Same old problems plague Dogs in loss to Spartans

Brandon Boykin had a career day against Michigan State — but it wasn't enough. (Associated Press)

Brandon Boykin had a career day against Michigan State — but it wasn't enough. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt’s Bulldogs didn’t have to find any new ways to lose in the Outback Bowl — instead, they simply let lots of familiar problems resurface in suffering another second-half collapse and dropping a three-overtime battle with Michigan State.

Again, the Dogs wasted a superlative first-half defensive effort by giving the opponent a couple of cheap touchdowns thanks to turnovers by an erratic Aaron Murray, whose two interceptions put the Spartans back in the ball game.

Again, Georgia’s almost complete lack of a running game made the Dog’ offense one-dimensional. And was anyone at all surprised when Isaiah Crowell, reduced to a backup role, limped off the field after a handful of runs?

Again, placekicker Blair Walsh, once one of the nation’s premier specialists, proved himself more a liability than a weapon and ended up costing Georgia the game by missing two kicks in OT.

And again, playcaller Mike Bobo seemed incapable of adjusting to the realities of what was happening on the field and stubbornly stuck with what wasn’t working.

With the middle of the Spartan’s defensive line as solid as a brick wall, Bobo continually called for runs up the middle — often with delays that turned into tackles for loss since State was getting into the Georgia backfield so quickly. Early on, Georgia was able to have some running success on the outside, but once MSU adjusted to stop that, the Dogs basically were no threat on the ground.

To top it all off, with the Spartans continually blitzing from the corner, Bobo insisted on calling slow-developing downfield passing plays, an all too familiar scenario made even worse by Murray’s poor decision-making when pressured and Georgia’s tight ends being a nonfactor in the game.

Overall, Georgia relied too much on its big-play capability and never was able to really sustain anything offensively against the talented Spartans defense.

Typical of the day was what happened with a little over 3 and a half minutes left in regulation. Needing a first down or two to kill the clock and ice a victory, the Dogs went ultra-conservative and ultra-predictable — two hallmarks of Bobo’s career as a playcaller — by trying again in vain to run Richard Samuel up the middle.

It surprised no one, and the fact that it didn’t work didn’t surprise anyone, either.

And then the banged-up Georgia defense, which had played well most of the day, looked gassed on the Spartans’ last drive of regulation, getting no pressure on MSU QB Kirk Cousins, who cooly passed his team down the field to send it into overtime.

Just think how ugly things might have gotten had Brandon Boykin not played the game of his life in his farewell performance as a Georgia Bulldog, nailing a Spartan receiver for a safety, scoring on a thrilling 92-yard punt return that saw him reversing direction and weaving his way all over the field, and then moving over to offense to catch a touchdown pass for his third different score of the day.

He’ll be missed big-time.

So two disappointing losses bookended a Georgia season that started out 0-2.

Sure, the 10 wins between those four losses and an SEC East title is a big improvement over last season.

But, looking ahead, even though Georgia returns a lot of talent and will have another favorable schedule next year, if the problems that continually reared their head this season aren’t addressed, it’s going to be tough for Richt’s program to take the next step forward.

Got something on your mind concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

1,469 comments Add your comment

xdawg70

January 3rd, 2012
10:10 am

Big Ten has only one bowl winner (Michigan State), and SEC has only two bowl losers (UGA, Vandy). UGA and Vandy – that’s embarrassing. We were outcoached – again – and I’m still not buying Murray stock. Was the coaching staff afraid to let him throw in the last 4 minutes, when one first down wins in regulation?

evil empire

January 3rd, 2012
10:10 am

cmr approves the game plan…bobo is not the problem…just doing what he’s told…

Dogs Smell

January 3rd, 2012
10:10 am

Georgia fans take the 10 teams you beat this year and compare those to any other 10 win team and see who they beat. Next year you homers will brag on how you are going to win it all. Look at your schedule. You should win 10 just as any other school in the country would playing that one! Another reason to Hate Uga fans. You “Homers”.

