdown pass down the middle to Tavarres King against Florida. A great play call by Mike Bobo, too.

Kris Durham’s 66-yard catch and run to score against Tech. The senior wide receiver definitely is going to be missed next year.

Murray running for a touchdown just before halftime against Louisiana-Lafayette. Georgia’s redshirt-freshman quarterback let us know early on that he was going to develop into a dual scoring threat.

Murray’s 35-yard scramble for a touchdown against Tennessee. A heads-up play by the young QB.

Brandon Boykin’s 100-yard kickoff return for a score against Kentucky. And that was the third such run of his career!

A.J. Green making a touchdown catch against Florida as three Gators converge on him at the same time. A big-time play by Georgia’s most gifted receiver. Man, that four-game suspension really hurt this year.

Murray’s touchdown throw to Green against Auburn with the Dogs facing fourth-and-1. Another good call by Bobo.

The interception against Tennessee where Vance Cuff deflected the ball and Bacarri Rambo, racing across the field, snagged it and then hurdled the hedge after running out of bounds. Take-aways was the one area where the defense improved this year.

Sanders Commings’ fine interception against Louisiana-Lafayette where he managed to reverse course and get a decent return, too. (I’d nominate a different interception by Commings, though. See below.)

Justin Houston beating a block and sacking South Carolina’s Stephen Garcia. One of the reason’s he’s a finalist for this year’s Butkus Award.

Backup QB Hutson Mason throwing a 26-yard scoring strike to former QB Logan Gray on the first pass of his career, making him only the eighth quarterback to ever do that in FBS history.

Murray spinning away from a sack on third-and-goal at the 7 and just hitting the pylon to score against Tennessee.

Washaun Ealey cutting back with some nifty moves in a 55-yard touchdown run against Vanderbilt. You’ll notice this is the only play on the list featuring one of Georgia’s tailbacks, which says something unfortunate about the Dogs’ running attack this year.

Bacarri Rambo’s interception and return for a touchdown against Idaho State. Rambo showed some nice moves on that return.

Tavarres King breaking two tackles and diving for the goal line on a touchdown pass from Murray against Arkansas. The Dogs are going to need King to step up big-time next season if Green leaves as expected.

Murray faking to Ealey on fourth-and-goal from the 1 and then bootlegging left to run for a touchdown against Arkansas.

Darryl Gamble intercepting a throwback on a gimmick play against Mississippi State.

Walk-on special teams player Blake Sailors recovering a fumbled punt against Tennessee.

Drew Butler’s 58-yard coffin-corner punt to the 2-yard line against Kentucky.

Murray throwing to tight end Orson Charles for a score and then running it up the middle himself on the 2-point conversion to tie the game against Florida.

Ace receiver Green stiff-arming one defender and outrunning the rest for a score against Idaho State. Terrific open-field running.

Murray buying time with his feet until finding Bruce Figgins open in the back of the end zone for a score against Tech.

Houston intercepting a pass and wisely downing the ball to end Georgia Tech’s chances of a comeback.

Most of those selections are worthy nominees, but there are a few on that list that I’d subsitute with some plays that got ignored. Such as the third-and-10 catch by A.J. against Florida when he held on despite taking an immediate big hit. (That one made ESPN’s Top 10 plays of the day.)

And what about Sanders Commings’ interception in the end zone against Kentucky, with a catch worthy of A.J. Green? (Using Commings as a receiver some next year wouldn’t be a bad idea.)

Another memorable catch was Kris Durham going up high and still coming down with the ball despite triple coverage against Vandy. And Green made some great moves on another touchdown catch against the Commodores.

So what were your favorite plays of this season? And are there any others that weren’t mentioned that deserve recognition?

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146 comments Add your comment

david

December 4th, 2010
11:16 am

Snack Shack

December 4th, 2010
11:22 am

Any play where a Bulldawg player excels is my favorite.

