Dawgs have nothing to be ashamed of after epic battle with Bama

The inability of the Georgia defense to stop Eddie Lacy allowed Bama to get back into the game. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

The inability of the Georgia defense to stop Eddie Lacy allowed Bama to get back into the game. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

So, which hurts worse, getting blown out in the second half of an SEC Championship like last year, or coming tantalizingly close to a trip to the BCS title game, as the Georgia Bulldogs did Saturday night?

Both results are tough for the players and fans to take, but at least Mark Richt’s 2012 team knows it took the best team in college football down to the wire, and in the end was four yards and about 3 seconds away from playing for the national championship.

This latest SEC Championship loss was emotionally draining, no doubt, but the Dawgs have nothing to be ashamed of in their heartbreaking 32-28 loss to the Crimson Tide.

And while Georgia might not have gotten the win, no one can say quarterback Aaron Murray didn’t step up in a big-time game. Despite Bama’s Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon running wild as the Tide’s powerful offensive line wore down the Georgia defensive front seven and got Bama back in the game after Georgia led by 11 points in the third quarter, Murray kept his team in the game with his arm, completing 18 of 33 passes for 265 yards and a touchdown.

Alec Ogletree scores on a blocked field goal to put Georgia back in the lead. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Alec Ogletree scores on a blocked field goal to put Georgia back in the lead. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

It was an up and down night, with the lead changing hands several times. Even special teams play, often a chink in the armor for Georgia, had its good and bad moments. The Dogs missed a field goal, but they made a first down on a fake punt and blocked a Bama field goal that Alec Ogletree scooped up and returned 55 yards for a touchdown.

In the end, it was traditional grown-man SEC football that won out. Just as Nick Saban predicted at halftime, the team that ran the ball better in the second half won, as Bama set a new SEC Championship game rushing record with 350 yards on the ground. Of course, he was hoping that would be the case because he knew that running was the only way his team was going to beat Georgia, as his offense simply couldn’t handle the Dogs’ pass rush.

Ironically, it was one of those rare occasions when Georgia had a running back break the century mark, as freshman Todd Gurley ran for a very tough 122 yards, and yet lost — because Alabama had two backs go for more than 100 yards as Lacy had an amazing 181 yards and freshman Yeldon got 153.

Yes, there are things you could quibble about, from Georgia’s continuing penchant for committing unnecessary infractions to the inconsistent officiating to some of Mike Bobo’s playcalling on key three-and-outs, the amount of time it took Todd Grantham to adjust to the Tide’s rushing attack in the third quarter, Bacarri Rambo biting on the wrong receiver on the play-action pass that won the game for Bama and, most all, the perplexing decision by the Georgia coaching staff not to spike the ball after Artie Lynch got the ball down to the Bama 8-yard line with 15 seconds remaining on the clock.

Richt’s explanation of the latter decision after the game made little sense; he said spiking the ball would have eaten up 2 or 3 seconds, but the Dogs easily ran off that much time before the ball was snapped on the failed fade pass that was tipped and ended up being the last play of the game. Yeah, you can’t predict a ball will get tipped, but a spike would have guaranteed the Dogs at least two shots at the end zone.

Oh, well.

All that aside, Georgia gave the Tide all it could handle in an absolutely thrilling contest. And at least CBS analyst Gary Danielson now knows just how “real” Georgia is. And so does an Alabama team that makes it to its second consecutive BCS title game by the skin of its teeth.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this classic Georgia-Alabama showdown.

Got some thoughts on the Dawgs or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

189 comments Add your comment

Yogi Bear Bryant

December 1st, 2012
9:36 pm

Hey BooBoo. It’s Yogi. How abouts we spike the football?

Jabarrr

December 1st, 2012
9:37 pm

1) tough game. Fix the penalties.

