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.”
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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg