A powerful performance by a suddenly powerful UGA team

Did this guy outcoach Paul Johnson. Yes he did. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Did this guy outcoach Paul Johnson? Yes he did. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

There have been times lately when we’ve wondered, “Who are these guys?” Because they  weren’t the Bulldogs we’d come to know and admire. They were undisciplined and undercoached. They were always reacting to an opponent, never forcing the issue. They were a finesse team, and a team devoid of force doesn’t win big in the broad-shouldered SEC.

But on the final night of an underwhelming regular season, Georgia played as if it remembered its breeding. It acted like an SEC team. It ran the ball with fury and blocked like the crack of dawn and played big-boy football. And at halftime we were saying, “Who are these guys?”

Because these weren’t the Bulldogs of recent vintage. These were tougher, stronger, meaner. They had come into the stadium of a team looking to solidify its hold on a rivalry and a state, and they’d been the aggressor from the first. Indeed, they were the aggressor from the coin toss. Georgia won it and, rather than do as every coach does in modern football, Mark Richt didn’t defer his choice. He wanted the ball and he wanted it now.

And when his men got it, they pounded Tech in a way Georgia never pounds anybody anymore. Ten plays, all runs, Caleb King and Washaun Ealey taking turns, the unassuming offensive line blowing massive holes in the Tech line. Ten plays, all runs, and just like that Georgia was ahead in a game it was supposed to lose.

Give Richt credit: All week he had to answer questions — one from me on the Wednesday SEC teleconference — about the need for change in his program, and in this game he did change. He and Mike Bobo eschewed the fancy stuff and just Lombardi’ed the game plan, and it was beautiful in its brutality. Three Tech defenders had to be helped off the field in the first half, and after 30 minutes Georgia had outgained the nation’s No. 7 team by 141 yards and had outscored it by 14 points.

But it was only a year ago in Athens that Georgia had led by 16 points at the half, and within seven minutes that lead was gone. Everyone knew Tech would again come out flying, and sure enough the Jackets scored on their first possession. But Georgia needed only one play to answer, Caleb King taking a handoff and fleeing 75 yards. And from then on Tech was chasing, and in the end the fleet Jackets couldn’t run fast enough.

It came down to one possession. Georgia up six, Tech with a chance to win. The Jackets moved across midfield but unaccountably stopped running the ball. Four consecutive passes, the first three nicely defensed, the fourth simply dropped. (The second and third passes were defended by Reshad Jones, the Georgia safety who’d spent the last year answering questions about his missed tackle of Tech’s Roddy Jones.) And suddenly Georgia was the second-best team in Georgia no longer.

Richt and Bobo and Willie Martinez had outflanked the new genius Paul Johnson and had done it without A.J. Green, their best player. And the guys who did play outfought a Tech team known for its pugnacity.

And now we have issues galore. Does one blissful night off North Avenue override the worst season under Richt? Probably not. But for the Bulldogs and their coach and all his coaches, it had to feel good to reclaim state supremacy and to mar what has been a glorious Tech season. (To say nothing of wrecking the ACC title game.) What happens with Martinez and the other assistants can wait until another day. What happened Saturday night was a slice of deliverance 365 days in the making.

Back to our question: Who were these guys? They were the Georgia Bulldogs, only they weren’t the Georgia Bulldogs that contrived to lose five games this season. These were Bulldogs from a different time, a time when Georgia football was power football. (The Bulldogs rushed for 339 yards, the highest total under Richt.)

And if this is the way Georgia football it to look in 2010 and beyond … well, maybe the future isn’t so grim after all. Maybe the future is big and brawny thing.

1,342 comments Add your comment

Wolfdawg

November 28th, 2009
11:34 pm

first! GO DAWGS!

FalconUGAFan

November 28th, 2009
11:35 pm

NXS

November 28th, 2009
11:35 pm

First Tech Sucks

Bulldog in Ecuador

November 28th, 2009
11:36 pm

Good close to a bad season! Go dawgs!

Frank

November 28th, 2009
11:36 pm

It’s not that we are so powerful, it’s just that gtu ain’t all that. SEC rules the ACC.

THWGT!!!

saint simons wears a merkin

November 28th, 2009
11:36 pm

((((( 30 24 ))))) hahahahahahaha

Safety Dawg

November 28th, 2009
11:37 pm

Suck on that for 365 days Saint Simons.

Eric C.

November 28th, 2009
11:37 pm

Probably night. ? Wow…this game helps a lot…not sure it makes up for season, but a crucial win.

Bulldog in Ecuador

November 28th, 2009
11:37 pm

Good close to a bad season!

SanJoseDawg

November 28th, 2009
11:37 pm

Enter your comments here

hugedawgfan

November 28th, 2009
11:37 pm

well, will there be rings again this year. Where you at, Saint Simons, fuzz, and others? Now, if only Auburn and Florida State had won.

SavannahDawg

November 28th, 2009
11:37 pm

Where is that nimrod M; its time for you to come out and take your medicine

BRAVESFAN5114

November 28th, 2009
11:37 pm

Gotta wonder what the year would have been if we had ran the ball all year instaed of letting JC throw picks. Good game Dawgs!!!

Scout Dawg

November 28th, 2009
11:37 pm

Cuz

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

F U Saint Simons

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

I hate Saint Simons….Great farewell Willie.

memo to the acc

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

stick with basketball

Dawg

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

Hey Yellow Fuzz and Saint Simons… 30-24 HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA :) ))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

FalconUGAFan

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

Sorry it was my night for first and the Dawgs night! Nice game Tech. Good luck in the ACC title game…..

Nesbitt Has a PHD in Chemical Eng!

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

herschelsalterego

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

cmon willie wheres the poem

Rick

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

I love it…..DAWGS win….What a day. The two ACC teams who play for the ACC championship are beaten by SEC teams!!!!! Georgia Bulldogs rule nats. Again…

St. Simons Jr.

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

(((((30-24)))))….Go DAWGS. Just proves that a middle of the pack SEC team is better than the ACC’s best!

DawgFan

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

Hey St. Simons – 30-24 hahahahahahahahahahahahaahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

NebraskaDawg

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

30-24!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See ya next year, Nerds!!!!!!

Cantondawg

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

Where are you Saint Simons?

Here's hoping

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

About Dawg Gone Time!

OriginalDawgs

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

HAHAHAHAHA NERDS!!!!! 30-24, get ready to see it ALL SUMMER LONG on here hahahahahahahahahahahaha GO DAWGS GO DAWGS GOOOOOOO DAWGS!

Tech is OVERRATED

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

Overrated (repeat 5X) SEC (repeat 5X)

Finchdawg

November 28th, 2009
11:38 pm

Think Paul Johnson got a little nervous at the end, calling all of those pass plays? Go Dawgs!

Order Restored

November 28th, 2009
11:39 pm

To Mark B, Jeff S, Yellow Fuzz, Cuz, M, and Saint Simmons and any other techy that I have had to look at on these blogs, put your car flags away. Oh yeah, also the lower half of the SEC east just beat the two teams playing in your beloved ACC championship. Also, after UGA’s rushing performance tonight, I guess that ACC stands for All Coast is Clear!

gss303

November 28th, 2009
11:39 pm

Cream rose to the top….SEC rules.

Fierce Dawg

November 28th, 2009
11:39 pm

((((30-24)))) HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

RNB

November 28th, 2009
11:39 pm

Mark Bradley please retire you are so predictable and your columns suck like Tech.

AINT SIMONS

November 28th, 2009
11:39 pm

A year’s worth of ending post with 30-24. If Santa don’t come, it is a great Christmas

Cuz

November 28th, 2009
11:39 pm

I could have had the coveted first if I had not been sucked into reading the column. Curse you Bradley.

SanJoseDawg

November 28th, 2009
11:39 pm

Where’s that girly Saint Simons? ACC is soooooo over-rated. I hope the Dawgs pull it back together next year for a better season.

Paul H

November 28th, 2009
11:39 pm

((((((30-24)))))) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Dan Hurst

November 28th, 2009
11:39 pm

Do you feel it? Can you smell it? The Universe is finally balanced again in College Football! GO DAWGS!

herschelsalterego

November 28th, 2009
11:39 pm

anybody see willie around here?

Tim Gardner

November 28th, 2009
11:39 pm

Mark: Do you think Richt flat-out outcoached Johnson? Interested to know your opinions.

BWH Dawg

November 28th, 2009
11:39 pm

No one cares what your opinion is Mark. You don’t know anything about football. Stick to journalism and grammar.

Congratulate the Dawgs the STFU.

uga95

November 28th, 2009
11:39 pm

I guess Tech won’t be getting new rings this year.

ain't simons

November 28th, 2009
11:40 pm

30-24! hahahahahahaaha!

Saint UGAVII

November 28th, 2009
11:40 pm

30-24! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

Calhoundawg

November 28th, 2009
11:40 pm

God, I’ve waited all year for this — ((((((((30-24))))))))) hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
A bowl win and we keep the streak alive !!!
Go Dawgs !!!!!

Saint Simons

November 28th, 2009
11:40 pm

30-24

HAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA

OriginalDawgs

November 28th, 2009
11:40 pm

Such a sweet bit of redemption at the expense of the ATL NERDS…GO DAWGSSSSSSS

hugedawgfan

November 28th, 2009
11:40 pm

Now we see that GT would be a joke if they played in the SEC. I really think their defense is worse than ours. Yes, Yes, Yes.

Wait…………….

For……………….

It…………………

30-24!!!!!!!!!!!! THWGT

cdbgolf

November 28th, 2009
11:40 pm

Where is St.Simons?????? 30- 24!!!!!!!!!!
Tech Sucks!!!!!!