UGAirball

December 4th, 2010
11:26 am

Perhaps Ealey’s five touchdown game against Kentucky should have made the cut? Especially considering he held on to the ball long enough to score that many times…

college is forever

December 4th, 2010
11:26 am

http://www.collegelunchboxes.com No doubt it was a tough year, but I really beleive that we are closer to the top then to the bottom. I know the stats do not bear that out, besides as this is my alma mater I could never imagine myself cheering for any other school. Check out the UGA Classic Tin Lunchbox it makes a great Christmas Gift. If you go to the website and send us an email you will receive 30% off between now and Christmas. Go Dawgs!!!

The Blair Miss Project

December 4th, 2010
11:43 am

(((((42-34)))))

My Favorite Highlight!!!

11Dawg

December 4th, 2010
11:49 am

Man, there were so many amazing plays in that Florida game. If we’d won, that would have been a game for the ages.

Lou

December 4th, 2010
11:53 am

All great plays…individual efforts…and I guess there is a time and place to recognize those things..like in a post-season online poll…

But many fans get very tired of watching the highlight reel played on the big screen in the pre-game at Sanford Stadium where great plays are shown from games we lost. AJ Green’s catch against Colorado is one of the greatest ever…but we lost the game. It does not need to be on the big screen at Sanford Stadium ever again. Assuming he leaves for the NFL having never won the East (a la Stafford and Moreno), what exactly are we celebrating by seeing them in a pre-game video?

This exercise of selecting the best plays from a disappointing season is a good way to look for bright moments …but let’s not put these highlights on our own home stadium big screen as if we are celebrating an individual’s great play despite the team’s loss…

just a fan

December 4th, 2010
11:53 am

I will tell you one thing I think this coaching staff has done poorly over the years is not switch players from offense to defense and visa versa. Hopefully the move with Richard Samuels will work because it just hasn’t in the past.

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ozzfest

December 4th, 2010
11:59 am

WORST PLAY OF THE YEAR….McGARITY CANCELLING THE OREGON SERIES.
ACCORDINGLY, I AM CANCELLING MY SEASON TICKETS AFTER 20+ YEARS…NOT BECAUSE OF THE WINS OR LOSSES…BUT BECAUSE OUR FUTURE SCHEDULES. WHY PAY FOR 3 EXHIBITION GAMES ON A 7 GAME SCHEDULE? IN 2012 THE DOGS PLAY BUFFALO, FLORIDA ATLANTIC AND CHARLESTON SOUTHERN.

SAD.

agreed

December 4th, 2010
12:03 pm

season tickets for 4 home “games” is too expensive

i’ll take my chances with friends and stub hub and hit a couple of meaningful games.

dougmo2

December 4th, 2010
12:04 pm

Every player getting a learners permit and NOT getting arrested from Oct-Dec. Bulldogs may run this state, they sure as hell don’t know how to drive in this state.

Beast from the East

December 4th, 2010
12:10 pm

11Dawg,
From a Gator, I have to agree with you about that game. It was filled with some really great plays and it was a shame either team had to lose. UF came out on fire and UGA ROARED back in the second half. What a crazy season for both our teams.
Good luck in your bowl game!

Perry

December 4th, 2010
12:30 pm

Murray played awesome against Idaho State and Lousisiana Lafayette.

Ceasar

December 4th, 2010
12:31 pm

Overcoming the “curse of the red panties”!!!!!!

lastgrad

December 4th, 2010
12:32 pm

Walk-on special teams player Blake Sailors recovering a fumbled punt against Tennessee.

Jess

December 4th, 2010
12:37 pm

Washaun Ealey’s 5 td’s and 150 yards for Georgia’s best win of the season against a Kentucky teams that had just knocked off South Caorlina, who had just beaten Alabama.

Rocco

December 4th, 2010
12:38 pm

Defense forcing all those turnovers against Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech to bail out the offense.

CGA

December 4th, 2010
12:39 pm

I like the touchdown that Ealey scored near the end of the Tech-UGA game. That “brillant” play gave the ball back to TECH and gave them a chance to come back and possibly tie the game. I loved the way Richt and the Dawgs got outsmarted on that one, regardless of the outcome of the game!