ALUM

December 1st, 2012
9:37 pm

ALL OF IT SUCKS

FIRE RICHT

The Monger

December 1st, 2012
9:38 pm

Georgia fans…..you may be in denial, but you have to except the reality of the situation. Georgia has not won an SEC championship since 2005…. Which is for those of you not good at math, 7 LONG years ago. We lost thoroughly last year….42-10, and we gave up over 500 yards today and lost 32-28 in a more competitive game. IF THOSE UGA FANS THAT STRIVE FOR MEDIOCRITY ARE HAPPY WITH 10-2 SEASONS AND A PAT ON THE BACK THEN THAT’S FINE FOR YOU, BUT THE REST OF US PROUD UGA ALUMS WANT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS, AND AT THE VERY LEAST SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS. Mark Richt is 0-7 in SEC Championships, and 0-7 in National Championships since 05, I will not support that….especially for a coach that gets top 10 and top 5 recruiting classes EVERY YEAR!! Unacceptable….and I have already emailed McGarity to ask for Richt’s firing (if he refuses to resign)…..Let’s try to embrace Kirby Smart as our new head coach UGA PROUD BULLDAWGS!!!!!

EricMann

December 1st, 2012
9:40 pm

Got to ‘have’ run defense! tough loss.

The Monger

December 1st, 2012
9:41 pm

Man I am sick of Richt and Murray, with 14 points handed to us, with a blocked field goal and a once in a lifetime fake punt conversion. We still lose 32-28. Alabama mauled us up front to the tune of 350 yards on the ground, and we gave up over 500 total yards….with 9 NFL CALIBER STARTING DEFENDERS!!! And we congratulate this at UGA? If Saban had 9 NFL quality defenders on his starting defense, what would the score have been? 30-0? 30-7? I mean this was UGA’s greatest chance at a National Championship and it proved THOROUGHLY we just don’t have the coaches to get us there. No spike with 15 seconds left, 1st and goal? Terrible play calling on the 2 previous drives… UGA just gets outcoached in every big game. Murray and Richt 1-11 in big games now, with that ONE win being a 17-9 victory over a Florida team that turned it over 6 times. I am sorry to say this but Richt needs to step down as Georgia’s head coach for the sake of the program. Hasnt won a big game since 2007. See ya Mark, sorry

Mchael Scharff

December 1st, 2012
9:41 pm

Bill,I am bitterly disappointed, bu am very proud of our Dawgs. Also, if you see Mark Bradley, please thank him for a beautiful column.

EricMann

December 1st, 2012
9:43 pm

If they fire CMR he’ll just end up at the Vols, Razorbacks, or the Tigers? OMG say it ain’t so. I do like that Kirby Smart choice though.

David

December 1st, 2012
9:43 pm

The Georgia kids gave all that they had. I’m proud of our team. I wish we didn’t have so many classless fans cussing our boys right now… they don’t deserve that. The 2012 Georgia Bulldogs are champions. Thanks for a great season, you made your state proud.

Tired

December 1st, 2012
9:45 pm

Monger….you’re either drunk or a tech fan… take your BS to auburn where there’s a program with real problems.

mike addington

December 1st, 2012
9:47 pm

Bill I think U comments are about all that needs saying. Great game except for some poor tackling (it’s the legs guys; tackle the legs) and idiotic play calling on the next to last offensive series. three plus minutes and they call long passes. stupid. plus, Gurley was running well then they stopped calling his number. Done that before I think. It’s okay to make mistakes (Bobo) but not the same ones over and over. You have reached as Tom Peters said, “Your level of incompetence.” Although I like you personally, you obviously don’t have what it takes to reach the level of coaching necessary to play with the top guys. wish U did

The Monger

December 1st, 2012
9:47 pm

BS to all you LOVE FEST RICHT LOVERS…. Shout outs to all the REAL UGA Fans that know that Richt and Murray are now 1-11 in BIG GAMES….

2011… Boise State….LOSS
South Carolina…. LOSS
LSU….. LOSS (by 32 points)
Michigan State….. LOSS

2012…. South Carolina… LOSS (by 28 points)
Florida….. WIN (after 6 Florida turnovers)
Alabama….. LOSS

Just in the last 2 years these guys are 1-6 against their only real competition for the season, with the one win coming after a team commited 6 turnovers, Face reality. Richt, Bobo, and Grantham will NEVER bring a National Championship, or even and SEC championship to Athens. I mean what other coach could blow a 21-10 lead in the biggest game in 30 years in Bulldawg history other that Richt? Maybe Donnan, but I don’t know many others….

