Dogs have something to prove in Oxford

Isaiah Crowell needs to have a big day against Ole Miss. (Associated Press)

Isaiah Crowell needs to have a big day against Ole Miss. (Associated Press)

Some people expect Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs to come out of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford with an easy win over embattled Houston Nutt’s Rebel Black Bears. Vegas has UGA favored by 10.

I think the Dogs ought to win this game, but I’m not so sure it won’t be a nailbiter.

Sure, Ole Miss got kicked around by Vandy last week and statistically its rent-a-quarterback offense is one of the worst in the country. They’ve also been prone to turning the ball over (Zack Stoudt, one of their two JUCO quarterbacks, threw five picks against the Commodores), which is likely to encourage Georgia’s sack-deprived pass rushers to step up the quarterback pressure even more.

But while both teams are looking to even their records and both coaches are feeling the heat from frustrated supporters, Nutt’s seat is considerably hotter than Richt’s, the Ole Miss AD has declared last week’s effort in Nashville unacceptable and the Mississippi fan base is in an uproar, with folks taking out full-page ads calling for change.

It is, of course, possible that all this increased pressure will result in Ole Miss simply collapsing and Georgia will win in a cakewalk, but it’s much more likely that the Rebs will come out determined to save their coach’s job and will play their best football of the season against Georgia.

Even if that proves the case, the Dogs still ought to win on talent alone. But if they get sloppy and start giving away points like they did in the South Carolina game, all bets are off.

The play of Georgia’s defensive front will be key, as Ole Miss is more likely to try and establish the run behind a very big offensive line than it is to come out challenging the Dogs secondary in the air. However, banged-up Brandon Bolden and Jeff Scott aren’t Marcus Lattimore, and the Rebels had little success running against Vandy, so the Dogs should be able to keep the ground game under control.

Meanwhile, the paper-thin Georgia offensive line will be facing a senior-laden Rebel DL and the Mississippi secondary has proved opportunistic, with five interceptions so far this season. But Ole Miss has been giving up nearly 200 yards per game on the ground, so Isaiah Crowell has the opportunity to take some of the pressure off Aaron Murray. This would be a great time for him to have his first really big day.

Ole Miss hasn’t faced the level of competition the Dogs have so far and despite playing ranked teams in two of its first three games Georgia’s still averaging better than 426 yards of offense and nearly 41 points, so you’ve got to think the Dogs should be able to move the ball on the Rebs.

It’s the intangibles that worry me. Ole Miss’ pride is hurting after the Vandy game and I’m afraid some of the Dogs might forget last week’s 59-0 win was over an FCS school and might arrive in Oxford expecting to win. The reality is that, against major competition, Georgia has looked awful in one game and much improved but mistake-prone in the other. So the Dogs need to come into this game hungry for redemption and with something to prove.

Even with their backs against the wall, the Rebs don’t have the horses to run with Georgia if everything goes as it should. But poor ball-handling by Georgia or an off day for Murray could even things up.

It’s the Dogs’ game to lose, in other words.

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455 comments Add your comment

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NCDawgs fan

September 23rd, 2011
10:47 am

Let’s hope that this is the continuation of a long stretch of “W’s”!!!!!

Raleigh

September 23rd, 2011
10:48 am

Man I hope we win. Go dawgs

DawginLex

September 23rd, 2011
10:49 am

If Richt and Bobo and Grantham can get on the same page, we can win big.

Run the ball, eat the clock, punt or score and play field position.

Ole Miss offense is horrid.

I have predicted 31-0

Probably won’t be right but I’m not backing down.

If it is not a big win for the Dawgs, Richt just puts another nail in his coaching coffin.

Big Dawg Eats

September 23rd, 2011
10:50 am

The BIG DAWG EATS this week–and EATS and EATS and EATS all day long!