TallaDawg

December 4th, 2010
12:40 pm

I agree with Lou @ 11:53.

Rocco

December 4th, 2010
12:41 pm

Defense had 8 great games:
threw a shutout against Vandy, held Id St & La Laf to 7 points, and held SC & Miss St to under 20 points a piece, forced 11 turnovers against Ga Tech/Tenn/Kent.

TallaDawg

December 4th, 2010
12:42 pm

Agree with Ozzfest @ 11:59, also. That schedule in 2012 in nothing but embarrassing.

Jules

December 4th, 2010
12:43 pm

Durham had about 8 plays that were just awesome. Caught a little 1-2 yard pass from Murray, and with some serious yak, made Murray look good.

Rocco

December 4th, 2010
12:45 pm

Defense in Ga Tech game was awesome. Yielded 0 points off 3 turnovers. Shut down Tech 2x on 4th down (just like a turnover). Forced 3 fumbles and an interception. 2 big stops at the end of the game to ice it.

Rocco

December 4th, 2010
12:46 pm

Justin Houston was a highlight reel, all those sacks, all those tackles for loss, fumble recover for 6, int.

Stewart

December 4th, 2010
12:47 pm

Caleb King looked great in the Colorado game, except for spin move fumble at the end. But he busted a nice 30+ run.

Mark

December 4th, 2010
12:57 pm

I’d like to nominate my awesome backflip off the high dive. I just wish I had on my speedo so everyone could see my killer tan.

Perry

December 4th, 2010
12:57 pm

Just a few plays better by the Freshman QB, and Georgia is 10-3 instead of 7-6 this season.

Murray’s int in OT against Fla.
Murray errant hand off to King in Colorado game.
Murray sacked at end of Ark game.

SSI Dog

December 4th, 2010
1:11 pm

Hey “just a fan”, ever hear of Dickey Clark?

A day to commemorate

December 4th, 2010
1:18 pm

Attention, everyone, especially dawgtards. Today is the second anniversary of Saint Jan Kemp’s death. To commemorate her life, we will now observe a moment of silence in memory of Saint Jan, who exposed the shameful practices at UGA that were initiated and carried out by slimeball Vince Dooley. Dooley’s image as a coach and a nice guy were forever shattered during the trial, not to mention the one million dollars that dawgtards had to pay Saint Jan. These practices of recruiting morons and coddling them for four years, them tossing them out like garbage, are still going on, but at least the world knows what’s happening in Athens now.

And now, the moment of silence…
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Thank you, you may resume your normal activities now.

JT

December 4th, 2010
1:20 pm

How about Kris Durham’s coughing-up-blood-inducing catch against Florida? Really wish we had that guy for another couple years to compensate for all the time he lost to injuries. I’m sure he does, too. He may end up being as good as pro as A.J. and maybe even better when you consider his resilience and toughness. A.J. looked like he was in self-preservation mode at times against Tech. And how about a top 25 lowlights list? Having to choose only 25 might prove to be too restrictive.

1+2

December 4th, 2010
1:44 pm

JT, what are you sipping on? There is no way in he!! Durham will be a better pro than AJ. Heck, he may not even get drafted. Durham is a very good player and I like him a lot. But to say that he may end up being a better player than AJ is not a smart call.

JNitro

December 4th, 2010
1:47 pm

Nice post, Beast from the East. And Go Dawgs!!!

Pago Pago Dawg

December 4th, 2010
1:48 pm

Wait’ll next year…

Pulpwood Smith

December 4th, 2010
2:02 pm

There was an interesting story/rumor out of Athens that claimed that Washaun Ealey had read an entire comic book with almost 50% comprehension.

The UGA tutors are doing wonders with these goons nowadays.

