Defense falters again, but thank goodness for Aaron Murray

Aaron Murray had a career night against Kentucky. (Garry Jones / AP)

Aaron Murray had a career night against Kentucky. (Garry Jones / AP)

On a night when Georgia seemed unable to stop the conference’s worst running attack for most of the game and had little success running the ball itself, quarterback Aaron Murray carried the team on his back and notched another Bulldogs victory.

Murray  gave a stellar passing display, completing 30 of 38 throws for 427 yards and four touchdowns.

Murray was masterful — he completed 15 of 19 for 243 yards in the first half — and yet the game that saw him take the Bulldogs’ career touchdown record could have been even bigger for him, with at least three passes dropped plus the QB missing a wide-open receiver on another play.

Two Georgia receivers broke the century mark, with Tavarres King catching nine passes for 188 yards and Malcolm Mitchell getting back in the offensive swing of things with nine receptions for 103 yards.

But, boy, was the rest of the game ugly for UGA.

Yes, as Mark Richt likes to point out, any SEC win is a good thing, but the Dogs’ performance Saturday against Kentucky left much that needs to be improved if Georgia is going to have any hope of keeping up with a red-hot Florida team in Jacksonville next week with the SEC East title on the line.

Helping out Murray’s success was Kentucky selling out against the run — Todd Gurley led Georgia rushers with 47 yards, while Keith Marshall and Boo Malcome had 23 yards apiece — and fielding some true freshmen in the Wildcat secondary. Murray won’t have that advantage next week facing the Gators.

The positive to take into next week, besides the showing of Murray and the eight Bulldogs who caught his passes at Commonwealth Stadium Saturday night, is the fact that the past two weeks of SEC play have worked out exactly as Georgia would have scripted it: South Carolina lost twice and the Bulldogs control their own destiny. If they beat Florida and win out, they take the SEC East again.

But that looks like a mighty tall order considering these disturbing trends: Todd Grantham’s defense had another first-half meltdown and allowed the lowly Wildcats to run for a hundred more yards than they usually get; Georgia’s own much-vaunted running game was mostly missing in action for the second consecutive game; the Dogs were flagged for eight penalties, including a couple of really stupid ones (an unnecessary late hit by Bacarri Rambo being the worst); and the Dogs’ kicking troubles continued, with one PAT missed and the field goal that gave Georgia a last-second first-half lead careening off a goal post before going through the uprights.

That’s a lot to fix in just one week.

Now, it’s your turn. What did you think of Georgia’s squeaker against the SEC’s worst team?

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or maybe a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

174 comments Add your comment

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
11:12 am

I suspect Gene Chizik will be available after this season. He was present when Auburn won their NC, so technically he has won one. And he’s very good at deflecting media inquiries about cheating

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
11:18 am

Charley Weiss will probably be ready to leave Kansas after one season. Nobody told him about K-State before he took the job. You could have a decided schematic advantage!

SSIgator

October 21st, 2012
11:18 am

Get ready for another “storm the field” moment, but this time it will be the UGA fans going after the UGA coaching staff in Jax.

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
11:19 am

Saw Ron Zook doing TV the other day. He actually is a great recruiter, but you guys already have that one covered.

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
11:21 am

@SSIgator, isn’t that really the low point that exemplifies and crystalizes everything that’s wrong with Mark Richt? Gosh, I hope they keep him around. He’s Barney Fife.

GATA

October 21st, 2012
11:23 am

Struggling to steal a win vs. a 1-6 team that played with a lot of true freshman… Will be LUCKY to stay within 5 TD’s of the Gators. This D has gotten burned deep by mediocre teams all season. Preparing for more national humiliation next Sat. And why exactly is this team ranked 11 in BCS? Does anyone think they can beat a top 20 team right now?

joe jenkins

October 21st, 2012
11:32 am

Oh well i’m glad chicken spurrier got his bleep kicked in…..i hope the chickens lose the rest of their games

OKCBulldog

October 21st, 2012
11:35 am

The reason I am not optimistic about us winning the Florida game is first of all Defense. We are terrible on the defensive side of the ball, in all phases. We cant stop the run, we dont get any pressure on anybodys quarterback, and we constantly have guys running open in ourt secondary.