Leroy1970

September 23rd, 2011
10:50 am

SSIgator

September 23rd, 2011
10:51 am

“Dogs have something to prove in Oxford”

Should read “UGA Coaching Staff Has Something to Prove in Oxford”

The dogs are what the coaching staff made them.

StevoDeG

September 23rd, 2011
10:56 am

We need to look out for Jeff Scott; he’s the only good thing about the Ole Miss team while on the field (and Tyler Campbell, the punter. He’s punting a LOOOOOOONG way. Try 70+ in warm ups and games). Other than that, though, should be pretty easy. Ole Miss is not good. I’m just glad my dogs are coming to where I can see them while I’m at school.
Go Dawgs!

And why shouldn't we...

September 23rd, 2011
10:57 am

… EXPECT to come out of Oxford with an easy win – Vandy, for goodness sakes, beat them like a drum –

Oh, yeah, I forgot, Vandy has REAL coache,s while we seem to have a bunch (OC, DC, D-line, special teams, and secondary) of coaches who just want to collect their $200K – $750K paychecks…

asleep at the wheel

September 23rd, 2011
10:59 am

If Richt loses this game he should be fired immediately.

Kool Aid drinkers galore

September 23rd, 2011
11:01 am

Wonder what the excuses will be if UGA loses this game?

DawginLex

September 23rd, 2011
11:01 am

And SSI aka “Mr Obvious” shares his vast knowledge with us.

Aren’t we all dumber for having read it?

Buckhead Dawg

September 23rd, 2011
11:03 am

Anyone who says this isn’t a must win game is an idiot.

Socal Dawg

September 23rd, 2011
11:04 am

If Murry “has a bad day” Mason should go in. Don’t let Murry lose another game.

SSIgator

September 23rd, 2011
11:05 am

“Some people expect Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs to come out of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford with an easy win”

That is probably about right. They are playing a team that does not have a winning record and UGA’s multi-million dollar coaching staff seems to be able to handle that level of competition. Also, Murray the Midget will be glad to add to his stats against teams with losing records.

Rusty

September 23rd, 2011
11:06 am

This will be at the very least a solid victory for the Dawgs, probably more like a blow-out. There is no reason to expect anything but that… oh yeah, except for all the losses to inferior opponents last year. But, thats last year, we BETTER go beat some tail tomorrow.

Newman

September 23rd, 2011
11:08 am

I’s ay 116 yrds against South Carolina was a big day…

dawginflorida

September 23rd, 2011
11:08 am

i will be looking for a focused georgia team, if not i will be in the beer cooler by 12 noon , if we play
bad i believe time is now not later to get changes in before recruiting heats up even more.

carolinajacket

September 23rd, 2011
11:09 am

I say about 47-3, UGA. Georgia will not lose more than one the rest of the season, and this isn’t it.

JB

September 23rd, 2011
11:13 am

We have better talent than Ole Miss. I think this team is a little better than last year, and even starting 0-2, i think the mind set is a lot better……But, we are in a rut of some type, and any time we suit up and take the field, you gotta wonder what will happen….as with the Colorado game last year. We should win this game by 2 scores…. But it’s on the road…..It’s SEC athletes….and it’s Houston Nutt, who can coach…….We’ll see.

Too Long Gone 'Dog

September 23rd, 2011
11:14 am

Don’t count Vanderbilt out as a fluke against Ole Miss last week.

Vandy’s got a good team and a very good coach. Spurrier has it coming to him tomorrow and I’m hoping the 2010 SEC East champ has it coming to it, as well.

The Commodores are heading in the right direction and I’m praying upset in Columbia!

But we’d better be about our business in Oxford if we don’t want to be whimpering all the way home.

paul

September 23rd, 2011
11:15 am

Yeah, they have something to prove. That they can beat a team that almost got shutout by Vanderbilt. You UGA fans are hilarious. You now look to turn your season around only because of that weak schedule. I wonder what all these articles would say if you had ARK, BAMA, and LSU on the schedule like most SEC teams. You may finish 9-3 and salvage this season, but it will be misleading. You better thank the lord those teams are not on the schedule, otherwise you are a six loss team. Congrats, you are in last place among the elite.

Rosco Coltrain

September 23rd, 2011
11:17 am

If we don’t come out of Oxford with a win tomorrow, heads need to roll.

paul

September 23rd, 2011
11:20 am

And if you want to know why your program is a joke, look to these comments and posts from fans. Same ol’ UGA. Writing off teams before they play a down.

onedawg

September 23rd, 2011
11:21 am

It’s “DAWGS” Bill … you know that!!

1980 champs a fraud

September 23rd, 2011
11:21 am

how can uga fans be so sure of a blowout win??? you are coming off of a losing season, currently playing with a losing record, going on the road against a sec opponent!! wake up rednecks…

Rosco Coltrain

September 23rd, 2011
11:21 am

SSIgator, is that the best you’ve got? Insulting the guy’s height? How tall are you? Are you an accomplished athlete? Pretty easy easy to fire off insults from your keyboard. Run along to Brogans and get you beer hot rod.

Fire Mark Richt

September 23rd, 2011
11:23 am

I like the Dawgs, 31-24. But in the back of mind I’m thinking of last year’s Colorado game. Georgia has shown a remarkable ability to lose games like this in recent years. Still, there’s no reason not to win this game. The wheels must be off at Ole Miss to get blown out like that against Vandy.

DawginLex

September 23rd, 2011
11:25 am

SSI is a Dawg wannabee. He ended up at Daytona Beach Junior College and Mortician School but he is a huge Gator fan

About 325 pounds huge

Fire Mark Richt

September 23rd, 2011
11:25 am

“1980 champs a fraud” – interesting moniker, although I’m not sure what you mean by fraud. We really are as bad as we look, hence MY moniker. That’s why a change at head coach is needed in the worst way.

Fair and Balanced

September 23rd, 2011
11:26 am

This is not a ” must win” game. It’s a “can’t lose” game. Winning only brings the opportunity to play another day. Lose this game and GA can mail it in.

DawginLex

September 23rd, 2011
11:27 am

1980 champs a fraud

1980 team went undefeated and untied
Next 3 years, same bunch lost 4 games total and won the SEC 2 more times

A fraud is a “national title” team that tied a 1-9 team, beat no one outside of a crappy conference and the next year, went back to mediocre.

Andy

September 23rd, 2011
11:30 am

I think if Murray plays well, Dogs win against a motivated Ole Miss team. Murray has got to be more consistent and has got to get over those early game jitters he tends to have. Hopefully he can get into the groove early and get some scores and not feel he has to force things. I think he is the key to our season and he’s got to do better. He needs to get get wins in big games and perform in high pressure situations–he hasn’t really done either so far. He should have enough experience by now to perform, and his coaches need to expect excellence. He does fine numbers wise, but he has too often underperformed or made big mistakes when it counts. Bottom line: Murray needs to get it done. No more excuses. Bobo should try rolling him out more often, letting him throw on the run and get away from the pass rush once in a while.

djdawg

September 23rd, 2011
11:30 am

Dawgs will win. Just come out focused and do your job!!

Still@theBAR

September 23rd, 2011
11:32 am

Hutson Mason gets to play and he never loses the starting job for the rest of the year.

Mexdawg

September 23rd, 2011
11:33 am

Welcome to the HOT SEAT BOWL.My guess is the losing coach in this game will not survive the season.I sure hope we are ready because if we lose this one our season´s over.Good luck guys and LET THE BIG DAWG EAT.

