Georgia overcame Houston Nutt trickeration and a horrendous day on special teams to notch its first conference win of the season Saturday at Ole Miss.
Offensively, Georgia amassed 475 yards while keeping the ball over 38 minutes, with Isaiah Crowell running for 147 yards on 30 carries, but most of that came in the first half, as the Dogs sputtered their way through a second half that saw only 3 points scored.
The Dogs defense had an impressive day against an admittedly wretched Rebel offense, giving up only one score on a two-play sequence where Ole Miss completed a couple of long passes with a touch of razzle-dazzle.
Ole Miss’ other score came on a long trick play punt return that was poorly covered by Georgia. The Dogs also let the Rebs snag an onside kick (though it didn’t end up producing any points), return man Branden Smith let one of Ole Miss’ line-drive rugby punts go through his legs and get downed at the Georgia 1-yard line, and Blair Walsh had the worst day of his career, missing three field goal attempts that were easily within his range and sending his last kickoff out of bounds.
But Mark Richt stuck with Walsh and sent him out one more time, and this time he made a 43-yarder in the fourth quarter.
“Blair’s our guy,” Richt said after the game. But, the head coach noted, “We’ve got to solve some problems on our special teams. Obviously we’ve got to cover punts better. And onside kicks shouldn’t happen.”
Richt said the Dogs were “coached up” on both the onside kick and the hand-off/reverse punt return. It was just a matter of “we’ve got to execute better.”
Still, I have a feeling there’ll be some heated discussion with the special teams coaches this week.
Individual highlights of the day included Bacarri Rambo snagging two interceptions, and Crowell’s play on Georgia’s key 8-play 99-yard drive — particularly on third-and 9 from the Dogs’ 2 when he bounced outside for a 29-yard gain. Aaron Murray had another good-not-great day, completing 17 of 26 passes for 268 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He scored another TD on a sneak. Murray was off-target a few times but also had several passes dropped by receivers (though on at least one of those, it looked like Murray threw way too hard for a short pass).
Overall, it was a solid effort and kept the Dogs alive in SEC play. Any conference road win is a good win.
Feel free to share your own thoughts on the game.
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