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
10:12 am

I like Hutsom Mason. I want the young man to succeed. If that success comes at South Carolina then so be it. Ask me again how Aaron Murray looked and performed this season. Not in the 10 expected wins but in the four agonizing defeats! That is what truly measures a QB. :(

GATiger

January 3rd, 2012
10:12 am

I cringe at all these “fire Bobo” comments. Your problem isn’t Bobo. It isn’t even Richt. It isn’t even McGarrity. It’s Adams. Until you have an administration that will hire folks who have experience in the jobs for which they’re hired, the Dawgs will underachieve. What do McGarrity, Richt, Bobo, Grantham and Tereshinski have in common? They were hired with the expectation of proficiency and without actual prior experience in their position.

Compare those hires to, say, LSU. AD Joe Alleva – previously Duke AD.
HC Miles – previously HC at Oklahoma State.
Steve Kragthorpe – multiple OC and QB coach positions
Greg Studrawa – previously OC at Bowling Green.
Tommy Moffett – undoubedtly the best strength and conditioning coach in the conference, possibly D-1.

See a pattern here?

Also…Richt just will not learn…you run the football and keep running it to wear defenses down. Even if it doesn’t work in the first half, it pays dividends in the second.

Just Sayin'

January 3rd, 2012
10:13 am

The Ol’ Ball Coach just put 11 wins in the bank. Can’t wait to play you mutts next year.

LawDawg

January 3rd, 2012
10:15 am

Dawghater: I am not sure why you expect a monolithic opinion from the fanbase. There are a lot of people with a lot of opinions.

Oh, and anyone who thinks UGA is not going to be good in 2012 because we gave up a 3 OT game this week is too dumb to live. We won 10 games this year. Even if we had not, this is not the NFL, teams ascend and descend to a large degree from one year to the next all the time. See, e.g., Auburn, USC, Texas, OSU, Mich (about 10 times in the last 20 years).

Just Sayin'

January 3rd, 2012
10:15 am

Hutson Mason + Ol’ Ball Coach ……. now that’s a winning combination.

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
10:16 am

I refuse to base my high football expectations on just being able to defeat Tech every season! Hell, if the Dawgs only lose to Tech but win the national championship I will not lose any damn sleep over it. Let em say they were better. I flushed moral victories down toilet decades ago! Wake up Bulldog Nation. Do not accept losses to teams like Michigan State!!!!!!! :(

evil empire

January 3rd, 2012
10:17 am

gatiger, cmr is stuck in a time warp…it’s still the mid to late 90’s to him…he thinks the fsu formula still works…and he’s wrong…

Go DWAGS

January 3rd, 2012
10:17 am

Anyone else notice the players on Stanford and Oklahoma State last night? No dreads, no celebrations, they just played the game. It is the difference between winners and losers. They had discipline, the DWAGS do not. Some of that comes from the coaching staff, a lot comes from how they were raised. DWAGS need to stop going after the thugs, and start getting athletes.

LawDawg

January 3rd, 2012
10:17 am

And I have never been a Bobo hater, but anyone who does not think he is at the top of the list (followed by Aaron Murray and his weird QB ADD) of people to blame for this loss is crazy.

LawDawg

January 3rd, 2012
10:18 am

Just Sayin’ : You realize Spurrier has not actually done anything positive for a QB since 1996, right? GARCIA. He also does not care all that much about football these days. He only came back for the Augusta National membership. You have hit your apex.

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
10:18 am

Hutson Mason would have a highly successful run in South Carolina under REAL coach. Will only collect splinters in his backside in Athens. Thanks saintly one! :( Stupid *******!

Dave

January 3rd, 2012
10:19 am

Enough is enough. Bobo has got to go!! Face it, when an arm chair QB like myself can call Bobo’s next move on a regular basis, what the heck do you think a Div. 1 deffensive C-ord. is doing?? Do the right think Mark Richt, fire Bobo & find us a replacement of equal caliber to Todd Grantham!!!!

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
10:20 am

Bobo calls what Richt WANTS HIM TO CALL, UGA fans. He even wears a headset when the O is on the field. Don’t blame Bobo.

Blame our soon-to-be-Head Coach-for-5-more-seasons-@$4M per, Mark Richt.