Second, we have nobody on our team that can actually block and that includes the offensive line, poor technique. None of the receivers can block, Bennit was our best blocker and he is out. None of the running backs ever block the right guy and when they do it is a half effort and the rusher gets right past them anyways to sack Murray or pressure him.

Third, Special teams is attrocious. We should just choose our kicker by committee, just whoever feel like they can kick one through for us. And we shouldnt even have a punt returner.

Last, Since 2002 Georgia has held the better record coming into this game 6 times, we are 2-4.
Florida has held the better record 3 times, they have won all 3 games.
The records have been even once and we won. Twice we have come into this game undefeated and twice with just one loss, the out come 1-3. They have come into this game undefeated once and twice with one loss and the out come for them is 2-1.
So when Florida has had the most to gain by winning this game and most of the time this game is for the East they capitalize, where as we don’t, we find a way to lose.

flintriverdawg

October 21st, 2012
11:44 am

anybody besides me notice the demeanor and nonpulsed attitude of the entire sidelines between plays. both coaches, players,and staff… it was a shocking take of cluelessness, lack of passion and urgency, and shock……….never seen it so pronounced…… something IS way wrong with this picture………….

STUDENT ATHLETE

October 21st, 2012
11:53 am

OPEN LETTER TO ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: Please concede the game next week. We do not need to have televised another national humiliation of the University of Georgia Football Program. Please do not consider another assistant for Richt’s replacement. We need someone with national credibility who has run a national championship program. Start your talks with Jim Tressel. Before he ends up at Auburn or Tennessee.

BEB

October 21st, 2012
11:58 am

I have been a Georgia Fan all my life and I’m 77 Years old but I am convinced that we will never win a National Championship with the current coaching staff. CMR would make a great preacher, a missionary but he will never be a great coach in the SEC. If we ever hope to win division titles with CMR then we better switch to the ACC. I will not watch Fla. Ga game.Infact I may not watch another GEORGIA game until they show me we can beat teams in the top 10.

wreckmaniac

October 21st, 2012
11:58 am

Where was Gershal ? Did he miss the bus ? Studying for a physics test ? Attending a siamese twin convention ?
Has Gershal been suspended ?

wreckmaniac

October 21st, 2012
12:01 pm

This was obviously a rope-a-dope game plan by CMR and Bobo. Next week, we’ll see the real stuff. Gurshell is being kept under wraps until the FL game. Those ole sly devils.

wins-by-a-link

October 21st, 2012
12:20 pm

The truth will always win out, Coach Richt with the present staff he has cannot beat a top ten rated team, I challenge anyone to disprove this statement.

Snoop Dawg

October 21st, 2012
12:27 pm

Ole Murray really lit em up last night, huh? NOT!

He can really run the stats up against the patsies of the world. Unfortunately, the record setting UGA passer hasn’t BEAT A SINGLE RANKED TEAM IN THIS NOW HIS THIRD YEAR!

He’s a loser, just like his team and his coach.

Roll up those stats, Aaron… See you in the Chick-fil-A bowl if you’re lucky…

Dawg gone

October 21st, 2012
12:28 pm

The Dawgs are sick, and not in a good way. When our quarterback plays one of his best games of his career and the team barely beats a 1-7 opponent over whom they were favored by four touchdowns, then we have real problems. It’s time to seriously re-examine the program and the leadership.

Dawg gone

October 21st, 2012
12:30 pm

No doubt we will finish with a good record yet again, and we may even make it to Atlanta, but once again CMR and his staff have underachieved and will have failed to meet expaectations.

Snoop Dawg

October 21st, 2012
12:30 pm

Isn’t the quarterback supposed to be the leader of the team?

oakwood dawg

October 21st, 2012
12:31 pm

unbelievable–FIRE MARK RICHT–the gaytors will destroy us and it won’t surprise me if Auburn and Ga tech beat us. We have great talent? and play like we did last night. If Murray had been hurt and unable to play we would have lost game against the worst team in the SEC. FIRE MARK RICHT.

