Archive for October, 2013

Decimated Dogs offense still has a lot of weapons, but defense is running out of excuses

Chris Conley's catch was a "SportsCenter" highlight. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Chris Conley's catch was a "SportsCenter" highlight. (Jason Getz / AJC)

I’ve been battling a technology meltdown this evening, so while I can get online here’s some random thoughts and observations from Saturday’s Georgia-Tennessee game …

Losing Keith Marshall for the season is a big blow, but once Todd Gurley comes back the Dogs’ running game should still be in pretty good shape. J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas stepped up big-time under trying circumstances. Green looks like a legitimate breakaway threat and Douglas got some tough yards, though he needs to work on hitting the hole a little quicker and holding on to passes (he dropped a couple before finally making a big reception and run on Georgia’s last scoring drive in regulation).

Still, if Gurley isn’t able to go Saturday against Missouri Mike Bobo might have to get a bit more creative in his run calls than some of those up-the-middle tries that got stuffed in the second half in Knoxville.

The loss of Justin Scott-Wesley, …

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Aaron Murray the difference-maker in Georgia win over Tennessee

He's done it before and Aaron Murray did it again against the Vols. (Jason Getz / AJC)

He's done it before and Aaron Murray did it again against the Vols. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Mark Richt’s Bulldogs kept all their season hopes alive with Saturday’s 34-31 overtime win over Tennessee but, man, what a costly victory.

The fates seemed stacked against the Dogs as the UGA sideline looked like a triage area, with three key offensive playmakers — Keith Marshall, Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley — all helped off the field with demoralizing knee injuries, forcing Georgia to rely on a pair of relatively untested backs and a decimated receiving corps.

But with a gritty next-man-up attitude that saw little-used senior Rantavious Wooten catch six passes and score two TDs and true freshman tailback J.J. Green run for 129 yards, Georgia managed to pull it out before a noisy UT crowd, thanks in part to a sudden about-face by Lady Luck when the Vols’ Pig Howard lost control of the ball diving for the end zone in overtime, resulting in a touchback and Georgia’s ball.

But …

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Fan talk: Dawgs in the playoff system, defensive struggles, black jerseys and more!

Where would Mark Richt's Buildogs rank in a four-team playoff system? (Jason Getz / AJC)

Where would Mark Richt's Buildogs rank in a four-team playoff system? (Jason Getz / AJC)

With a trip to Knoxville at hand, it’s a subject some skittish fans don’t even want to talk about, but thanks to the big win over LSU, the Dawgs still find themselves in BCS contention despite the opening loss to Clemson. Could a one-loss SEC champion not called Alabama jump over an undefeated team (say, Ohio State) that’s played a lesser schedule? No way to know yet, but it’s nice to at least still be in the conversation.

However, what if we already were in the four-team playoff system to be introduced next season, where would Georgia stand?

According to USA Today’s weekly mock Football Four Playoff Projections, the win over LSU pushed Georgia up to the No. 5 spot and the Bulldogs even got one first-place vote for the first time.

“Georgia moves into my top-four this week based on the strength of its wins against LSU and South Carolina, and the fact the one loss was on the road (and by …

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View from Rocky Top not what it once was

After an emotional win, can Mark Richt's Bulldogs avoid a letdown? (Jason Getz / AJC)

After an emotional win, can Mark Richt's Bulldogs avoid a letdown? (Jason Getz / AJC)

The Georgia-Tennessee series may no longer generate quite the excitement of a few years back — UGA says it returned unsold about a thousand of its 8,500 ticket allotment for Saturday’s game against the Vols — but noisy Neyland Stadium is still an intimidating place to play.

And with UGA fans concerned about a possible letdown after the Bulldogs’ big, emotional win over LSU — and history having shown us that even extremely talented Georgia teams can come a cropper when visiting Knoxville— this is not a week for complacency in the Bulldog Nation.

How do they feel about it up on Rocky Top? For that, as usual, I decided to go to my old Volunteer pal Joey Ledford, who always provides us a reasonable, good-humored Big Orange viewpoint. Take it away, Joe …

Hi Dawg fans.

Bill has kindly asked me to do this for several seasons now, and this is the toughest year so far to write about our game. To be …

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