Worth every penny . . .

evil empire

January 3rd, 2012
10:20 am

cmr wears a head set, knows the play call, approves the game plan…and its not his fault…really…

JB

January 3rd, 2012
10:20 am

Don’t believe it Insider. Richt will be back.

LawDawg

January 3rd, 2012
10:20 am

stendek: If you “flushed moral victories down the toilet decades ago”, what team were you a fan of from 1984-2002. It clearly was not UGA. Pre-Richt, UGA was a laughably terrible program, and I say this as a fan.

evil empire

January 3rd, 2012
10:21 am

hey joey…finally something we agree on…that was one of my new years resolutions!…

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
10:21 am

Bill censored my comment to you LawDog. Guess truth hurts. :(

JB

January 3rd, 2012
10:22 am

Hard to fire the OC when it’s your plays, your game plan, your over ruling on game day, your philosophy, your play book………etc

RTR22

January 3rd, 2012
10:22 am

I Crowell, THANKS for choosing UGa. Only real men play RB at Bama.

Sincerely,
Bama Nation

deandog

January 3rd, 2012
10:22 am

Dear God: Please give the dawgs at least 4 years of horrible recruits. The “dream team” players are way too difficult to coach and and God please protect CMB’s play book from the hands of the evil one (the ole ball coach) so he can continue to make losing game plans, ingorant calls and lose games. We must have that to keep us humble because of the possibility of getting better and being worshipped too much bu university officials. I pray in my own name because I am the most high. CMR

Dawg Fud

January 3rd, 2012
10:23 am

I would calssify Murray’s play at this juncture as “fair.”

He is the great equalizer. Generally solid play derailed by several monumental mistakes.

QB position has to be open in the spring.

And can we stop with the delayed, counter step BS run play. It NEVER works.

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
10:23 am

Just Sayin Idiot, and if SC had won the East, you would have one-less win. LSU would have shellacked you too.

You lost to Auburn for Heaven’s sakes . . .

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
10:24 am

Likewise Dr Evil!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

January 3rd, 2012
10:26 am

Coach Richt states……

We are “Knocking on the Door of Greatness”

Hey coach Richt you havent beaten a top 20 team in 3 years

How about shutting up and earning your OVERPAID $3 million a year salary

and beat someone decent before selling your snake oil DREAM TEAM garbage and Energy Vampire garbage and now your Knocking on the Door to Greatness garbage

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
10:27 am

I predict that the Dawgs will defeat a Top 25 team the season AFTER Saint Mark Wretch is gone! No Nostradamus needed for that gimme prediction. :)

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
10:29 am

Hi Flat Tire my friend. Better adjust that $3 mill per year to $4 mill! Losses like the one to Michigan State do not come cheap pal. Have a great one. :)

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
10:29 am

It seems the bigger the game, the worse Murray plays, especially in the second half, Dawg Fud. The play-calling coulp be part of the problem – what QB succeeds when he has to throw on 3rd and 13 (after two runs for minus 3 yds)?

No question he has single-handedly blown at least 4 winable games in two seasons.

Jennifer Granholm

January 3rd, 2012
10:30 am

Judging from most of article and responses, MSU had little to do with outcome of game.

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
10:31 am

Saint Mark Wretch is to football what Jim Jones was to religion. Talk great plan but never deliver in clutch! Wanna buy a truck? Some snakeoil tonic? Uh huh. :(

OLDGUY

January 3rd, 2012
10:31 am

It seems to me that most forget that there was another team on the field that had something to do with the outcome. We can always see what needed to be done after the fact but the game is fast moving decision are made on the fly and sometimes they don’t work. How many of you would have bet we had the game when Walsh took the field in the first overtime?

Cobb Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
10:31 am

Loyalty is often a good trait. But when you have an OC who is a liability (similar to DC Martinez), you have an obligation to your players and fans to fix it. Bobo is not ever going to get the job done on a consistent basis. It’s time to cut bait.