Dawg gone

October 21st, 2012
12:32 pm

If you want to keep CMR, then you want UGA to be consistently good. But if you want UGA to achieve greatness then you must accept that it is time for CMR to go.

Dawg gone

October 21st, 2012
12:34 pm

Yeah, CMR’s a good guy. Yeah, Murray’s a good guy with great stats. Yeah, we can’t beat ranked opposition. Yeah, the SEC is loaded with ranked opposition. Fire CMR?….Hell Yeah!

UA Grad

October 21st, 2012
12:36 pm

If Ga wins it will have to be in the trenches and a 200+ rushing effort. Murray will get killed if they attempt 30 passes. Punch them in the middle of the D line over and over and over. Ga’s only hope is for the O line to step up and lean on them. Ga has to start being physical again. They won’t win in the air unless it is play-action.

But, it sure was nice to see Spurrier lose huh?

Dawg gone

October 21st, 2012
12:37 pm

After barely beating UK, with the help of a record-setting QB and a running-into-the-punter call, the only impediment to retiring Richt is finding a better replacement to win championships and win over the fanbase. After the season we should be looking at Oregon State’s coach, TCU’s coach, and perhaps Kirby Smart over at Bama. They’ve all proven they can win.

Dawg gone

October 21st, 2012
12:38 pm

Florida will be a fiasco.

Dawg Tired

October 21st, 2012
12:52 pm

Rambo needs to be sent to the kitchen so he can cook more brownies.

Consider This

October 21st, 2012
12:52 pm

Thank God our punter took those ballet and acting lessons in the off-season. That’s the only thing that saved us.

Dawg Tired

October 21st, 2012
12:54 pm

You gotta admit one thing: Our QB is the best in the world against really bad teams. Otherwise, not so much.

01HAWK

October 21st, 2012
12:58 pm

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
10:51 am
Saban and Muschamp use a profiling system for recruits that includes character. They would never have even offered Isaiah Crowell a scholarship. Richt, on the other hand, slobbered all over the kid and basically promised him a starting job as a freshman.

SABAN did offer CROWELL A scholly. His MOM wanted him to go to BAMA.

CROWELL be be playing on SUNDAYS in the NFL very soon.

Dawg Tired

October 21st, 2012
1:02 pm

01Hawk – Even the NFL will suspend someone as stupid as Crowell when he gets caught with a gun in a NY night club at 2:30 in the morning. Believe me, the kid is absolutely clueless.

Dawg89

October 21st, 2012
1:12 pm

Bill, do you have any idea what was wrong with the trick punt play? It looked good to me. I can’t believe they wasted it on Kentucky.

Bill

October 21st, 2012
1:19 pm

F-I-R-E G-R-A-N-T-H-A-M!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE. He is killing our program.

Nick Saban

October 21st, 2012
1:22 pm

@01HAWK

Let’s get one thing clear, a’ight?

Making contact with a recruit does not equal offering a scholarship.

Toccoa

October 21st, 2012
1:44 pm

Why is it that players do pretty good at georgia and go to the NFL and dominate. AJ Green, Gino Atkins, ect. Green i s averaging over 100 yards per game. Atkins has 6 sacks. It has to do with coaching, PERIOD! Georgia has the players.

Return to Glory

October 21st, 2012
1:50 pm

Memo to UGA, win next week, period, tired of excuses and what ifs.
Beat Florida or shut up and admit you can’t get the job done resign and let someone else get a shot at getting the job done.

Texas Dawg

October 21st, 2012
1:51 pm

@Neutral……you validated my point that the QB’s at Fl and Bama pad thier stats against weaker teams……….THE BIG difference is that those other QB’s beat team that have winning records and that are ranked……Murry is what like 0-14 against teams that finish ranked in the top 20????????????

My point meathead is that I could care less about him setting records………I want to see him beat a team when it matters….like FLA this weekend…….your to stupid to get my point!

