A sweet night in Knoxville for Mark Richt and the Dawgs

A banged-up Isaiah Crowell gets one of his two touchdowns. (Associated Press)

A banged-up Isaiah Crowell gets one of his two touchdowns. (Associated Press)

How fitting that when Mark Richt notched his 100th win as head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday night, it was in the same place that he won his first signature victory a decade earlier.

OK, this time there wasn’t quite the excitement of the famed “hobnail boot” comeback at Knoxville’s Neyland Stadium, but considering all the turmoil his program has been through the past three seasons, Georgia’s 20-12 win over SEC East rival Tennessee had to be one of the sweetest moments Richt has experienced in some time.

The Dogs got a crucial win in their quest to turn a season that started out 0-2 into a return trip to the Georgia Dome thanks to another stellar performance by Todd Grantham’s defense, which held the Vols to a stunning minus 20 yards for the night rushing and mostly limited UT’s hot-handed young QB, Tyler Bray, to short or medium completions.

The first half was a strange one, with both teams moving the ball up and down the field with relative ease (this despite Georgia’s Isaiah Crowell being off the field much of the time with a hurt wrist) and yet unable to get more than a pair of field goals each (and welcome back, Blair Walsh!)

Then, fortunately, the Dogs avoided the second-half doldrums that have plagued them the past couple of weeks, with Crowell scoring two touchdowns while the defense pitched a shutout in the third quarter.

The first scoring drive came after a poor Volunteers punt from their end zone gave Georgia the ball at the UT 38. With the help of a pass interference flag, the Dogs finally cashed in a drive. Then after the Vols were frustrated on the next drive (thanks to a video review that turned a touchdown reception into a fourth-and-3 punt), Aaron Murray hit Malcolm Mitchell for a 73-yarder that set up another TD run for Crowell, who was more effective in the second half, finishing with 58 yards on 18 carries.

The bad news was that Mitchell limped off the field with a hurt hamstring and sat out the rest of the game. Let’s hope he bounces back quickly from that, because the speedy freshman is a major weapon.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Georgia win if there weren’t flaws to chew over. The game shouldn’t have been that close, but Murray, who was a decent 15 of 25 for 227 yards passing on the night, overthrew wide open receivers several times.

And then in the fourth quarter Georgia self-destructed on a drive that had reached the UT 23-yard line before the Dogs seemingly decided to see how many penalties they could draw in one series of downs (the answer was five). Mike Bobo haters had good reason to froth at the mouth on that drive, as the UGA playcaller apparently decided to run up the white flag when it was second-and 56, handing the ball to Richard “One Yard and a Cloud of Dust” Samuel on two consecutive plays before Georgia punted, let UT get a good return and then allowed 15 more yards to be tacked on for a late hit.

The fact that Tennessee wasn’t able to turn all of that into points right away tells you how good the Georgia defense was, but when the Dogs got the ball back Bobo was back in his “I never met a lead I didn’t want to sit on” mode.

UT almost made a game of it, even after Bray went out with a hurt hand, as Tennessee tight end Mychal Rivera, who had five catches for 85 yards, made a spectacular grab of a pass from Vols backup Matt Simms at the 1 to set up a UT touchdown.

That’s where Tennessee’s poor special teams play made the difference, with the PAT blocked and then the onside kick attempt going out of bounds.

And so Georgia remains alive in the SEC East race.

Whew. As Richt told Chuck Dowdle in the locker room, “I’d like to see us have a little bit less drama in some of the games.”

This still isn’t a team where you want to look beyond the next week’s opponent, but as Richt noted, “If we just keep getting better, who knows?”

Feel free to share your views of Georgia’s big win in Knoxville.

Oh, and happy birthday to my Vols pal Joey. I have to admit I’m glad you didn’t get the present you wanted, but I hope otherwise it was a great day for you!

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244 comments Add your comment

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
2:35 pm

You guys called the VOLS a bad team all week. Then you beat so now it is some great feat? The Only thing UGA did was break the streak of 13 2nd half possessions without a TD. That streak was started right back when the Dawgs did nothing in the 4th qtr possessions.

Terry

October 9th, 2011
2:39 pm

Still@theBAR, Show me one place I stated the Vols were a bad team.

Terry

October 9th, 2011
2:40 pm

They had lost only one game before Georgia.

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
2:41 pm

Terry you can’t prove you are not on the TECH blog running down tech. plenty of UGA fans are doing it. AJC doesn’t require One Blog name for one email address. The writers shouldn’t be able to ban posters either. If the post is bad the filters should catch it or the blog monitor should remove it. The AJC is weak compared to 95% of blog forums because they are lazy. The COX girls need to fix that issue.
You call me out, but there a 100’s of Energy Vampires. on the blogs.

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
2:44 pm

maybe not YOU but your FAN BASE have been calling the Vols a joke. You can’t be that DIM not to have read it this week. Come on please stop trying to be all high and mighty. You saw the 30-3 and other unfounded scores all week. now after the game you have to admit the dawg fans were making some very crazy predictions and a few were closer and not too far off either.

Terry

October 9th, 2011
2:46 pm

Ask the Tech blog writers then they have records.

Terry

October 9th, 2011
2:48 pm

All I heard last week was how that GT was going to lay the wood to Maryland and how the Vols were going to beat UGA. Well it didn’t happen.

ugaMUTT

October 9th, 2011
2:48 pm

I’m sorry to be so flagrantly inflammatory but are all of you are @$%!ing stupid? Who on here has ever coached a “perfect” game? WOULD YOU EVEN KNOW IT IF YOU SAW IT? Bottom line-we beat Tennessee on their home field for the first time in six years. Thats a quality win. People said before this game that, and I quote, “Tennessee has the best 3rd down conversion rate in the country” “Tennessee is the best passing team in the SEC and top ten in the country” “Neyland is an impossible stadium for the Dawgs not to get blown out at”. Now that we’ve won, in convincing fashion, Tennessee is a garbage team. You are all garbage fans and trolls. This was just another game that proved that 1)UGA has a championship caliber defense 2)The players and coaches are learning how to control a game from start to finish. 3)We still have a young team, and the players will make mistakes (2nd and 57 is a street intersection, not a down in football). So next week, when we convicingly beat the best Vanderbilt team in almost 20 years, that will be b/c they suck. And when we beat Florida for the first time since 2007 in Jax, that will be because they suck also, and Auburn, and Tech, and when we have something like a 10-3 or 11-2 or 11-3 or 12-2 record at the end of the season, I don’t want to see one of you puke flavored, nit-picking, armchair analyst, indian-giving, worthless, disgraceful, disrespectful, greedy, callow, and unworthy Fairweather’s jump back on the bandwagon on here crying “GO DAWGS! GATA! GLORY TO OL’ GEORGIA!” b/c YOU SUCK and are the exact reason why the football climate is so fickle!!!

Terry

October 9th, 2011
2:51 pm

Still@theBAR, What ever makes you feel better, good luck with your team until they play the Dawgs.

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
2:55 pm

I do give Stafford one thing. He has learned how to do a pretty good Reggie Ball impersonation this year.

@Terry…….Where did you read Tech was going to bring the wood?
I know Bray is better than Murray.

ugaMUTT

October 9th, 2011
2:56 pm

And you can go back and check my posts. I called a game with a close first half, where uga would go up by 2 TDs in the third and that Tenn would make a garbage TD at the end of the 4th to keep the score respectable. In fairness, I thought the score would be 31-20 Dawgs. I said both teams were emotional teams, and that neither had the experience or character to fight back from a second half deficit to win this one. Well I was about 95% right and I’ll tell you right now that this is a good team, that needs about 2 years to iron out the discipline issues (penalties, attitudes, streakiness due to emotional play) and will be a top 10 team for the next 2-3 years. Mark it. If you’re looking to see if I’m full of %$&, my posts are under UGAmutt, ugaMUTT, and DAWGtired, all on Bill and Mark’s posts.

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
3:01 pm

ugaMUTT never coached it. I think there is film on it. i have read about it.

222-0 that is about as Perfect as a football can be played. I think almost every way to score was accomplished in that game. I would say that was close. I am sure there are a few 7-3 type games the were close to Perfect by Both teams Defenses and therefore limited scoring.

GTBob

October 9th, 2011
3:03 pm

So next week, when we convicingly beat the best Vanderbilt team in almost 20 years, that will be b/c they suck. And when we beat Florida for the first time since 2007 in Jax, that will be because they suck also, and Auburn, and Tech

If you want more credit for beating the teams you beat then play better teams. Vanderbilt is terrible. You will blow them out like almost every team would. Auburn and Florida have already fallen out of the rankings which they never really deserved to be in in the first place. GT keeps winning but has played their worst 2 games of the season the last two weeks and looks very suspect at the moment. UGA has only played one good team this season and they handled UGA pretty easily.