Pat Way

December 1st, 2012
9:48 pm

Hey Monger, Richt and ga beat Ark for an SEC title you must have been sleeping

Perspective

December 1st, 2012
9:48 pm

Too many 3 and outs, not enough Gurshall. Why wold you abandon the formula that got you there in the first place? Alabama figured that out, and won the game. Tremendous effort, no doubt the Dawgs left it all on the field.

mike addington

December 1st, 2012
9:48 pm

Oh, Murray can hold his head high. This one was Not on him.

aw Jaw idiot

December 1st, 2012
9:49 pm

Dear Santa and God, DO NOT let the Falcons draft any Dwag defender that allowed Bama to rush for a record 350 yards. Please, or I will die

Pat Way

December 1st, 2012
9:50 pm

Game in and game out Bobo is the real reason GA loses GA had to many 3 and outs defense was on the field 75% of the game

gunter

December 1st, 2012
9:50 pm

Dawg fan for 45 years……………..never been prouder of a Team. Great SEC Foootball game, Great plays, great coaching just extremely disappointing loss for the Dawg Nation. Sure hope we dont see a lot of negative nit picking by some knuckleheads

Jaw Jaw idiot

December 1st, 2012
9:52 pm

Dear Rambo, The freshmn, # 9, Cooper, just blew past you for another huge gain

RTR420

December 1st, 2012
9:52 pm

I bleed crimson but I must say UGA played awesome and deserved to win. They abused our secondary and our defense in general. If UGA falls below Florida in the polls something is seriously wrong.

Pat Way

December 1st, 2012
9:53 pm

Lets see next year 3 starters returning on defense and they play clemson, LSU

The Monger

December 1st, 2012
9:54 pm

Tired….. I am a die hard Georgia Bulldawg fan since I was 5 years old. I am now 28 and still am waiting on Mark Richt to deliver a National Championship. I am TIRED of being close, the simple fact is that we DONT win the big games. Just look at my post above. Murray is not a big game quarterback, and I sincerely doubt that we would have beaten Notre Dame with him behind center. He would most likely have thrown several int’s and probably fumbled against immense pressure from ND’s massive defensive line. We just have LOSERS across the board that can’t win big games (unless a team gives them 6 turnovers). Bobo, outcoached tonight. Grantham, outcoached tonight. Richt, outcoach tonight. Simple fact. I just want a new coaching staff. Richt has had 12 years to bring Georgia to the top and he has delivered failure after failure in HUGE games. I mean, he may win an SEC title every now and then, but I’m talking in the HUGE games that season’s are built around, he fails to deliver….

[...] to Play Notre Dame for College Football ChampionshipBloombergAlabama wins berth in BCS title gameCNNDawgs have nothing to be ashamed of after epic battle with BamaAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)NBCNews.com -Sacramento Bee -Mabootall 1,362 news [...]

Pat Way

December 1st, 2012
9:57 pm

To all the Dawg fans that are slamming the Defense yes tackling was not the best but when you defense is on the field cause your offense can not move the ball consistently that is the problem Bobo has to go

Angela

December 1st, 2012
9:58 pm

Well said as always, Bill. The naysayers are obviously not alums…or at least, I hope not. That was a heck of a game between arguably the two best teams in the country. That’s what they’ll be saying for a while, especially after Bama pummels Notre Dame. I haven’t missed a home game in 7 years (even having to listen to Rocky Top from behind the opposing band in 101, row 42), and yet I would have given my right arm to have had qualified for SEC championship tickets and witnessed this amazing game. Yes, even with a loss… No one in mainstream media gave us a fighting chance to win the game, and fight is exactly what both teams did down to the wire. Even in the final minute of the game, no one knew who would win. That’s grown man football, for sure, and perhaps some of the best SEC football anyone has seen in many years! I’m proud to support Aaron Murray, who played great, and Coach Mark Richt, who coached the game well. I’m proud to be a Georgia Bulldawg! Next topic…Why UGA, not Florida, should get the Sugar Bowl!

nwdnanny

December 1st, 2012
10:01 pm

Would LOVE to have Kirby Smart if Richt were to leave but you better believe his offense coordinator would be Bobo…they are like brothers.

SC Dog fan

December 1st, 2012
10:03 pm

Thank you, Georgia Bulldogs, for a heck of an effort and a great game.

Mark Richt A Loser

December 1st, 2012
10:04 pm

Mark Richt again cannot win the big game. Enjoy the Cotton Bowl Loser.