Johhny Bow Wow

October 21st, 2012
2:33 pm

I’d like to think Spurrier is licking his wounds but I know that before he goes to bed tonight he will spend an hour plotting plays for next year’s Georgia game.

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
2:47 pm

@Toccoa, because this isn’t NBA basketball. It’s actually a team sport with three different phases.

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
2:51 pm

@01HAWK, Getting a letter or taking a visit isn’t a formal offer. And Crowell’s bird legs don’t fit the Bama running back profile anyway. Every Bama running back is relatively short with tree trunk thighs.

wreckmaniac

October 21st, 2012
3:02 pm

Regarding Murray, you can also consider Logan Thomas, the QB at Va Tech. Thomas will go first round this year but his team stinks.

The Genius

October 21st, 2012
3:04 pm

For the .last two games, Georgia played teams that apparently would not even exist if not for players from the state of Georgia NEVERLESS, if a team is championship calibre, they rise above and play with determination and emotion. Neither happened in these two games. ‘Nuff said. WHERE is the LEADERSHIP??????????????????????????

The CRITIQUER

October 21st, 2012
3:11 pm

I’m pretty sure Spurilous threw the game yesterday so FL could win the East. How could you really want to beat your alma mater? Besides, South Carolina is still South Carolina even though they should be called East Georgia since SC HS football is vastly inferior.

The Leader

October 21st, 2012
3:17 pm

Looking for some five star leaders.

Not a coach but have some questions

October 21st, 2012
3:18 pm

Bill I know that it is very late to make comments that you may read, but incase you do, I would like to get your take on a few observations I have had the last few years. The Dawg defense doesn’t jam the receivers and harras them on a regular basis to throw them off of their routes. It seems to me that at some point it is important to take the offense out of their rythem.

Richt keeps blaming the failures of the defense on not taking the proper lanes and so on. Last night I saw a weak Kentucky team (by their own standards from past teams) take control of the line of scrimage and run over the Dawg defense!

I also find it hard to believe that we can’t execute the fundamentals of lining up for plays such as the fake punt last night as well as many other sloppy plays midway through the season. I blame all of this on Richt. He seems to be sleep walking the Dawgs right out of contention of the SEC each year.

The Truth

October 21st, 2012
3:20 pm

With the speed of Todd Gurley and Nick Marshall (Gurshall), why does Bobo continue to run them off tackle? That’s what the fullback is for. It makes no sense to me. He should be running sweeps, maybe some options. Granted Murray isn’t the fastest QB in the world, but surely he can make a pitch. The whole running game to me needs an overhaul or Fire Bobo.

and That’s The Truth

NC Dawg

October 21st, 2012
3:24 pm

Peek from the post game transcript next week…

Richt: We played a very good football team today. We made some mistakes and they capitalized. We still have football left to play and anything can happen. Congratulations to coach Muscrat and his team. We got whipped. We’ll look at the tapes, learn from our mistakes, and get ready for Ole Miss. (Smiles)”

Thanks Coach Richt, but I am out of antacid…and patience. The talent is there…the coaching is not.

icedawg

October 21st, 2012
3:46 pm

Another under performance. If the DAWGS remain consistent, then next weekend will be a debacle in Jacksonville.

TCity

October 21st, 2012
3:57 pm

Murray plays great against losing teams, got to give him that.

Enough already!

October 21st, 2012
3:57 pm

What’s it gonna take for the powers that be to finally decide that our coaching staff is not capable of coaching players up??? In fact, I think great recruits become only good players at UGA. I think the coaching staff, starting with the head coach, ends up turning high school overachievers into college level underperformers.

If I’m in high school, I’d think long and hard about committing to our program right now. And I’m a proud UGA grad, so this really pains me to say this.

Slim Shady

October 21st, 2012
4:06 pm

I don’t understand how our defense can be one of the best last year and one of the worst this year with essentially the same players (9 of 11 returning starters) playing the same teams. I am the biggest UGA homer but….

Whiznot

October 21st, 2012
4:34 pm

Please bench Rambo The Clown.