UGA heads to Jacksonville having left Kentucky in the dust

These were six of Washaun Ealey's 30 points. (AP photo)

These were six of Washaun Ealey's 30 points. (AP photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — On the morning of Oct. 9, the Georgia Bulldogs were 1-4. We mention this because … well, because it’s Oct. 25 and they sure as heck aren’t 1-4 anymore.

They’re a robust 4-4, having won three SEC games by the aggregate score of 128-45. They’re 4-4 headed to Jacksonville in a better frame of mind than the hated Gators, who’ve lost three in a row. They’re 4-4 and maybe they haven’t beaten the Who’s Who of BCS Bullies, but it wasn’t so long ago Georgia couldn’t beat anybody anywhere.

And now you’re asking: Is this apparent resurgence the real deal or just a red (and black) herring? And the answer is …

It’s real for this simple reason: Georgia was far too talented to have been 1-4, and we’re finally seeing what happens when that talent is brought to bear. The Bulldogs won big in a place where South Carolina lost just last week not only because Kentucky messed up — though the Wildcats did more than their share of that — but because some big-time players made big-time plays.

Brandon Boykin took another kickoff back 100 yards. A.J. Green rose up a couple of times and reminded us that he’s the best receiver among collegians. (Also that he was sorely missed throughout September.) Justin Houston did a Lawrence Taylor all over the Big Blue — sacking the quarterback, recovering a fumble, coming within a step of making his own Kroy Biermann deflect-catch-and-score memory.

And Washaun Ealey, whose fumbles on the goal line and misadventure in the parking garage became the symbol of that staggering start, came to the Bluegrass and rewrote his bio. He’s no longer Washaun Ealey, the man who cannot be trusted in the red zone. He’s now Washaun Ealey, the Bulldog who nearly outscored Kentucky by himself.

Five touchdowns for Ealey and one for Boykin and three early Kentucky fumbles made this easier than it should have been. (And a cosmetic fourth-quarter rally made the final score closer than the game itself.) Georgia got way ahead — it was 28-3 after 23-plus minutes — and buttoned it down. Aaron Murray threw only 12 passes, and that wasn’t because the offensive minds Mark Richt and Mike Bobo got stupid; it was because they got smart.

The first rule of politics also is the first rule of football: When your opponent is in the process of destroying himself, get out of the way. The ‘Dogs applied enough early defensive pressure to discombobulate the ‘Cats, and the rest was simply for form’s sake.

Yes, there were too many times when Houston and the rushers didn’t put Mike Hartline on the ground, and the Kentucky quarterback found unencumbered receivers. But we saw clearly here that Todd Grantham’s 3-4 can deal with a multi-faceted offense that’s cleverly constructed, and it’s unclear we can say half as much about Florida’s shockingly inept attack.

Simply put, Georgia goes to Jacksonville with a chance to stamp itself as the only real challenger to South Carolina in the SEC East, and who among us saw that coming after the losses in Starkville and Boulder? If you’re asking if this defense looks capable of derailing Cam Newton’s run to the Heisman at Auburn on Nov. 13, the answer frankly is no. But it could come a monsoon that day and Georgia might win 3-0 on a 60-yard field goal by Blair Walsh.

What’s important is that the Bulldogs have given themselves a chance to right a season going wrong. Sure, the schedule has had much to do with it, but the early schedule was tougher than calculus. (Especially without Green for Games 1-4.) A youngish team has gotten better the more it has played, and these past three weeks it has been pretty doggone good.

The Tennessee and Vanderbilt games were in Athens. The Kentucky game always loomed as the pre-Jacksonville obstacle, and Georgia came to Commonwealth Stadium and stacked 44 points on Kentucky and never let the hosts have a sniff at victory. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but it came at a perfect time.

286 comments Add your comment

Tuckdawg

October 23rd, 2010
11:05 pm

Other than a lazy D at the end of the game very nice game. Now lets get un the gaytors butt! GATA GO DAWGS!!!!!!

uga1989

October 23rd, 2010
11:06 pm

merbertmoover

October 23rd, 2010
11:07 pm

3rd baby….mmmhmmm

Jim Doanan as in Doans Pills

October 23rd, 2010
11:07 pm

Good win ! Gotta still work on the D

efuzz

October 23rd, 2010
11:07 pm

Enter your comments here

bigdawg88

October 23rd, 2010
11:08 pm

I don’t know how well Cam throws the ball. I think we can outscore Auburn.