Jaw Jaw idiot

December 1st, 2012
10:04 pm

I will never get behind this pathetic team again. This one ripped my heart out. We had an 11 pt advantage against a suspect Bama offense. They run it all over us for 8 yards a carry… are you kidding?

Robards

December 1st, 2012
10:16 pm

I agree that no one can question whether Georgia is for “real” anymore. Still, when you lose 35-0, I mean 35-7, to one of the only two quality opponents on the schedule, it’s a legitimate question to ask.

david

December 1st, 2012
10:19 pm

The 3rd and 1 with 4 minutes left hurt–Gurley stuffed and we punt. They throw a td pass 3 minutes later. We get a 1st down there and can run at least 2 minutes off and punt to their 20. If a could a would a — tough loss. This one will hurt for a while. Im proud the be a Dawg. Richt showed a little fire in the post game press conference.

Mark McClendon

December 1st, 2012
10:20 pm

Enter your comments here

RED DOG 77

December 1st, 2012
10:24 pm

Great read Bill, one of your best yet. To all of you negative, so called football fans………….blow-it out your ear…………Me?…….I’m proud of everyone Georgia BULLDOG, Murray, Richt, Bobo, Grantham, and tonight, especially T.King………..I saw his tears tonight, but folks, I don’t give a hoot what anyone says………….I’ve been following Georgia BULLDOG football since the mid 1960s and I think tonights game might possibly be the greatest game I’ve ever seen…………….We just didn’t win……….God Bless you coach Richt, God Bless you all Georgia BULLDOGS…………….RED

Respectful Gator

December 1st, 2012
10:26 pm

Probably the best SEC Championship game I’ve ever seen, even surpassing 2008.

I have to say that after UGA lost 35-7 to South Carolina in early October, I thought, “Same ol’ Dawgs” and smiled.

But all you Bulldog fans should be proud of your team’s fight this year — they really did, in my opinion, change the culture of the program and compete hard, which was evident both in the big win in Jacksonville and in Atlanta today.

That said, I’m super glad Jarvis Jones is off to playing on Sundays, where he belongs! You guys may not be as good next year on defense, but I think there’s a good chance Aaron Murray comes back after this bitter loss and your offense should be okay.

Til next October, Go Gators! And yes, we will be representing the SEC in the Sugar Bowl slot that is rightfully ours.

Strat Cat Dawg

December 1st, 2012
10:27 pm

It hurt worse to get blown out by LSU in the second half last year. We gave a 60 minute fight this year and were in it until the clock ran out. If you aren’t proud of the coaches and team, you are a loser and unworthy of wearing red and black. If you whine and blame this coach or that player, you deserve nothing but contempt. Get over it. I hurt mostly for the team, which gave us, the fans, everything they had and fell a few yards and a few seconds short. Today, tomorrow and always, it’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Crimson Pride

December 1st, 2012
10:29 pm

Some of you are freaking delusional fans who know little about football. Georgia played us better than anyone this season except for Texas A&M. Richt put his team in position to beat us and coached a good game. Saban is the best coach in college football so if you think Richt should be fired for losing to a loaded Bama team, then you fans who call for Richt’s head are don’t deserve a good football team. You guys blame it on your coach, but you lost to an incredible team and may have pulled it out had it not been for Conley deciding to catch the ball.

Virginia Dawg

December 1st, 2012
10:31 pm

Bill great article: I have my criticism of Richt and his staff and mostly deservedly so but this game not really. Dawg fans will debate this last drive for decades but in my novice opinion I think there was nothing wrong with the play. Who accounts for a defender tipping the ball? Second, who accounts for a receiver who was persona non grata the entire night all the sudden catching the ball he ought to have batted down. The play would have pitted our best against their best in a one on one jump catch. Also, you never saw the offense panicking which indicates to me that they knew what sequence they wanted to run. Last, can someone tell TJ Stripling he is the catalyst that led to Alabama’s resurgence. If not for that gallingly STUPID penalty, Bama would have been pinned deep vice the “gift” he gave them.

RED DOG 77

December 1st, 2012
10:31 pm

Angela………..Bravo on your post !………I wonder the same, seems logical to me, Dawgs in the Sugar………..Regards, RED

Crimson Pride

December 1st, 2012
10:36 pm

I will never hate Georgia, because my son is a fan, but I have more respect for them than ever under Richt’s watch after this performance. The Dogs went down and nearly beat us and had me nervous for basically the whole game. Georgia has one heck of a team and I’m glad we don’t have to play them again. Gurley, King and Murray are also very, very good. To the true Georgia fans, I hope your teams represents the SEC well in your bowl game and hopefully we can keep the national championship streak alive against the Irish.

