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.

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

1,469 comments Add your comment

Go DWAGS

January 3rd, 2012
5:32 pm

Go DWAGS, sic m, wuf, wuf, wuf

BIGBOY

January 3rd, 2012
6:10 pm

It would help if the the D didn’t fold like a cheap tent everytime we face a good team too.Grantham get’s a lot of love for throttling sub par teams…his performance against teams with 7 wins or more leaves a lot to be desired.

LogicalUS

January 3rd, 2012
6:44 pm

“Grantham get’s a lot of love for throttling sub par teams…his performance against teams with 7 wins or more leaves a lot to be desired.”

Boy you are dancing with the devil…that is not allowed…UGA fans have anointed Grantham as beyond criticism.

It is simply not premitted to point out that in the games against superior teams he as often as not has blown as much as Bobo. Forget not that for a trip by the punter against Vandy, Grantham would be the biggest goat on the staff.

In reality, perhaps it would have been best that the punter had missed, Vandy hadscored and the real class of the East, SC, would have gone to the SECCG.

It would have allowed UGA to make the necessary changes instead the ball is getting punted down the road a couple of years.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
6:47 pm

Still

You still here?

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
6:51 pm

YES I chack back ever so othen

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
6:56 pm

Turn to CBSSN

High school all American game on.
It’s good

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
7:01 pm

GT plays the fighting Harvey Updykes in BBall at 9 tonight on ESPNU at 9

Warbob Dawg

January 3rd, 2012
7:15 pm

Very low…Oregon, Florida, South Carolina and Houston beat the Big 10 in decent bowl games. GA joins Western Michigan (Mid-AM) and the ultimate loser UCLA as the lowest of all to lose to that conference. At least Richt and Bobo learned to play the Big 10 type of game in the 4th and OT. Sure it will work about the same in the future.

SWFLDAWG

January 3rd, 2012
7:22 pm

150 for tickets, 25 for parking,20 for gas, 7 dollars a beer, 7 dollar hot dogs, 35 for a T shirt and Walsh misses the kick. Priceless

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
7:23 pm

Do high school coaches not teach defenseive players to wrap up any more?
Watching the high school all American game it’s pathetic.

Dawg 02

January 3rd, 2012
7:31 pm

The defense should not take any slack for this game. Our offense fails to put teams away when our defense plays lights out in the first half. When the offense cannot sustain drives and continually puts the defense back on the field it is only a matter of time before a decent team begins to move the ball. Aaron Murray is proving to be a big game choke machine and BoBo cannot call a game against a decent Defense. We have the largest offensive line in football, including the NFL, and we cannot run block. Where did Malcome go? Why was Thomas in the game? Why didn’t we try to get a first down? Why didn’t we try to win with 30 seconds left? Why did we play for a long field goal? Our defense was one of the best in the country and no one should accuse them of folding.

SatillaDawg

January 3rd, 2012
7:33 pm

booboo needs to go. Richt please call your own plays again!!!!!

D Choked

January 3rd, 2012
7:34 pm

grantham’s d pulled a big choke when they let mich state drive 85 yards for the tying TD—grantham should not get a bowl bonus for that bad game (33 points is embarrassing).

DAWG with two bags back over head

January 3rd, 2012
7:34 pm

Wrapping up interferes with the dreads and takes away from the post tackle dance moves.

boots

January 3rd, 2012
7:34 pm

Bill, I agree. However, CMR has shown a willingness to change. I hope he continues to have some self-awareness and be willing to modify the team’s approach. If so, 2012 could be a great year. We are better off than we were two years ago & better off than last year, so I hope we can say the same this time next year.

Dawgs > Ga Tech

January 3rd, 2012
7:36 pm

Ga will not be winning any titles, but at least they will be beating ga tech for the next few years. Tech can’t compete with Ga’s athletes—look for more beatdowns! Ga owns the state!

Dawg 02

January 3rd, 2012
7:39 pm

D Choked

That was a right after multiple short drives from our offense. If you leave the D on the field they will get worn down and the offense will start moving, its football.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
7:41 pm

48 I don’t have that channel, but NObody tackles much anymore. D players hit the guy and hope to knock him down.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
7:43 pm

Still

I wonder if all those 7 on 7 camps have any thing to do with it?
UGA’s new kicker is playing in this game. Good leg.

bardawg

January 3rd, 2012
7:44 pm

I most whole-heartedly agree with everything you said Bill, You nailed it. Bobo was a fine quarterback’s coach, but the boy is in way over his head as our OC. I’ve heard that his In-laws are too well conected for any sort of position change on the coaching staff to happen. Surely if they’re as big of Dawg supporters as I’ve heard , maybe they’ll do the right thing and encourage their son-in-law to resign his position. We can only hope that for the future of our program he does the right thing.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
7:49 pm

Puff daddy boy is playing in this game.c

Coffee Bluff DAWG

January 3rd, 2012
7:49 pm

Don’t know whether UGA is not deep enough on D or just need to get in better 2nd half shape. 30 pts should have been enough to beat MSU.

The 2nd half was eerily similar to the 2nd half vs LSU – no O and a fast fading D.

uga goon

January 3rd, 2012
7:56 pm

Its no mystery. Georgia has the talent, strenth, speed, and athletes. however if u dont use them they will be no good. Bobo should’ve been fired with the rest of the staff. If UGA dont get another offensive coordinator they better just lay it down and wait another year. UGA has the best TE’S and a good core of recievers. quit callin plays that dont work…tooo predictable…run middle then playaction

Dawg 02

January 3rd, 2012
7:58 pm

Michigan State had 13 possessions in regulation The D forced 8 punts and 2 interceptions. The problem was our inept offense kept giving them the ball back, and they had a defensive touchdown off a Murray gift.