OoltewahDawg

October 23rd, 2010
11:08 pm

Enter your comments here

merbertmoover

October 23rd, 2010
11:08 pm

man, i don’t know why we kept running with ealey at the end of the game….dangerous….why not let little carlton carry some of the load?

Finchdawg

October 23rd, 2010
11:08 pm

Meyer with a week off is going to be a lot tougher after seeing what the Cats did to our D in the 2nd half, but we’ve got a much better shot than we did last year with our week off!

MichiganDawg

October 23rd, 2010
11:10 pm

Yeah, I agree. I believe the Georgia plan tonight on both sides of the ball was by design. Georgia play smart football tonight. Florida is being lured into a trap.

wpww

October 23rd, 2010
11:10 pm

we WILL beat florida!!!!

OoltewahDawg

October 23rd, 2010
11:10 pm

The win might have been a bit ugly, but I’ll take it. Mark agree with your assessment of the upcoming SEC games. Florida looks very beatable, but no way the Dawgs win the Auburn game with a defensive performance like today.

misterwax

October 23rd, 2010
11:11 pm

just at the same time the wheels are falling off the wreck…. nothing like good timing.

Who Cares

October 23rd, 2010
11:13 pm

UGAG! Congrats on winning your first road game against lowly KY. Your 4-4 and the losing begins again with UF, AUB and GT. I think you can beat Idaho State, but who knows. No bowl game for you and a 5-7 season. hey, who knows, maybe you still win the NC. LMFAO You all suck azz

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
11:13 pm

The Gator game will come down to the Special Teams. Neither Team is great on O or D, but a Return for a TD of a Long Field Goal could well be the difference.

playing time

October 23rd, 2010
11:13 pm

They need to just let Vance Cuff watch.

merbertmoover

October 23rd, 2010
11:14 pm

@ finchdawg – true, but i don’t think we revealed too much of our offensive gameplan….we just ran it a bunch, so in that sense i think we were pretty lucky….

Snellville Dawg

October 23rd, 2010
11:15 pm

We blew them out, regardless of the cosmetic scores in the 4th. If a guy rushes for 5 TD’s, then you’re dominating. Plus, isn’t Kentucky the highest scoring offense in the SEC (or second?)? Let’s take the inferior offense of the gaytors out of the game early and let Ealey and King run wild next week! GO DAWGS!

Ginger

October 23rd, 2010
11:16 pm

Glad to get the victory tonight..Bright spots were there and we have improved a good bit from the beginning of the season…..but still have things to clean up and work on.
1. Gotta to get better at pass defense—too many yards given up tonight..albeit Hartline studies a lot of film and does a lot of prep work–has a brother that plays for Dolphins and he knows about extra film study and weight room work.

2. Rushing football tonight was good..but got to get the ball to AJ more–more shots down the field…throw down field 25 yards plus to AJ about 5 times and he makes a least 2 or 3 big plays if not more…Get the most out of AJ as this is probably last year with us.

3. Want to see more playmakers on offense…speed kills.

Cocktail Party

October 23rd, 2010
11:16 pm

The worlds largest cocktail party features two crappy teams, both unranked. UF 4-3 and sucking and UGAG 4-4 and always sucking. Have fun losing again in Jax for 18-21. Now, that’s an incredible stat to be happy about. Also, you won’t beat AUBURN, and you won’t beat GT. I think you can beat Idaho State, but not really sure. Your team sucks, so just admit it. Also, you brag about the almighty SEC, but the SEC East is weak as crapola. Hey, Give UGA VIII a bag of ice to lay on, pass around the red panties and get fired up for a game in JAX that doesn’t even matter. THWG! Hey, great win over powerhouse KY though.

5150 P.O.A.D.

October 23rd, 2010
11:16 pm

Mizzu is running on OU like hell.

dawgerbrown

October 23rd, 2010
11:16 pm

Glad we got help from Ky with the early turnovers, or UGA would have lost. We continue to be helpless at stopping teams on third and long, or, second and long. TD passes thrown against us that the DB’s never see. They don’t even make a play on the ball. Ky had receivers wide open all night on third and long and UGA can’t do the same. Outcoached once again.