Ft.Worth dawg

December 1st, 2012
10:38 pm

Thanks Bill, I enjoy your blog.
I’m soooo proud of our coaches and team, although I would conduct a nationwide search for a kicker.
Living in Texas, I enjoy a team that consistently finishes high in the polls at the end of each season! Other schools never pick us for their homecoming! We’ll get there, Thank-you coach Richt! And thank you Bill for the time that you spend on your articles.

BamaLawyer

December 1st, 2012
10:39 pm

Relieved that we won, but Coach Saban and our staff failed our players in this game. 6 years after his arrival and our special teams are still a train wreck. Blocked FG gave GA 7 points, blown fake field goad jumpstarted GA’s offense for 7 more points and the stupid OC blew a shot at a field goal by throwing the ball on the goal line for another interception like the Texas A&M game. Georgia couldn’t stop the running game but we kept killing drives in the first half with the pass. Pathetic. Reminded me of that putrid performance against Texas in the 2010 BCS Championship game (2009 Season). Georgia is a hell of a lot better than Texas, especially after Colt McCoy crumpled. Should have won this game 34-14 if the special teams and OC weren’t a train wreck. Who knew Bobo would look like a genius compared to Nussler. Saban better get it corrected before ND.

coondawg_69

December 1st, 2012
10:39 pm

I guess the coaching staff did not learn he value of spikin the ball after the 2001 Auburn debacle…. oh well, if they dont care….. should we really get upset?

Bamafaithful

December 1st, 2012
10:40 pm

I’d like to congratulate the Dawgs. It looked to me like the two best teams in the country on the field tonight,either team could have won. These kids gave too much to have their own fans running them down. While you’re roasting Richt,you might give Alabama a little credit. These teams were VERY evenly matched,we just won. It was 59 minutes and 56 seconds of the toughest football you’ll ever see.
Congrats to the Dawgs on a great game and to the true Dawg fans that are sticking with them.

Ft.Worth dawg

December 1st, 2012
10:42 pm

P.S.
Go Tide! DESTROY Notre dame (spit)!!! Make the SEC proud!

BamaLawyer

December 1st, 2012
10:44 pm

I commend the Dawgs for their performance tonight and if I had a vote I would keep them right where they are in the poll. To me, their victory over Florida and tonight’s nail biter is worthy of a trip to New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl. Just hope they can emotionally pull it together before the bowl game. I know how bad this hurts, cause I was feeling it just before the kid fell down at the 5 with the clock running out.

Big Dawg

December 1st, 2012
10:50 pm

Some of you so called Dawg fans that cannot see the valiant effort our team gave (Alum, Jaw Jaw Idiot, and The Monger to name a few) and want to cast blame on the coaches need to find another team to root for and “support”. In fact you can jump on Bama’s waggon now. The are now the Winners and you could bask in the glory of being a fan of a championship team. It is pathetic to think you are so emotionally invested in a group of teenagers and place so much of your self worth on the outcome of a game. I can promise you that we will to miss your betchin esses for one second in the Dawg Nation.

Ft.Worth dawg

December 1st, 2012
10:53 pm

WELL SAID Big Dawg!

RED DOG 77

December 1st, 2012
10:59 pm

respectful Gator…………..Doesn’t sound like respect to me, no Sugar is not rightfully your………….We beat you, remember?…………If the rules say you go, so be it, but we did beat you…………so don’t forget, as much as you might try, in 2012 The University of Georgia BULLDOGS were better than the Florida Gators……………RED

UGA 1986

December 1st, 2012
11:21 pm

Bill

The problem on the last play was not the lack of a spike. The play was fine. The problem was that the ball was tipped (a good defensive play). If the ball was spiked and we had another shot as you suggested, if it were tipped then, the same thing might have happened.

David

December 1st, 2012
11:22 pm

Mike Bobo is a freaking low rate wanna be jv coach. Stick to pop Warner why dont you. Even Murray was looking to spike it. This loss goes to you Bobo. Own it, live with it!!!!!!!