I wonder what excuse Paul Johnson will use this time for the Dogs walking off Historic Grant Field as the victors for the sixth consecutive time.
Maybe he can take a page from all those folks (including the ESPN “GameDay” gang) who predicted Georgia Tech would prevail in Saturday’s annual Governor’s Cup game because Mark Richt’s Dogs would be looking ahead to the SEC championship game against LSU.
Perhaps Tech was caught looking ahead to the Hyundai Sun Bowl, or wherever they’re going to play next.
Or maybe Johnson’s excuse can be simply to acknowledge what the Georgia players proclaimed again after the game: When it comes to football, “We run this state.”
Actually, Johnson’s best excuse would be to point out that while he may have a little-seen offensive scheme that is tough to defend, he just flat-out doesn’t have the same caliber talent that Richt has in Athens, particularly on defense.
Even playing without their two top running backs, which made Georgia nearly as one-dimensional offensively as Tech, the Dogs still moved the ball easily against the Jackets most of the day, with Aaron Murray looking particularly sharp in the first half. It could have been worse, as Murray missed a couple of opportunities in the second half, but for the day he completed 19 of 29 passes for 252 yards and padded his UGA season record with four more touchdowns to four different receivers. Unfortunately, Orson Charles wasn’t one of them, but he still led the Dogs with five catches for 95 yards and was a big playmaker.
And while the Georgia running game managed only 128 yards, fifth-stringer Ken Malcome showed some gritty running and extra effort as Georgia handed it to him repeatedly in the fourth quarter to eat up the clock. He wound up with 43 tough yards on a dozen carries. Murray contributed 35 yards of his own on a day when Georgia dialed up more designed quarterback runs than usual, and even Zander Ogletree got into the act with a 21-yard burst on the only fullback run so far this season.
But it wasn’t just the offense that was masterful against the Jackets. Tech managed to get 243 yards rushing Saturday but never really got its running attack in rhythm against the Dogs’ resilient defense, despite all the cut-blocks. And much of the time Tech’s passing game was pretty inept, with Georgia snagging two interceptions.
Plus, while Blair Walsh missed one long field goal attempt, Georgia’s special teams generally had a fine day, with Drew Butler pinning the Jackets deep on a couple of long punts and Brandon Boykin’s 60-yard kickoff return setting up Georgia’s first score of the third quarter.
Really, from the time Georgia went up 14-3 midway through the second quarter, the Dogs appeared to have the game in hand.
Much was made by various pundits in the week leading up to this game about how “even” the rivalry has become in recent years, but in realtiy that’s certainly not the case if you look at the bottom line: who takes home the Governor’s Cup.
As Richt noted after the game with characteristic understatement, “Ten out of 11 ain’t bad.”
OK, now we can worry about LSU.
Feel free to share your own views on what excuses Johnson can use for his team’s showing and anything else relating to Georgia’s latest win over the Bugs.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg