A bad day all-round for Georgia’s Bulldogs
Aaron Murray was just one of numerous Bulldogs who had a bad day Saturday against Vandy. (Associaed Press)
The wheels officially came off a once-promising season for Georgia Saturday in Nashville on a day when the Bulldogs failed in just about every facet of the game.
You know the old saw about it being “a team loss”? This is one game where that isn’t just a way of deflecting blame from one or two players. Just about everyone on both sides of the ball plus the coaching staff was to blame in this devastating loss, which probably eliminated Georgia from any chance for another SEC East title.
Running down the Dogs’ sorry performance against the Commodores, we find a familiar litany of problems:
- Three more special teams meltdowns — including a allowing a fake field goal to turn into a touchdown, a turnover on a fumbled punt reception, and yet another bad snap that went over the punter’s head — led to Vandy points.
- Damian Swann had another mostly terrible day, getting burned on long passes and, worst of all, mishandling the fumbled punt. He did have one pass breakup late in the game, but in general the junior cornerback has become a liability whenever he’s on the field.
- With the Vandy defense exerting constant pressure, the offensive line and Aaron Murray both played poorly, with the Dogs basically having no downfield passing game (the longest Georgia pass play for the day went 17 yards and that was on a screen), receivers dropping too many of Murray’s short passes when they weren’t off-target, and Georgia forced to rely in the end on a freshman back who had a key fumble for the second week in a row.
- Reverting to the worst excesses of the days when fans were calling for his head, Mike Bobo went all ultra-conservative, culminating in one of his worst third-down calls ever with yet another run up the middle stuffed when the game was on the line. (Georgia was a miserable four out of 14 on third down Saturday.)
- Once again, the defense couldn’t handle an offense being run by a backup quarterback. Vandy scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
- On this day the even the officiating went badly against Georgia, with two questionable targeting calls, one of which saw Ray Drew, the Dogs’ best defensive player, ejected from the game in the first half.
- And in an already injury-plagued season, the final play of the game, which resulted in an interception, saw one of Georgia’s few remaining pass-catching threats, Chris Conley, left crumpled on the field.
Am I forgetting anything that went wrong? Probably. It was that terrible a day for the Bulldogs.
What went right? Well, freshman Shaq Wiggins, who shows signs of being a future star, made a great play by successfully anticipating a screen pass and making an interception in the Vandy backfield that he returned for a touchdown.
And that’s about it for highlights.
So what we end up with is a season that saw two big wins over Top 10 teams and talk of a possible shot at the national championship disintegrating amid too many injuries, a vulnerable young defense that hasn’t gotten any better, and continued ineptitude on special teams.
Looks like Georgia and Florida, which lost to sudden juggernaut Missouri Saturday, might be playing for a berth in the Chick-fil-A Bowl two weeks from now in Jacksonville.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg