What will it take for the Bulldogs to beat Bama?

Aaron Murray's play is seen as a key for Georgia's chances against Alabama. (Associated Press)

Aaron Murray's play is seen as a key for Georgia's chances against Alabama. (Associated Press)

Considering the awe-inspiring track record the Crimson Tide brings into the Georgia Dome Saturday and Georgia’s spotty record against Top 10 teams, UGA fans appear to be remarkably optimistic about the Bulldogs’ chances of pulling out a victory and heading to the BCS title game.

At least, that’s the feedback I’ve gotten from readers on the Junkyard Blawg’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

This isn’t blind fan loyalty, mind you. As with others in the Bulldog Nation I’ve heard from this week, these UGA backers say Mark Richt’s Dogs need to play their best game of the season and come out firing on all cylinders in order to have a chance of upsetting Nick Saban’s mighty Tide.

Asked what are the keys to a Georgia win in the SEC Championship game, the fans on Facebook and Twitter are pretty unanimous that the two biggest factors will be how the offensive line and quarterback Aaron Murray play.

As Wesley Wynn put it, “QB is the key. Murray has got to play lights out.”

“I think it comes down to Murray’s decision making,” said James Burdette. “If he makes smart plays, we win.”

Many fans think the Dogs' chances ride on how well the offensive line does against the Tide defense. (University of Georgia)

Many fans think the Dogs' chances ride on how well the offensive line does against the Tide defense. (University of Georgia)

Charles Smith, Scott Lowery, Danny Plunkett and Dustin Newton agreed it’s all about Georgia’s offensive line. How they play against Bama’s front seven “will decide the whole game,” Newton said.

Add a strong defensive showing to that, said Joel Free, who likes Georgia’s chances “if the Bulldogs defense controls the game and if Murray avoids turnovers.”

Seth Miller also thinks the Georgia defense will be the key in terms of take-aways. “Turnovers generated by Jarvis [Jones], [Jordan] Jenkins, [Baccari] Rambo and [Alec] Ogletree.

A fast start is a key for the Dogs, Jonathan Smith said. “They have to come out the gate blasting and earn an early lead, then keep the offense humming so Alabama can’t catch up. The key is the o-line making holes and protecting Murray long enough for him to make an intelligent pass.”

Ew Fleming agreed that the Dogs need to get off to a fast start against the Tide. “You can’t take a quarter to get up to speed against Bama.”

“Murray has to play great and remain in the pocket!” Brian Saul said. “O-line must step up! If so we win!”

“It all starts with the OL,” Justin Adams said. “If we don’t block, we’ll lose. Gotta start fast. Not worried about the D. They’ll show up.”

Fans think Todd Gurley should play a big role in a Georgia win over Bama. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Fans think Todd Gurley should play a big role in a Georgia win over Bama. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Christopher Rust thinks Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo needs to “take some chances. Run more screen plays to Gurshall and throw some trick plays in the mix. Bobo has to open it ALL THE WAY up! No turnovers is very important for Murray. If he’s on his A-Game, Georgia should have no problem. The receivers have to catch the ball!”

Besides the o-line protecting Murray, Cindy Tidwell Disharoon said Georgia needs to “mix up [the] offense, keep it up tempo, no turnovers, stay intense on defense!”

Clete Holmes thinks a key is Georgia avoiding flags and managing to hold on to the ball. “Gotta play a clean game. No dumb penalties or turnovers.”

Andy M. Johnson sees five keys to a Bulldogs victory: “1) fast pace offense 2) have a running game 3) disciplined defense 4) no stupid penalties 5) never give up.”

Jonathan Brian Perren said the keys are the defense “stopping 6-8 yard runs up the middle” and the offense “staying up tempo and avoiding 3rd and longs and 3-and-outs.”

Paula Haggard Bechtler thinks the mental aspect of the game will be key for Georgia against favored Alabama. “Confidence will decide the game. UGA can’t psych itself out. If they stay confident, then it will be an even game and we have a great shot. I love being the ‘under dawg’!”

Overall, Jim Eaton seemed to sum up the cautious optimism Georgia fans are exhibiting in the face of consensus media predictions that Alabama will win. “I have felt worse about games,” Eaton said. “What do we have to do? No turnovers, establish a running game (o-line), play near mistake-free on defense.”

That’s how a sampling of fans on our social media outlets view the game. What do you think are the keys to a Dawgs victory in the Dome this Saturday?

Got some thoughts on the upcoming game with Alabama or  a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

117 comments Add your comment

David

November 29th, 2012
10:51 am

beanster

November 29th, 2012
10:51 am

Here’s my key: An Ogletree and Jarvis Jones sandwich sack on Bama’s first play from scrimmage. That ought to set the tone.

GATA

General Ledger

November 29th, 2012
10:51 am

No turnovers by Murray and establish enough of a running game. I also with Bobo would come up with a few new wrinkles such as Marshall and Gurley in the game at the same time, some roll outs by Murray with pass/run option and some misdirection.

AugustaDawg

November 29th, 2012
10:53 am

CMR’s preparation, Bobo’s commitment to his game plan and Grantham’s tenacity are the keys to the game for this Dawg fan. Go Dawgs!

Marc Wabich

November 29th, 2012
10:53 am

I’m a damn good dawg fan and I know we’re gonna get our @ss kicked. Wake up folks, this is how you can be pleasantly surprised if Murray actually does play a decent game. GO PARKVIEW!!!

Spanky

November 29th, 2012
10:54 am

Bill, momentum is what charges all of these factors! Jeff Schultz wrote an article earlier about UGA keeping the foot on the gas…I agree! Just like the song in “Smokey & the Bandit”..we gone do what they say can’t be done!! Go Dawgs!!

Columbus Dawg

November 29th, 2012
10:54 am

Totally agree with Jonathan Brian Perren, the last time the D let a back run up the middle was Kentucky game, and they almost won. The Dawgs will never get Bama off the field if they allow them to run up the gut like that. Ogletree knows this.

Mr. Chill

November 29th, 2012
10:54 am

A miracle wouldn’t hurt.

Joey

November 29th, 2012
10:56 am

Throw the kitchen sink at Bama, Bobo. And please have more of a back-up plan than we had at SC.

There’s not tomorrow – unless you consider the Chic fil a bowl invite, “tomorrow.”

I don’t . . .

Jim Beam

November 29th, 2012
10:57 am

Fair n Balanced

November 29th, 2012
10:57 am

The key to winning is to score more points than Bama. Simple. Whatever it takes to do that.

Fridawg

November 29th, 2012
11:01 am

1) Win turnover margin
2) OL protect Murray
3) Gurshall rush for over 100 yds

If we do 2 of those 3, we’ll win. Go Dawgs!

GeoffDawg

November 29th, 2012
11:12 am

I agree with the point about coming out hot. Georgia can’t afford to dip their toes into the water in this game.

Columbus Dawg

November 29th, 2012
11:17 am

On a recruiting note, I just read where Trooper “Bagman” Taylor has been talking to Montravious Adams. How stupid is the NCAA that they can not see that Auburn has absolutely NOTHING to offer a big time recruit other than money? Money is the only reason that Foster is still committed to that dumpster fire in Opelika. It is beyond me how useless the NCAA is.

Flo-Ri-Duh

November 29th, 2012
11:24 am

Knocking McCarron out of the game early would probably seal a win – not that I want anyone to get injured because I don’t. Out side of that turnovers, dumb penalties, stop the run,OL protection , and no dropped passes for UGA. Did I miss anything?

brocephus

November 29th, 2012
11:34 am

SenoiaDawgs

November 29th, 2012
11:46 am

As for what it will take. A solid O-line performance, D plays like the capable of playing and Murray shows up in the big game. Those three thing happen we win.

As for the game, I just hope the refs don’t try to take the game over, both teams play to max capability and it’s a turnover free game. I want to see these two teams play there best and be allowed to play by the officials. In this scenario I think the Dawgs win by 6.

bill arp

November 29th, 2012
11:53 am

Most of these answers are stating the obvious. Some are extremely vague, such as, ‘throw the kitchen sink at them’. What is that?

Bottom line, Murray can’t throw 3 picks and end up going 12 for 29, completing 42% of his passes. And yes, it ALL starts up front the OL, but when he has T King or M Mitchell open running down the field, and he’s got the time, he’s GOT to hit ‘em.

One other thing that people are forgetting(or just don’t want to talk about), is that if we have to depend on our Place-kicker to win this game, we may be screwed!