Coffee Bluff DAWG

January 3rd, 2012
7:59 pm

Where was Orsen Charles? Our best underclassman NFL prospect and we don’t throw to him 1 time?

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
8:00 pm

Bobo calls the same plays that have always worked for him.
Make a few passes then drive it hard up the middle.
Those plays got him his wife then they got him 5 kids.
LOL

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
8:04 pm

I liked the VT offensive highlight real against GT….. Lol

Sorry still…..

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
8:06 pm

24 min to the “brown” sugar bowl!

Sideline Dude

January 3rd, 2012
8:07 pm

And Mark Rich thought his job was safe. C’mon Man! UGA is an SEC second-tier team, Rich is a second-tier coach & BooBoo ain’t even in the league when it comes to being an Offensive Coordinator. It’s time to clean house in Athens & bring in a coach & staff that can win consistently. It’ll never happen with Rich & BooBoo.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
8:07 pm

Funny I have been telling you dawgs for 2 years Murray isn’t that great. Everybody said I was crazy and kept bring up his STATS. Well, it seems now some of you dawgs are coming around. Richt picks a QB and rides him to the end. it stems from Richt sitting behind Jim Kelly at Miami I think.
I hope Mason leaves and get a REAL Shot at playing.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
8:07 pm

Oops highlight reel….

Don’t bust me still…..lol

Clearwater DAWG cheerleader

January 3rd, 2012
8:10 pm

Bill, you’re on the money. There need be no second thoughts. This is just Richt football. He is a turtle plodding through life disdainful of change. He never would have thrown out Willie M. had not Evans forced him to do so. Unfortunately, there is no Evans around. McGarity lacks the cajones to go to Richt and say: “Get an experienced OC. The check’s blank. Make Bobo your QB coach.”

CMR will not make a change unless he is forced to do so. He is rock-headed and can’t be flexible.

This is nothing new. It has been going on for a loooong time now.

I favor getting rid of Richt too. Even Buck lays the blame on him. Now if company-man Belue says it, it must be true.

Whether he cans Bobo or not is probably irrelevant because we have a cup cake schedule again. (How could any ticket holder feel anything except being fleeced to pay to see Buffalo, Florida International, Georgia Southern and Tech.

Nothing can be done about the SEC schedule. It is what it is.

Sowe win the SEC ED again and fail in the CG. . . again. People will be furious and they should be. The schedule requires a strong stomach with a reasonable expectation that the CG will be a killer. Exit CMR.

Oh I know he is a fine man, a religious man. But we already have a team chaplain. What we needs is a head coach!

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
8:11 pm

Sideline Dude
January 3rd, 2012
8:07 pm

It’s time to clean house in Athens & bring in a coach & staff that can win consistently. It’ll never happen with Rich & BooBoo.

You must be S.T.U.P.I.D. Richt has won consistantly since he has been at UGA. He just will never the the Top. He is the Dale Earnhardt Jr. of College Football Coaching

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
8:13 pm

I don’t think he is as bad as jr. Maybe like a Carl Edwards…

Jr can’t even win a race

smart dawg

January 3rd, 2012
8:13 pm

I bought a new Ford truck today. Just kidding.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
8:16 pm

I favor getting rid of Richt too. Even Buck lays the blame on him. Now if company-man Belue says it, it must be true.

Lol I just WET my pants…..
Dude you get TWO thumbs down!

chipper

January 3rd, 2012
8:25 pm

I finally got perspective on that game. The second best team in the Big 10 beat the fifth best team in the SEC. Why wasn’t MSU in the Sugar Bowl instead of Big Blue? Why is VaTech there? They lost twice to Clemson? There was a mad rush from the media to get blessed Blue back in the BCS. Anywhere. Mich. State should have played Arkie in NO in the Sugar and GA should have played Nebraska in Outback. Mich. should have been in Outback against uSC. VaTech should have been somewhere in a mid-level bowl.

phil

January 3rd, 2012
8:25 pm

chipper

January 3rd, 2012
8:28 pm

And yes. Mike Bobo has to go. We won’t be better until we have a good offensive coord. Paul Chryst?

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
8:31 pm

Chipper you haven’t been watching NCAA football long have you? ESPN has Huge contracts with the SEC and ACC and make the match-up how they want them.

phil

January 3rd, 2012
8:31 pm

The good news is that we hung with MSU.

A true NC type team.

That was a joke.

phil

January 3rd, 2012
8:32 pm

ESPN would never try to meddle.

It just covers the games with objectivity and no interference….

Lol

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
8:32 pm

Lloyd Carr????????????????

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
8:33 pm

Phil

It’s called the ESPNCAA now.

Lol

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
8:35 pm

The Starting Center better get back in the GAME fast

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
8:36 pm

FUMBLE……….another FUMBLE

UncleBenny

January 3rd, 2012
8:36 pm

Frankly, I’m getting sick of hearing about what a religious man CMR is. Who gives a crap? He’s not being paid millions to talk to God, he’s being paid to win football games. Which is now only happening against teams that suck.

Yes, Bobo has to go, but CMR needs to go, too. He has no fire, and Bobo is either calling plays that CMR approves or CMR is overriding him and doing at least as badly. Georgia football has become a disgrace and an embarrassment.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
8:37 pm

Fly Sweep got swatted

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
8:39 pm

WOW hit in the backfield and still go the 1st down

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
8:41 pm

Still

Did you here that Monica Lewinsky is voting republican this year?