Still@theBAR

September 23rd, 2011
11:38 am

With the Dawgs O-Line problems Mason is better at seeing the field and gets rid of the ball sooner than Murray.

athdog from the Classic City

September 23rd, 2011
11:38 am

Bill,
Any scuttlebutt about whether or not Richt was calling the plays in the second half of the Carolina game? From my seats, it sure looked like he was versus the first half. He was in on the signalling to Murray, versus the first half when he was his usual stoic self. The play selection seemed to change and after a few series, my seat neighbor mentioned it and after watching for a bit, he was right.

Larry

September 23rd, 2011
11:40 am

Well….it all depends on how many points our all SEC QB decides he wants to give them….7? 14? 21? If anyone thinks this will be a cakewalk is either stupid or has lived under a rock the last 2 seasons. I have a feeling this team will be feeling really good about themselves after beating the HS from Myrtle Beach…..Ole Miss players will come with the kitchen sink……IF and that is a BIG IF, our dear QB doesnt provide Ole Miss with any points- we MIGHT get out 21-17…….

Too Long Gone 'Dog

September 23rd, 2011
11:40 am

Richt is not gone if he loses this one, but it sure does raise the stakes October 29.

icallbs

September 23rd, 2011
11:42 am

Georgia should (needs) to win BIG. If they were to lose that would be it for Richt, I’m sure.

Todd

September 23rd, 2011
11:43 am

Has anyone heard how many points Aaron plans to spot the home team????

duronimo

September 23rd, 2011
11:45 am

Ole Miss has for decades been the best of the Mississippi teams. That’s all flipped. It just shows what a good coach can do. It’s never as much the number of 4 and 5 stars recruits as it is about the coach.
Years ago I use to watch Marietta native, Morgan Hout who coached at Liberty University, beat teams with better athletes almost every week. His adjustments at halftime usually made a huge difference. It’s the first use of a hurry-up offense I had every seen. He was coach of the year in Virginia over Frank Beamer. He was then fired by TV Evangelist and Liberty Chancellor, Jerry Falwell. Why? A rich donor offered to build a the school a new stadium if he (the donor) could pick the coach. Money or honor …. Hummmmmm? It was an easy decision for Falwell. Sam Rutigliano replaced Hout. Grant Taft of the Coaches Association on behalf of all college coaches sent a censor letter to Falwell. The program regressed. Rutigliano failed where Hout excelled. This is precisely why Boise State beats teams with better players.

where are the true fans

September 23rd, 2011
11:45 am

I think we have a good opportunity to win this game and get to .500. We should be looking to go 3-1 if Murray would have just ate the darn sack. Hopefully he has learned his lesson.

djdawg

September 23rd, 2011
11:45 am

Enough about Mason, if the coaches thought he should be the starter then he would be starting geeez……

Real Problem

September 23rd, 2011
11:47 am

Head coach that looses this game needs to get ahead of the game and have a FOR SALE sign in his yard Sunday morning. Now with that said, I will be shocked if Georgia does not win this game between 14-35 points. Talked to a buddy in Oxford and he said everyone is wanting a major purge in the athletic department……will not be happy with one head on a pole.

PMC

September 23rd, 2011
11:50 am

Ole Miss has been a remarkably awful football team for two years now. They were horrid last year and they are worse this year.

If it’s not a double digit win by Georgia you should worry. Seriously, Ole Miss is a terrible football team.

doug dawg

September 23rd, 2011
11:50 am

every game is a ‘must win’ game. period. to say otherwise is just to toss in the towel, as they say. i am not so sure this team, with all of the weaknesses forecast in pre-season, is very capable of turning in an acceptable season. and i am not at all confident in the coaching staff. sad.
this is georgia’s lowest ebb in many, many years. the excitement? none at all that i can see. but, again, we dawg fans need something to be excited about, don’t we?

Douglas Dawg

September 23rd, 2011
11:50 am

I heard the late and great Vince L… this morning on a talk show recording. He was talking about expecting to win. That’s what our team has got to do again. Expect to Win…. We are Georgia! And I’m proud to be a Georgia Bulldog.
Dog’s win and cover the 9 1/2 spread.

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