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
3:03 pm

ugaMUTT…………..Why the need for so many names?

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
3:09 pm

GTBob
Didn’t an All Cupcake Conference team beat AUBURN?
We will see more when Clemson v USC…….Florida v FSU……….UGA v Tech happen to see what the dawgs did in the East by getting to the Dome by the other East teams playing REAL teams from the WEST.
Dawgs get to the DOME and then Don’t get Embarrassed. Wouldn’t that PROVE even in a weak SEC East the Dawgs are good?

ugaMUTT

October 9th, 2011
3:12 pm

I have a different tag on each computer i use so that the filter connects an IP address to an individual postname. It does help keep from having posts swallowed. As for a perfect game, 222-0 was sometime when football was a mere shadow of what the sport has become. I’m sure it was the 8th wonder of the world when it happened (against some team like chattanooga state i’m sure) but you seem to have lens on your glasses @the Bar. Those lens are coated with snarky remarks on a blog board where you intentionally incite ire, b/c no one care to post on the Tech blogs. I’m pretty sure that it has something to do with your penis-envy of Athens. Lack of coeds and a quality football team can do that to a man. Don’t even listen to GTBob…I’ve called that punk out on so many occasions on this board I don’t even know where to start. He was another hater predicting a 37-3 Volunteer blowout, and now that he didn’t get his defeat to troll on us, he must stir the pot of doubt and discontent. We are legit. You are pretenders. See you in November, Bugs.

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
3:18 pm

Anybody watching the Carolina v New Orleans game? Cam is doing pretty good and has his team close.

GTBob

October 9th, 2011
3:19 pm

@ugaMUTT, please give me a link to where I predicted a 37-3 Tennessee victory, or any Tennessee victory at all. Plus, what other usernames are you posting as? I can’t recall ever seeing you at all, so please tell me when you have called me out.

ugaMUTT

October 9th, 2011
3:22 pm

The fact that we are playing weaker opponents doesn’t mitigate the fact that we are a quality football team. We didn’t chose for Florida, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, and Tennessee to be in our division this year. Thats how it is EVERY year. We scheduled Boise to baptize these kids with fire and wake them up. It’s worked. We should not have lost to SC, a team that we dominated in every aspect but turnover margin and the big play, and if we hadn’t, there would be a completely different tone on these message boards. And do the shortcomings of the rest of the division have anything to do with the state of Georgia football? No. They are separate institutions, and if we finish the season 11-3 with loses to SC, Boise State, Alabama (in SECCG) and a win against a decent team in the Cotton or Capital One Bowl, does that mean that we were “gift-wrapped” a season? The teams still have to execute and finish the drill and anyone who says otherwise never played a down of football ever.

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
3:28 pm

ugaMUTT you have not seen the Talent at TECH lately. We don’t have as many girls as UGA but there are plenty that are very good looking. UGA has twice the enrollment and that percentage of females to males at UGA is HUGE in the opposite as it is at Tech.

ugaMUTT

October 9th, 2011
3:37 pm

My bad, BOB, I mistook you for GT Joe, who was one of the worst trolls I have ever encountered on Bill’s Sophomore slump and What do the Dogs have to Fear the Most articles. I sincerely apologize.

Hairy Perry

October 9th, 2011
3:42 pm

Still@thebar,

I don’t think I have ever seen anyone spend as much time on a sports blog as you, and I have seen some people on here that have way to much time on thier hands. I guess the reason Bobby Dodd
stadium is 50% empty after going 6-0 and being ranked 12th in the country is……………………………………………..Yech’s know thier world will come crashing down in NOV.

ugaMUTT

October 9th, 2011
3:44 pm

@Bar- female yearly enrollment is something like 18000 females to about 13500 males. Yes, that is sweet. 62-38 ratio instead of 33-67 at tech i think?

Hairy Perry

October 9th, 2011
3:44 pm

Oh yeah!, and thier all hanging out in thier fruity loomies on the UGA sports blogs.

Hairy Perry

October 9th, 2011
3:45 pm

Good Afternoon Dawgs!

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
3:49 pm

Harry Fairy I am watching the Carolina v New Orleans game. I was at the Tech game. I have been there for almost every game since 74. How many UGA games you been too?

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
3:50 pm

thier? maybe THEIR. or is it THERE? Maybe They’re?