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
10:32 am

Hey Jennifer. Dawgs gave damn game to Michigan State. I SAID GAVE! What the Hell should we all say? Damn. :(

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
10:33 am

You are delusional OldGuy. I KNEW FG in OT would be missed. I watched EVERY Dawg snap this season. I JUST KNEW! :(

Go DWAGS

January 3rd, 2012
10:34 am

Karma strikes down the DWAGS. Anyone else remember when Todd Grantham made the choke sign to the Florida kicker? Karma truly is a b1tch, isn’t it Todd.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

January 3rd, 2012
10:35 am

Joey

Have you heard from the king of Kool-Aid Altamaha Dawg

I just cant wait to hear his kool-aid spin on this debacle

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
10:36 am

Keep Todd Grantham. Guy hates losing. As for other Dawg coaches keep…ah…hmm…give me a minute. Hell, just keep defensive guy! :)

HighHopes

January 3rd, 2012
10:37 am

Coaches will need to teach Murray to settle in pressure situations and not allow a blown play to become catastrophic. Two INT’s, yes, but way too many fumbles this year from our QB. After two starting seasons, he still has problems with securing the ball and making wise decisions under duress.

USC = Murray tied to 21 turnover points
Mich St. = Murray tied to 14

Need to coach better mental stamina.

Joey

January 3rd, 2012
10:37 am

“Knocking on the Door of Greatness,” my hind-end . . .

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

January 3rd, 2012
10:38 am

OLDGUY

Get a clue

How many Mark Richt coached games have we seen where he gets a sizeable lead then loses it or how many times have we seen a team get a big lead before Richt wakes up and starts calling plays to win because he is behind

JB

January 3rd, 2012
10:38 am

Billy Paine, a great Bulldawg is CHAIRMAN of the Augusta National, will not let Spurrier in on his watch.

Mark K.

January 3rd, 2012
10:39 am

The one thing that should be a concern for UGA fans is the fact that Richt is 10-8 in the last two seasons with “superior talent” according to CBTN. A great site that I discovered from Mark Bradley’s column a few days ago. Here ya go!

http://coachesbythenumbers.com/coach-rankings/?reportId=24

Jborodawg

January 3rd, 2012
10:39 am

Bill, I think you contradict yourself. You say Bobo stubbornly tried to run up the middle. Then you admit that MSU adjusted and stopped the outside run. One thing is for certain, the line didn’t block well enough for us to have a running game. “…tried in van to run Samuel up the middle…” If the line had blocked and created a hole, it would’ve worked. Between the tackles is basic to any running game. In the end, no running game and turnovers equals a loss. You blame Bobo, I blame the biggest line in all of football that can’t open holes.

One can just as easily cast aspersions on Grantham’s D. We’re ahead 27-20 with 6:44 to play and our D allowed MSU to march down the field and tie the score.

We had a 10 win season and went to a pretty decent bowl. The loss was very disappointing, but I think the team will learn from it.

Gooooo Dawgs!

stendek

January 3rd, 2012
10:39 am

Know how disrespect Georgia football has become? Only two teams from SEC failed to win bowl games to date. Snakebitten undermanned Vandy was one. Care to venture a guess as to who the other one was? Loser of last bowl game between two SEC powerhouses will still be winner in my book! LSU better but Saban will have boys primed in rematch. When will Dawgs play meaningful game again? Who knows! :(

OZZFEST

January 3rd, 2012
10:40 am

“FIRE BOBO”

- DECEMBER 2008
- DECEMBER 2009
- DECEMBER 2010
- JANUARY 2011

MARK RICHT IS THE SINGLE-DUMBEST COACH IN AMERICA.
WHO ELSE WATCHES THAT OFFENSIVE PLAY CALLING FROM THE FRONT ROW & CANNOT JUDGE IT TO BE A WEAKNESS.

WOW.

Cobb Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
10:41 am

Grade for UGA this season: I, for Inconsistent. And Murray led the way. When he was on, the Dawgs excelled. When he was off, there was no offense. The O-line was the same way. Why can’t the largest line in all of football knock the D-line back on short-yardage running plays?

MSU won yesterday because they wanted it more. And they were better coached.

Pago Pago Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
10:42 am

Did you notice that Stanford, Okla., Wisc., didn’t have “deadlocks”.
Have they caught the coach who recruited the great isabella.
When was UGA’s last bowl win?
Buffalo is licking their chops.
Just sayen…