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

November 29th, 2012
11:57 am

It’ll take nothing super human to beat Bama. Ga is just as good everywhere except place kicking. Hope it don’t come down to a kick. Stay even in turn overs and I like the Dawgs. They seem hungry to me.

dublindawg

November 29th, 2012
12:04 pm

I want us to win….but can’t let myself get too excited. Been heartbroken too many times

Lee

November 29th, 2012
12:11 pm

I agree with the comments about the o-line. Got to give them credit though, they have come a long way this season. Still, it makes me nervous when you have freshmen and sophmores on the o-line going up against Bama’s juniors and seniors.

Everywhere else, the Dawgs and Bama match up well with each other.

Logan Walker

November 29th, 2012
12:20 pm

I believe the key is two sides of the same coin – the running game. Georgia needs to run the ball effectively on 1st down and contain Bama’s running game on the other side of the ball. This will open up the play action for us and frustrate McCarron on the other side.

35-7

November 29th, 2012
12:21 pm

Coaching period.

Logan Walker

November 29th, 2012
12:24 pm

Containing Bama’s running game will also allow our Junkyard Defense to pin their ears back and make some plays.

bham dawg

November 29th, 2012
12:26 pm

run the ball. stop the run. win the turnover battle. That’s how you win every game. This game is no different just a lot harder to achieve vs a quality opponent. Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, and Bacarri Rambo will be the difference in this game. Need turnovers and they are most likely to come from these 3.

Columbus Dawg

November 29th, 2012
12:39 pm

The defense MUST NOT bite on their play action. The games I watched where Bama’s QB had the most success, (other than his lucky plays), were on play action.Take that away, and they do not run the ball nearly as well. Bottom line is this, we all as spectators see the obvious, but with nothing to do all week but study Bama’s tendencies, there is no reason for the D not to be prepared. This is college football, and if the will is broken in any part of the game, it will affect the other parts of that team’s game, even if it is Alabama. I know this is easier said than done, but I truly believe that the Dawgs understand the opportunity they’ve been given, and like the great Erk Russell used to say, “They will rise to the occasion”!

SC Dog fan

November 29th, 2012
12:40 pm

Please, please just don’t blow a gasket like at SC or the Blackout against Bama baack in 08. Sorry to even bring up bad memories, but I’m taumatized now. I’m pryaing for a win but hoping mostly for a competitive attempt that ends without multiple unanswered touchdowns by the Tide (as with LSU last year). And, hopefully, I’ll get a chance to start wringing my hands about the Irish.

Skokie Dog

November 29th, 2012
12:48 pm

Bill: Your server is eating posts again.

McDawg

November 29th, 2012
12:52 pm

come out like we did against LSU but capitalize on opportunities

roughrider

November 29th, 2012
12:53 pm

The weakness of UGA’s O line is my major concern. O line recruiting has been slack and may bite us in the rear end in this game.

Preacher Dawg

November 29th, 2012
1:13 pm

I like the corner and FS blitz packages in this game early and often. Not feelin the excessive time for a great QB, or expecting that Saban hasn’t planned for the AA Jarvis Jones. Agression is the key in my opinion. Our Team, Our Time, No Regrets!! Sic Em Dawgs!!

Tony Talor

November 29th, 2012
1:54 pm

Here are my stats from 2006 and here are the Heisman candidate’s from Notre Lame. By the way, I was only a 2nd team All-Sec in 2006.

Tony Taylor Notre Lame LB

Tackles 96 Tackles- 103
Sacks 3 Sacks- 1.5
TFL- 7.5 Sacks- 5.5
FF-2 FF- 0
Fumble Rec- 2 Fumble Rec- 1
Ints- 7 INts- 7
Int yard- 97 Int yards- 35

mark

November 29th, 2012
2:08 pm

Forget this “establish the run” crap. Turn Murray loose, spread the defense, get him out on the corners and throw it at least 50-60 times. Run a fast and faster than that offense.. All out on offense and lights out. Yep, throw a few razzle dazzle plays in the mix. This idea of lining up a running at their defense won’t work. Tx Am had the right plan. Murray can make it work too….Go Dawgs.

mark

November 29th, 2012
2:13 pm

Skokie Dog

November 29th, 2012
2:26 pm

The keys to winning this game are to avoid doing most of what happened last year versus LSU from late in the second quarter through the second half. That list includes receivers catching passes that QB Murray threw into their hands, defenders making tackles using good technique, special teams players making plays whenever the ball is kicked, and hoping that refs don’t allow touchdowns when the opponent’s ball carrier tosses away the ball before crossing the goal line and that they don’t miss calls like blocks in the back.
Before the game, it might help to ply the ‘Bamers with strong drink, or perhaps encourage some of those women of easy virtue who appear on the banner ad on this page from time to time to visit the Tide players for entertainment. That approach seems to have limited USCe QB Garcia’s success in that SEC championship game a few years ago.

Henne

November 29th, 2012
2:38 pm

@Bill Arp and when he hits them, they have to catch it (think LSU last year and SC this year).

Paul Johnson

November 29th, 2012
2:44 pm

See, the key to this game is the team that has more points than the other team wins the game, it’s that simple, and I’m still the smartest guy on the field and off!

chilidawg

November 29th, 2012
3:01 pm

What will it take to beat Bama? Simple: Black jerseys.

dawgfacedboy

November 29th, 2012
3:04 pm

O line baby!! If the o-line doesn’t block then we don’t get anything going offensively which leads to the D being on the field way to much.

Henne

November 29th, 2012
3:05 pm

UGA could have, should have gone up on LSU 21-0 last year, if not for receivers with the yips. Being clutch when you have scoring opportunities is very important.

dawgfacedboy

November 29th, 2012
3:06 pm

Murray can finally get the monkey off of his back with a win against Bama. Shut all of his haters up. He played terribly against Florida and is lucky that Gurley and the D bailed him out of another miserable perforamnce against a good team in a big game. He won’t be able to throw 3 more picks and complete 30% of his passes and expect to have UGA win this game.

35-7

November 29th, 2012
3:32 pm

Usually Mark Richt is good for two beat downs a year and a hiccup to a weak team. Kentucky was a near hiccup. South Carolina was a beat down. Alabama will be the next beat down. Welcome to the Capital One Bowl dawg fans!

Dog4Life

November 29th, 2012
3:38 pm

Everyone keeps suggesting to up tempo the game; that is fine, but UGA has already about a 2min scoring average. This is problematic for the Defense-as SOS stated earlier in the season, UGA leaves its defense on the field too long. I want the UGA offense to wear out their D and not ours. I realize to strap it up and go toe to toe with Bama is dangerous and playing into their style, but we are very similar in styles of D and offensive schemes–I do not mind scoring quickly, but i want to our offense to sustain a few long time ridden drives to rest the D and keep bama’s offense (Yeldon and lacey) on the bench.

Lurch

November 29th, 2012
3:44 pm

uugggggghhhhhhh.

Strat Cat Dawg

November 29th, 2012
3:52 pm

Many analysts say Aaron Murray has to step up and have a great game. They seem to discount the fact that after throwing 3 INTs against Florida, he came back in the 4th quarter and threw a strike to Malcolm Mitchell with a blitz in his face to win the game. Since then, he’s played brilliantly. I look for him to channel his inner Stafford and torch the UA secondary.

Strongside

November 29th, 2012
3:57 pm

GA needs to get points – no matter by run or pass – early and keep game close. If AL gets out to a 2 score lead they have much easier time of making GA one dimensional and that’s when Murray has tendency to make mistakes.

RJ

November 29th, 2012
5:06 pm

First and foremost we have to stop their running game if not they will ball control and force Georgia to take risk that could cause some TOs. If our defense can control the line of scrimmage then Bama has to take some risk which will result in some TOs or a least give us more scoring opportunities. Then the O line has to give Murray time to pass if they do he will have a good game and score some TDs. They have to open up some running lanes tp keep Bama off balance, that is what AM had success in doing. I am worried about some TOs from our freshmen backs. If they make some
key first downs and not turn the ball over I think we have a chance to bring it home.

Joshua

November 29th, 2012
5:09 pm

I just want to slap the guy who suggested trick plays. If Mike Bobo calls even one end-around I’m going to spit on my t.v.

Joshua

November 29th, 2012
5:10 pm

There is really only one factor to this game: Aaron Murray. Sure, the line needs to keep him clean. But in the past, he’s played poorly in big games even without really being pressured consistently. If Murray plays well, Dawgs win.

MY Dawg

November 29th, 2012
5:49 pm

i think it’s cut and dry for UGA this weekend. If the OL gives A.M. time to pass, and open some lanes to run in, THEY WIN!