Salvation is coming

December 4th, 2010
2:09 pm

Remeber this name well, for he will be the salvation of UGA football in two years: Marco Harris Trowbridger.

dawgfan

December 4th, 2010
2:11 pm

I wouldn’t say beating Tech is any more of a highlight than a hammer knocking the crap out of a nail would be, but I always enjoy the hilarity that ensues when Techies try to spin and rationalize the loss. That has to make any year’s highlight list. I don’t care if we’re 14-0 or 1-11. Its just hilarious.

Last year they had bigger fish to fry. This year they were handicapped because, and I am not making this up, we had better players than they did. That was their excuse. You see, nobody ever really beats the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to hear a Tech fan tell it, ESPECIALLY UGA. We just luck in to a win against them due to some completely fortuitous circumstances, like having better players and scoring more points than them. This is the mind of a Tech fan. I wish I were only kidding.

Thanks.

75-76-DAWG

December 4th, 2010
2:17 pm

The most glaring play’s this season to me are the ones that did not work. All those run play’s that were stuffed up the middle for no gain or a loss because our offensive line was so weak and all those run play’s that made no gain because Bobo insisted on establishing a not existent run game.

Pope UGA XXIII

December 4th, 2010
2:18 pm

Other than 42 – 34, not much in the way of highlights in 2010.
The letter “W” is much more important than highlights. A J
green’s catch @ Colorado along with 50 cents will get you a
pack of crackers.

Yo! "A day to commemorate"

December 4th, 2010
2:18 pm

crickets……..

Overlord

December 4th, 2010
2:19 pm

Wounds my heart with monotonous languor.

74 Dawg

December 4th, 2010
2:43 pm

The sad thing about all this, Bill, is that if they had played consistently at the level of the plays mentioned, this could have been a special year. This team reminds me of a couple of Donnan’s teams: NFL caliber talent at several positions, flashes of brilliance, but just could not close the deal in big games i.e. Florida, Auburn, Tennessee and Tech. It got him fired. I am not sure it is the coaching. Sometimes I think it is the individuals on the team and the kind of leadership and chemistry on that particular team. We need to take a hard look at recruiting some guys who can be coaches on the field types, and kick a** in the locker room. Having sense enough to play their position and notice if the guy beside them is out of position, or a receiver is uncovered at the line before the snap would be a start.

Phil

December 4th, 2010
2:44 pm

Don’t forget the play where Grantham is giving the choke sign to the Florida kicker. Another highlight of this terrible season.

Phil

December 4th, 2010
2:49 pm

Worst play of the year:

3rd and 4 against Arkansas, trying to keep the drive going to get in FG range to try for the winning kick. Bobo calls a pass play and sends every receiver 50 yards deep.

Phil

December 4th, 2010
2:54 pm

2nd Worst play of the year:

Overtime against Florida. All we needed was a FG to make Florida kick a FG to keep the game going, assuming we keep them out of the end zone. They are using their back up kicker, advantage us.

So instead of running the ball to set up the FG, we throw a dangerous pass over the middle. Interception and the game was over.

Spike

December 4th, 2010
3:08 pm

The missed extra point by Tech.

DIT

December 4th, 2010
3:11 pm

Sorry guys, I love my Dawgs, but my favorite highlight will be at the end of the 4th quarter of our bowl game. That will officially signal that this nightmare year has ended!

Chris

December 4th, 2010
3:45 pm

Bill, what is with your comments about some of the great plays when you say, “a great call by Bobo”?????

Could you please remove your head from Bobo’s azz and smell the roses? Bobo sucks, has no business being the O.C. anywhere, much less Georgia, and he should be fired immediately. However, he wont be fired because Richt is a fool, and they will both get his theirs come next year. I love my DAWGS, but Richt and Bobo are not the answer to get us back on track.

You’ve lost it Bill!

1eyedJack

December 4th, 2010
5:01 pm

The most games with 30+ points ever.

Ben

December 4th, 2010
5:43 pm

Yeah this whole blog post is kind of an oxymoron.

When a back up QB pass in garbage time is in the top 10 you know it’s been a bad freaking year.