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

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
9:47 pm

48 Gregory has to work but I like him.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
9:47 pm

Wow, how fast can a game change!

smart dawg

January 3rd, 2012
9:47 pm

After the kickoff return, re-read my previous post.

BIGBOY

January 3rd, 2012
9:47 pm

The Hawks are better than I thought they would be

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
9:48 pm

Fumble and VT is in bad shape

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
9:49 pm

BIGBOY

I think so too.
I think he is soft, but I do think he gets hurt not a fake.

smart dawg

January 3rd, 2012
9:50 pm

Bigboy, I heard croWELL was wearing a green “don’t hit me” jersey.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
9:52 pm

Is it better to be lucky or good?
Or do you have to be good to get lucky?

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
9:53 pm

VT has missed on a LOT of possible INTs

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
9:54 pm

10 points in 49 seconds.

smart dawg

January 3rd, 2012
9:55 pm

48, Luck seems to find you when you’re good. At least it appears that way to your foes.

chazzo

January 3rd, 2012
9:56 pm

Conservative play calling kills. If you aren’t playing to win, you’re playing to lose.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
9:56 pm

Bear said Luck follows Speed.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
9:57 pm

Smart

That’s the way I see it.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
9:58 pm

Still,when was the last time you got lucky? Lol

Pago Pago DAWG

January 3rd, 2012
10:00 pm

Did we hear that isabella filed his NFL early out forms?

chipper

January 3rd, 2012
10:00 pm

This is the sugar dish, not the Sugar Bowl. Lousy football. Brady Hoke looks stunned. I think he wants to ask for directions.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:02 pm

Chipper

It’s the “brown” sugar bowl!
DooDoo brown!

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:03 pm

Still,did you here back from chip towers yet?

DoginDesert

January 3rd, 2012
10:04 pm

Bobo, Bobo, Bobo, if he returns, we will never make it to the next level. The absolute worst D1 offensive coach. He repeatedly makes our program look overrated and now ESPN and everyone else in the conference agrees. McGarity needs to force this change and get Richt off the hook. Look at what a DC looks like and hire the same on the other side of the ball. I will just blame Murray’s lack of arm strength on Bobo too but I am concerned. Additionallhy, I am glad Walsh is gone. Hard to believe he is the SEC career points leader. My last point is how are two place kickers under Bobo’s offenese 1 – 2 in career points. WE DONT SCORE TOUCHDOWNS!!!!! Please replace him and all Dawg Fans need to wake up and get in alignment on this one.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
10:09 pm

48 now word from Chip yet.

BulldogsRock

January 3rd, 2012
10:26 pm

Why in the heck is there not an SEC team in the Sugar Bowl?? Va Tech and Michigan???? How boring? SC or maybe Arkansas should be there.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:26 pm

Got the pick that time! Been flirting with it all game long!

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:28 pm

BR

Cause only two teams from one conference can go to BSC bowls.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
10:30 pm

BR & again ESPN has huge contracts with the ACC & SEC so they are spreading that money around.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:30 pm

Well scratch that it was incomplete

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
10:31 pm

WOW just reached up and grabbed that ball out of the QBs hand

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:31 pm

Michigan is winning the game but VT is beating them on the field.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:32 pm

Wow, bad throw!

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
10:32 pm

48 that one wasn’t.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
10:35 pm

This is WHY the bowl games need to be played sooner. both teams look sloppy. That was interference on both players.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:36 pm

Still

I agree sloppy

Big Wally

January 3rd, 2012
10:37 pm

Aaron Murray is the Tony Romo of college football. Makes the wrong decision or makes a bad turnover in every big game.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:38 pm

chipper

January 3rd, 2012
10:39 pm

Okay, at this point I would have settled to watch Houston and Boise in the Sugar Bowl.

chipper

January 3rd, 2012
10:40 pm

Case and Kellen on one field.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
10:41 pm

tech must be shooting 30%

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:42 pm

If there is a team that got screwed out of a bowl it would be Boise st.
But the fans don’t travel well.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
10:46 pm

48 but Boise only play UGA LOL it ain’t like 52 & 3 in 4 years is a big deal.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:48 pm

They only brought like 9000 to ATL correct?

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
10:48 pm

This FG kicking can’t cut it.

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:50 pm

48, keeping them in the game!

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:52 pm

Lol that kid had to take a greyhound back to Blacksburg!

Dawg48

January 3rd, 2012
10:54 pm

Still I’m out buddy, see ya.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

January 3rd, 2012
10:55 pm

it is bed time for sure

smart dawg

January 3rd, 2012
11:00 pm

Boise, Peterson agree on new 5 year contract.

Pago Pago DAWG

January 3rd, 2012
11:07 pm

Do you people actually think the BYU coach want to coach “dead locks, hip-hop, slap dancers”???…come on…..

smart dawg

January 3rd, 2012
11:11 pm

Pago, I can’t think of any top level coach who would tolerate any of that. Remember the recent sideline scene when Richt was upset with croWell, and he turned his back on the coach and walked away?

#1 Isaiah Getwell

January 3rd, 2012
11:20 pm

If you challenge your biggest offensive line in all of football to go for it on 4th and 1 inside the ten in the first half and it don’t work for ya, why in the $@#* are you trying it in the fourth to ice the victory BOBO?????????

mark

January 3rd, 2012
11:32 pm

GET RID OF BOBO