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?

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

174 comments Add your comment

Dawg4Life

October 21st, 2012
5:11 pm

This is gone on long enough with the PAT fiasco’s. This is just like when Richt was too loyal to Martinez and waited. I would be willing to bet UGA has a soccer player that could kick PAT’s better than what we have. I am really tired of hearing the defensive excuses “communication, did not execute, will clean that up”. Let’s face it Grantham’s success last year was on a lesser schedule. Every quality team they faced they lost. The numbers don’t lie.

PigIron

October 21st, 2012
5:38 pm

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….”

You haven’t actually played the same teams. Not only because your schedule has been significantly different, but because last year’s teams simply aren’t playing this year.

Voyager Dawg

October 21st, 2012
5:40 pm

I thought Coach Richt smiling and laughing as he came off the field just two points ahead of lowly KY shows a lot about this coaching staff. He should have been embarrassed and upset about the way the team played, especially the defense. l said last week that the announcers of this game would be talking about all of the firsts for this KY team, first score on their initial drive, first score in the first quarter, the first time they ran for the number of yards in the first half (they beat their average for the year) etc., etc. Same old story, different opposing team. I will always root for the Dawgs, but the Gators and their coaching staff look like they really want it. They have been very business like, not laughing and yucking it up when they don’t perform. Don’t expect a change in philosophy this week unfortunately.

UGA Historian

October 21st, 2012
5:41 pm

Gators love to come on GA article blogs and show their superior intelligence and explain how to win sec and national championships. Correct me if I am wrong but UF has won 2 NCs and 2 SECs in Mark Richt’s 12 year era. UF would be 0-for 12 without Tim Tebow.

I think most GA fans have little confidence in winning at the highest level with CMR, even with superior talent. I would love nothing more than being shocked with a victory in Jacksonville. Heck, I would just love to see us play a physical game. Please prove me wrong!

New HC needed

October 21st, 2012
5:44 pm

If CMR was going to get fired this game should be the game that makes it happened. If they would have lost it would have been lights out.
It will not matter that UF will beat us by four td’s. CMR will still be coaching next year. Such a huge difference between how UF is playing and how UGA is playing. UGA even has more talent.
At UGA its almost like Obama, he had his shot. It did not work so now its time to give someone else a shot. We have gone as fat as we can with him.

PigIron

October 21st, 2012
6:51 pm

I dunno… I think CMR is much more like W than Obama.

Volares Sántimo

October 21st, 2012
6:57 pm

Florida 63, Georgia 10

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
7:27 pm

@UGA Historian… UF would be 0-12 without Tim Tebow. What kind of idiotic statement is that? UGA would have been 0 for something else without Herschel Walker. And the British would have lost if Napoleon had a B-2 bomber at Waterloo.

And it’s cute that you failed to say three NCs for the Gators since 1996.

Neutral

October 21st, 2012
7:41 pm

Volares,
I left you a $100,000 bet on another site when you made your SAME confident prediction. I’m on smart ass …just let me know if you want a piece of the action. In fact, I’m only holding you to a 43 point difference you idiot. I always like a sucker….especially an obnoxious one. Let me know if you are in pal and you have a deal.

Neutral

October 21st, 2012
7:52 pm

Many bloggers on this site wanted to bench Murray. If you had your way we would be 5-2 or worse. Fact my friends, fact!!!

ncdawg90

October 21st, 2012
7:54 pm

My strategy: don’t watch it. I remember giving up on the ‘06 team that had almost lost to a terrible Miss St team, and the next week they smoked a top 5 Auburn team on the Plains.

I gave up on this team in the 4th qtr of the UT game.

Neutral

October 21st, 2012
7:55 pm

Question for the negative bloggers:

If UGa sucks because they have a 6-1 record against teams with a losing record then why doesn’t Bama also suck with a 6-0 record against teams with a losing record? Just asking meatheads…just asking!!!!

ncdawg90

October 21st, 2012
7:57 pm

Neutral – Look what Bama did to UT in Neyland last night, then compare UGA v. UT in Athens. If Tyler Bray had a halfway decent game, we lost by two TDs, easy.

Neutral

October 21st, 2012
7:57 pm

@ncDawg90
Actually I think I agree…..the Dawgs do better if I don’t watch…..seriously (I’m not kidding)

Neutral

October 21st, 2012
8:00 pm

Actually, I thought UT gave the game away. Did you see the 2 interceptions that Bama did absolutely nothing to deserve? I don’t have a clue as to what Bray was doing.

ncdawg90

October 21st, 2012
8:02 pm

I was a CMR lover for many a year, defending him during the Joe Cox year and 6-7, too. But I’m done with him. Simply doesn’t have the fire in his belly like OBC, Saban, Miles, Muschamp, etc. Just think what a James Franklin could do with our team? A Dan Mullen of Charlie Strong?

Heck, Duke is 6-1!!!! Being a great guy makes CMR a better husband, father, friend, etc., but he’s taken us a far as he can take us. Period. No sense making it uglier than it needs to be. Retire, Mark, please retire.

Neutral

October 21st, 2012
8:08 pm

NCDawg90
I think there is a great chance that TN will beat SC this weekend. UT has a great….if not the best OL in the SEC…..especially protecting Bray (mediocre with rushing). UT has the best receivers in the SEC. SC has one of the worst secondaries in the SEC. And, most importantly, UT needs to win to have an outside chance at a winning season and a bowl game…….and SC is coming off UGa, LSU and FL…..not to mention they are out of the play-offs. They have to be flatter than flat, exhausted and going against a team that matches up perfectly against their strengths and weaknesses. Take it to the bank…..SC will lose 3 in a row.

Neutral

October 21st, 2012
8:11 pm

Thanks NC Dawg for not saying Petrino or Kirby Smart!!!!

GatorsWaiting

October 21st, 2012
8:32 pm

You Dawg fans are clearly frustrated about that SC loss. SC has flaws, but they are a good team. Clowney is in fact un uncontrollable monster. Your coaching staff can be faulted for not making any meaningful adjustments at halftime.

SC will beat Tennessee because the Vols will not have time to throw downfield. If Bray attempt one deep pass too many, Clowney will break him in half.

And @Volares is a bit too exhuberant about the Gators v. Dawgs. I don’t see us scoring beyond the 30s unless the Dawgs implode with turnovers like SC did, because Muschamp’s preference will be to eat up the clock running the ball. As long as the Dawgs don’t implode, I expect something like 31-17, with the Dawgs scoring two touchdowns in the first half.

WalterEgo

October 21st, 2012
8:35 pm

Any team that relies on Aaron Murray to do remotely this much will get pummeled by the SCs, UFs, LSU’s, and Bama’s of the league.

If Bobo can’t call running or screen plays that take advantage of our backs’ abilities, we’re doomed when we play a winning team defense who makes Aaron look small and weak, lost and fidgety behind a collapsing pocket.

Neutral

October 21st, 2012
8:51 pm

Bama couldn’t get any pressure on Bray and I think SC will do no better. Bama has a great secondary…..SC’s sucks. UT’s OL is the best in SEC (neither UGa or Bama could not touch the QB). UT has incredible receivers, best in SEC…..wish we had been able to get Cordierrelle (sp). UT wins in what many (except me) will call an upset. Probably by a score of something like 35-28….no make that 42-28…..or maybe it is 28-17….or, OK, I think it will be 7-10 points. SC is dead and has hung it up for the season!!!

PigIron

October 21st, 2012
10:24 pm

Bama got plenty of pressure on Bray. He’s just good at dumping the ball to avoid a sack. He didn’t always avoid getting hit.

tcdawg

October 22nd, 2012
9:26 am

AM played as well as he has this year. I woud give my gameball to Conner Norman for being what seemed to be the only player on the “hands” KR team to actually pay attention to the KO!! Better job Conner Norman!

GaDave

October 22nd, 2012
12:30 pm

Well, the good thing is that a Georgia alum is the head coach when the Gators once again cleans UGA’s clock.