Red

October 23rd, 2010
11:17 pm

To all you fairweather fans who jumped shipped on UGA and talked about firing CMR, please stay out of the blog! You’re not welcome in this ship.

To all you fairweather fans who jumped shipped on UGA and talked about firing CMR, please stay out of the blog! You’re not welcome in this ship.

To all you fairweather fans who jumped shipped on UGA and talked about firing CMR, please stay out of the blog! You’re not welcome in this ship.

To all you fairweather fans who jumped shipped on UGA and talked about firing CMR, please stay out of the blog! You’re not welcome in this ship.

RoswellDawg

October 23rd, 2010
11:17 pm

Let me say that a “W” is a “w”. However, as a loyal but critical Dawg fan, I think Bobo’s play calling was absolutely horrific in this game. Thank God that Ealey showed up for this game. It’s good to see him back to form and capable of handeling all the carries instead of splitting them with Caleb. Does kentucky have someone that can Match AJ, Orson Charles, Kris Durahm, etc? The answer is no. I saw time after time opportunities to play action ot AJ or one of the other targets, but we cont. to run the ball. props go to the O line, hell of a game guys. Geathers has made an immediate impact. What gives with our secondary and our D as a whole? They should have kept the Cats under 20 points but gave up with the game in hand. I hope the coaches noticed that too. Not trying to be doen right now, again, a win is a win. I’ll take it. Let’s go beat Fla’s azz!

FLA DAWG

October 23rd, 2010
11:17 pm

UT, Vandy and KY are not good teams this season. I’m not convinced about a meaninful turnaround. A win against Florida still leaves questions since The Gators stink.

But let’s agree you’re right – there is still no excuse for the miserable losses we had. So the question remains why can’t Richt get quality players ready for games.

We’ll know exactly what kind of team we have when we play Auburn.

RunLyndsey Run!

October 23rd, 2010
11:18 pm

Does it look like CMR is tacking charge? Please do tell about the hits up there, Houston ?

UGA BLOWS

October 23rd, 2010
11:18 pm

Snellville Dawg

You should be emabarrassed about bragging about beating KY in football, any year , any time. Just goes to show you that UGA football is on the downslide and your team blows. You lose to lowly UF, awesome AUBURN and GT beats you this year. Nothing better than watching the blowhard mutts at 5-7 and watching all the bowl games from their doublewides. Hey, nice first road win though. LMFAO!

Dylan

October 23rd, 2010
11:19 pm

Gah I haven’t felt this confident about the Cocktail Party since 2007. GO DAWGS!!

dawggirl

October 23rd, 2010
11:19 pm

Do you think that with Rainey coming back, the Gators will be tougher on offense? They’ve had a week off to rest and to retool what isn’t working for them. I still think it’s going to be a very tough game. Let’s face it, we suck in Jax.

Mark put a much more positive spin than I did on this win. I’m glad of course, but giving up 350+ passing yards isn’t a good thing. I’ll be rooting for UGA every step of the way, beat the Gators please!

Typical Mutt Fan

October 23rd, 2010
11:19 pm

UGA is the most awesomest team ever in the history of college football. In the most awesomest conference in the history of sports. Take the best teams from the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10, Big East, AFC South, NFC South, American League East, and they would still finish at the bottom of the Greatest Conference Ever. And Georgia is clearly the best team now IN THAT CONFERENCE!! Wow!!! Georgia will beat Florida 124-0. Then, it will be close, but they will beat Auburn 99-7 (Auburn will score because they do have Cam Newton and he’s OK). And pity the poor Yellow Jackets, my goodness those guys should just forfeit before someone gets hurt.

CJ_NC_DAWG

October 23rd, 2010
11:21 pm

KING back for Gators game…. He’s gonna be running very hard, like a man possessed when he gets his # called…. Ealey is showing what he’s capable of…and the playbook will get fully opened up for Murray….Gonna be a great game….Defense needs to get off the field on 3rd down, but you all know that….Go Dawgs!

yellow thunder

October 23rd, 2010
11:22 pm

if we can’t beat kansas or clemson, we should just drop football

Bride of Chucky Knapp

October 23rd, 2010
11:22 pm

Nice column. Will there be an article on the game or has AP not sent it over yet. I want to confirm what I saw really happened.

dawgerbrown

October 23rd, 2010
11:23 pm

Honestly, UGA contimues to be helpless at stopping teams in second and long, or third and long situations. Ky had receivers wide open all nite in those situations while UGA struggled. We continue to get outschemed and outcoached.