2010 BCS CHAMPS

October 9th, 2011
3:54 pm

“A sweet night in Knoxville for Mark Richt and the Dawgs”

Yep, beating a team like TN, who won’t make a bowl game, is sweet. It’s been over 2 years since UGA beat a ranked team.

2010 BCS CHAMPS

October 9th, 2011
3:54 pm

Still@theBAR

Yep, and Cam is having a good day.

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
3:58 pm

CAM took a huge shot on the Option keeper to like the 2, but he got up and shook his helmet and went back to the huddle.

Long Time DAWG Lover

October 9th, 2011
3:59 pm

When you’ve been eating mush for a long time, even an overcooked, dried-out hamburger tastes great. We’re 4-2 with wins over Coastal Carolina, Ole Miss, Miss. St. and Tennessee. None of them are worth a bucket of warm spit. And we’re onlyl a tad better. Face it. Quit being delusional.

Alabama destroyed Florida in Gainesville. And they’ll destroy whoever wins the SEC E.

We’re a middling team. With all the ravings, one of the most important factors remains unspoken.
We’re in the twenties on recruiting of next year’s class (2012). And we know how poor recruiting plays out: Losses and playing freshman and sophomores to the extreme.

Nothing really has changed except the question of Richt’s longevity.

2010 BS CHUMPS

October 9th, 2011
4:00 pm

I wonder what our record against UGA is the past 10 yrs.

Satisy

October 9th, 2011
4:09 pm

You can satisfy some of the people some of the time but you can’t satisfy all of the people all of the time.

UGA fans…give it a break. Your team won. Enjoy the victory. It wasn’t pretty…none of the past three wins have been pretty. But, if this team can put it together for 4 quarters…we will be on our way.

Besides, we don’t need to be a full strength ’til we play the Water Lizards!

Kenny Powers

October 9th, 2011
4:16 pm

Does Bray have a weird delivery? Isn’t it sort of a side arm motion, or is that just balls thrown out to his right. Not cutting on him, just asking if anyone else noticed this, then again I may be wrong.

Choke

October 9th, 2011
4:24 pm

While it certainly was not creative–and arguably a poor call–I’m not going to fault Bobo’s call to hand off to Samuel on 2nd & 56. Given how poorly we were playing on that particular series, I don’t know that there was a better call. Ideally, if we were a better team, a screen or slant route to gain some yards back would have put us in better punting position. I think the greater concern was averting total catastrophe: like throwing a pick. Of course, while there theoretically were better calls to make, a better team would not end up 2nd & 56.

I agree with another poster; the knock on Samuel was tasteless coming from Bill, especially considering the quality of Samuel’s character. Leave that sort of stuff for the posters.

Overall, Dawgs are looking good. Still a ton to fix. At least in the 2nd half, D was playing lights out; in the first half, it was more bend-but-don’t-break. Jarvis Jones is a beast. Herrera and Gilliard are proving to be excellent ILBs; future looks bright at that position. Chase Vasser was the best understudy for Washington. Drew needs some serious improvement disengaging from blockers, but his hustle is solid; Washington had the same problems the last couple of seasons. Once Drew mastes that art, he’ll be a force off the edge, but don’t be surprised if it takes a couple of years to develop it. Remember, 5 stars ratings–at best–only indicate a player’s potential, not necessarily how good he’ll be coming in as a frosh.

While he’s amazing, Crowell does appear to be a little injury prone. I’d like to see him develop a little more of an identity as a running back, a personality that the offense and team can feed off of. Moreno, for example, would hop up and sprint back to the huddle. W/ Lattimore, he never smiles, and it all looks like straight business, like he’s been there before. Moreno and Lattimore, apart from being excellent backs, were remarkably mature as freshman. I think the identity is something that will come as Crowell matures a bit more and becomes more comfortable with the game.

Carlton Thomas continues to be a nice suprise as a true change-of-pace back.

Branden Smith is playing with ferocity. Even if you don’t break up the pass or make a pick, it’s always better to hit the receiver so hard that he’ll unavoidably have a little more hesitation as the game wears on. That’s what good defenses do. It looks like we’re starting to move toward 2002 form. Aggressive play. Gang tackling. Play making. Tackles for loss. Big hits. Stripping balls without missing tackles. In general, we’re getting more out of our talent, out of every player on the field.

2010 BCS CHAMPS

October 9th, 2011
4:29 pm

“I wonder what our record against UGA is the past 10 yrs.”

I wonder what the ALL TIME RECORD against UGA is?

BG

October 9th, 2011
4:31 pm

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
4:32 pm

UGA v Auburn is a betting mans Nightmare.
There is debate the overall record from games during the war years, but no matter it is a game I would never bet REAL money on EVER.

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
4:34 pm

Right is 6-4 against AUBURN.
One Head-2-Head site had Auburn v Georgia at 50-50-6

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
4:36 pm

Record of Auburn (vs Georgia), 1869-2010

Site First Meeting Last Meeting Games Win % Wins Losses Ties Average Score
Any 1902 2010 106 0.500 50 50 6 15.75 16.64
Home 1908 2010 28 0.464 12 14 2 19.93 19.79
Away 1902 2009 39 0.590 22 15 2 18.31 15.67
Neutral 1916 1958 39 0.436 16 21 2 10.18 15.36

UGA Supporter, Comment Hater

October 9th, 2011
4:36 pm

@1969 Grad – That is the most idiotic, insulting post on UGA Football that I have ever read! To even suggest that the “goal” of our players and coaches and staff is to be “mediocre” is the most counter-productive anti-supporter comment I have ever read. To say that we(fans and students) are content with being a second string team shows your utter and complete lack of football or any other kind of ball insight that I have ever heard of. I could say so much more, but I am totally disgusted with your comments. I would like to see you in a room with CMR and CMB while you accuse them of being totally inept at their jobs. I’m sure we would see some backstrokin’ then.

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
4:37 pm

that came out nasty as a cut and paste.

Purity One

October 9th, 2011
4:49 pm

The athletic history of UGA is full of so many sordid, sleazy incidents – dating back to Vince Dooley and continuing through Mark Richt – that it’s impossible to overlook. The school has come to stand for drunkenness and lawlessness, coddling of illiterate athletes who should never have been admitted to college, and rampant cheating by coaches.

UGA and Mark Richt are an affront and an embarrassment to all decent people in this state.

RamboDog

October 9th, 2011
5:07 pm

Hey 2010 BCS Champs (and biggest cheaters in SEC)…UGA will put the beatdown on you losers…and the world will be back like it was before SCAM Newton.

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
5:14 pm

RamboDog
What is Auburn guilty of? Nothing proven. I am sure it is easy to PROVE you football players are not smart enough to even clean the floors in the classrooms. Make the UGA players take a TEST in a controlled environment and see what happens. Show what a JOKE the SEC really is and make all the players already on Scholarship actually take the ACT or SAT.

Stephen A. Smith DAWG: Whassup Y'all !?

October 9th, 2011
5:20 pm

Congrats to the Georgia Seminoles on that “big” win on the road vs. Tennessee. The delusional kool-aid base is now convinced that UGA is back and ready to contend for the SEC crown. I would love to see Georgia play Florida’s schedule of having to play Bama and LSU back to back. If that happened that lunatic kool-aid base wouldn’t be feeling as good as they do today. LOL ! But hopefully for their sake Bobo/Richt’s dysfunctional offense win continue to ride the back of a pretty good Grantham defense on to the SEC Championship game to be destroyed by Bama or LSU !! After which Richt will curtly ask for a multi-year contract extension. Hopefully he will be curtly offered one year. And curtly he will refuse the one year extension and resign for a bigger payday at the Ohio St. University or UNC . Peace out y’all !!!

Still@theBAR

October 9th, 2011
5:30 pm

I loved the Gatorade Shower for Richt after this win.
It wasn’t for a game worth remembering but the SID had to go tell the guys that this game would make 100 wins for Richt. Man that just looked Stupid. maybe if Rich makes it to 100 SEC wins it would be a reason to celebrate.

Bill

October 9th, 2011
5:31 pm

Congratulations, UGA players and coaches on a big win. Really, there are people who support you and want you to succeed. Do not listen to the idiots who try to criticize you through this forum. You are the ones in the arena, not those morons!

Run the table

October 9th, 2011
5:38 pm

with this huge upset, Ga can run the table to the SEC east. Florida sucks big time this year so Ga can beat them easy and auburn doesn’t have a very good defense. Ga will play alabama for the sec title.

DawgVoiceofReason

October 9th, 2011
5:40 pm

It’s unfortunate that some people are in drinking establishments making drunk, incoherent remarks on this blog. You know who you are.