Johnny3Steps

October 23rd, 2010
11:23 pm

UGA 200 Florida 3 It wonts be evens close

Herschel Talker

October 23rd, 2010
11:24 pm

FIRE MARK RICHT

HBTD

October 23rd, 2010
11:25 pm

Cuff and Rambo are still huge liabilities in the secondary. Other than that, this team is darn good.

Larry

October 23rd, 2010
11:29 pm

With our defense and our coaching, Florida is going to beat us 77-0 and Auburn is going to do worse than that. We might get by Idaho State; but, we probably lose to that team across from the Varsity, too. What an ugly, uninspired win.

Left Foot

October 23rd, 2010
11:29 pm

Cam will get his but I don’t see Auburn stopping Georgia at all.

Bride of Chucky Knapp

October 23rd, 2010
11:29 pm

Ugh, we just won and already the comments are infested by Tech bugs. Can’t we fumigate?

South Georgia

October 23rd, 2010
11:29 pm

GA played a great game and still has much room for improvement. The highlight for me was stopping KY with a fourth and less than one. We still need to concentrate better on third down defense, but the overall aggressiveness is thrilling.

Flag Boy, The Permanent Mascot

October 23rd, 2010
11:30 pm

Who Cares, Typical Mutt Fan and UGA Blows, bring your multiple personalities over. I’m all set. Pick up some lube, I don’t want to hurt you.

Bottom Line

October 23rd, 2010
11:30 pm

Good solid win. 170 yards rushjng. No turnovers. Defense forced 4 turnovers. Bobo called great game. Defense great against rush. 1 player on defense gave up all 3 td passes, ( Branden Smith-get well soon, son). You folks griping about beating Kentucky never played football pass the JV level.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Macclenny_dawg

October 23rd, 2010
11:31 pm

Just a few things that concern me heading to Jax. The defense should have made some interceptions with us up big and knowing they were going to pass. Kentucky was nearly 75% on 3rd down. On 3rd down can’t we fake a blitz and move lb’s back a little more where we will quit giving up 10 to 20 yard passes. Play calling still an issue with us running all the time it allowed Kentucky to keep in striking distance. Still no killer instinct still way to conservative with a lead. Last Walsh is struggling. The last 2 games he hit the upright that was good and missed 2 field goals and a extra point!!! We need him confident against Florida!!! But overall keep winning the turnover battle and GATA!!! Go DAWGS BEAT THEM GAYTORS!!!!

Minnesota Dawg

October 23rd, 2010
11:31 pm

Who cares, who cares what you say! Go Dawgs!

Bart

October 23rd, 2010
11:36 pm

So many good things:
1- Houston wreaked havoc
2- Ealey’s 5 td’s
3- Boykin’s big td return
4- Grantham’s gameplan to corral Kentucky playmakers
5- Big catches from AJ
6- Cimmitted no turnovers
7- Forced 4 TO’s

The only mistakes:
1- Got a little too conservative on offense after getting a big lead
2- Defense got burned on blitzes time after time when it seemed the blitzes were unnecessary–gave up too many points and yards–played too aggresive–gave up too many big plays
3- Walsh had a bad day–missed a field goal and extra point

All in all, excellent performance.

Bulldawg Nation

October 23rd, 2010
11:37 pm

Man these tech fans are kinda sour over their lose to Clemson.

A win is a win and in college football ANY team can get beaten. So lowly or not we defeated Kentucky and now to take on those gators!

Go Dawgs! Love my team no matter what the scoreboard says

uga1989

October 23rd, 2010
11:39 pm

Bye, bye Phillies! I hope it hurts.

Ted Striker

October 23rd, 2010
11:41 pm

Nice column. I especially liked the 3-0 on a 60-yard field goal by Blair Walsh.

However, Walsh will have mono, Bogotay will have a tweaked hamstring, and UGA will win an a Drew Butler 64 yard field goal into the wind. Then Auburn groundskeepers will turn the hoses on UGA fans and sugar will fall from the sky as Larry Munson narrates from the broadcast booth while Scott Howard recovers from laryngitis.