UGA dominates those other Bulldogs but doesn’t quite dazzle

The scoreboard tells only part of the story. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

The scoreboard doesn't tell all, or even most, of the story. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Athens — Back in August, the thought of Georgia, ranked No. 19 in the preseason Associated Press poll, taking a three-touchdown lead on Mississippi State, then No. 20, would have stirred the senses. On Saturday, the sight of Georgia with an actual 21-point lead on Mississippi State had, if you can believe it, a dulling effect.

The home Bulldogs led by 21 points and won by 14, but it might have been the most lopsided 14-point game in the history of humankind. “We could have scored way more points,” said Isaiah Crowell, the freshman tailback. “At least three more touchdowns.”

Which would have meant Georgia winning by 35 or even 42 points, which would have been something even if the Starkville Bulldogs are the leaders in the clubhouse for Most Overrated Team of 2011 dishonors. This game never looked close, never felt close. Georgia was clearly the better — nay, the dominant — team.

The only reason this was reduced to a two-touchdown game for its final 8 1/2 minutes was because Georgia kept tripping over Georgia. It had three turnovers — all Aaron Murray interceptions, each worse than the one before — and eight penalties. It botched two more field goals. (At Ole Miss, it had botched three.) Mississippi State could have worked a dozen more quarters and not managed a touchdown against Todd Grantham’s defense, but in the end State wound up scoring against Georgia’s offense.

“We’ve got to finish games,” said Murray, who has in five games thrown nearly as many interceptions (six) as in a full season as a freshman (eight). “We’ve gotten good leads, but we’ve got to continue piling it on.”

Georgia led 21-3 at the half. The margin could have been more, but 18 points is a healthy spread. Not so healthy was the sight of Georgia scoring three second-half points against State the week after it managed three second-half points against Ole Miss. It had 237 yards in the first half, 78 in the second.

Crowell rushed 12 times for 90 yards in the first two quarters, 10 times for 14 yards in the next two. “I take myself out,” he said. “Sometimes I’m tired or have an ache or something like that.”

Really? And that explains why understudies Richard Samuel and Carlton Thomas had 12 second-half carries between them, why the third-stringer Thomas was on the field for the series after State cut Georgia’s lead to 14 points after returning Murray’s last interception to score?

Er, no. Said Mark Richt, Georgia’s coach: “We have a certain [tailback] rotation. We’re not really interested in getting Isaiah 30 carries a game.”

Students of history will recall that Georgia did something similarly confounding with Knowshon Moreno, and Moreno also would appear to remove himself for some reason or another. The idea is sound enough — keep a fresh back in the game — but the effect, now as then, is to give the opponent a chance. (Let the record show, however, that Thomas did convert two third downs that enabled Georgia to exhale.)

Afterward, Richt said MSU coach Dan Mullen told him he was impressed with Georgia’s team, and we all should be. These Bulldogs have steadied after the Boise State and South Carolina losses, and they’re showing the surpassing talent — in Crowell, in receiver Malcolm Mitchell, in this suddenly ravenous defense — that Richt has gathered. They’re also doing enough silly stuff to remind us that this is Georgia.

Richt: “In order to keep winning, we’re going to have to play on offense for 60 minutes, not 30.”

Perhaps Tennessee will offer stiffer opposition in Knoxville next week. Perhaps the true test won’t come until Georgia heads to Jacksonville at October’s end. For now, all we can know is that the Bulldogs haven’t suffered the crushing loss that would have quashed any thought of recovery and declared open season on speculation regarding possible Richt successors. There’s enough time and surely enough talent for Georgia to make something of this season.

For now, an odd commanding-yet-halting victory in the bank, Richt was thankful for smaller favors. “It’s good to be above .500,” he said of his 3-2 team. “It’s been a while since we’ve been there.”

By Mark Bradley

377 comments Add your comment

Thomas Dimitroff is a moron

October 1st, 2011
5:23 pm

Murray is stinking.

Coach Richt can’t hope for Tenn, FL, and Tech to be as inept as Miss St

I still think Richt better hope these freshmen grow quick….

Or else Richt will be fired. And probably that will be good for our Dawgs

GeoffDawg

October 1st, 2011
5:27 pm

A win is a win. Let’s just pull for Auburn and hope we straighten out the miscues by next week. Knoxville is no place to throw three picks.

SatillaDawg

October 1st, 2011
5:30 pm

Sanders Commings! Give that Dawg a bone! Go Dawgs!

Sam

October 1st, 2011
5:32 pm

Its a good win…D looked really good,would like to see the o-line do a better job in the 2nd half.

Thomas Dimitroff is a moron

October 1st, 2011
5:32 pm

Sorry, I guess what I’m trying to say:

You can see that UGA has lots of young talent.

But is this young talent being coached up?

Tough to see that part

brandon

October 1st, 2011
5:33 pm

Murray’s gotta get smarter with the football.

VA DAWG

October 1st, 2011
5:37 pm

A ugly win is better than a pretty loss. The barn won a NC that way last year. If we’re up when the clock hits 0:00, I’ll be happy. However, I would love to see an offensive performance in the second half that wasn’t so inept. Defense continues to impress. Go DAWGS!

Kobie

October 1st, 2011
5:37 pm

I agree that the offense needs to stop stalling and either making killing penalties or turning the ball over at the most inopportune time. But 2 comments to go along with Mark. 1, those 2 freshman Crowell and Mitchell look very good and our 2 of the best players on offense hands down. 2, that defense is looking really good as well and is putting pressure on teh quaterback and always seems to have their hands on the ball. A great defense can carry you a long way. Not saying they are great yet, but they are really good so far.

Grantham

October 1st, 2011
5:37 pm

Coach Richt deserves a contract extension after today

george

October 1st, 2011
5:38 pm

The one thing that stood out to me is that there was yet another pre game skirmish in a uga game. Imagine that. Keep it classy thuga.

raymond

October 1st, 2011
5:40 pm

Unless this team gets to where it can play 4 quarters they are going to have long days against Fla, Auburn, Tenn, and Tech. they played with fire the first half and phoned it in the second. They have to get where they capitalize on the turnovers they get and Murray absolutely has to stop turning it over. Coach Richt, Crowell can run would it kill you get get him outside with a toss sweep instead of everything being an off tackle run. Crowell looks good in spite of the terrible play calling.

Bartow Dawg

October 1st, 2011
5:41 pm

If there is a tailback rotation it should be Crowell 80% of the time.

Billy Jack could fight

October 1st, 2011
5:43 pm

I think we are getting better every week…and it sickens me that we didn’t beat the gamecocks…man, that loss hurts…

Desert Fox

October 1st, 2011
5:45 pm

It was ugly al.right. The dawgs do enuf to win and do enough to make you pull your hair out. It should of been a blowout. Three times (?) inside the redzone and no points?? two dropped int’s that would have been TD’s (Commings and Boykin). However, they did redeem themselves w/several pik’s. The FL duo of Walsh and Murray do puzzle at times. Three int’s and one went for 6. Maybe we ought to just allow the opposition from now on an automatic pik six instead of anguishing thru them week after week. The Offense can’t tackle for crap. IC did run for over 100 however when you need him most late in the game he’s out!?!? Thank goodness for the frostproof flash (#30) and his big 3rd down run late in 4th qtr. He also scored a TD. IC, please whatever ails you get over it!!!!

The D did well overall. However, MSU is not the same team GA lost to last season. They also shot themselves in the foot several times but cannot take anything away from the dawgs D. GA will have to play a full game on offense, all 4 qtrs, if it expects to beat AU, FL and TN. This playing only 1/2 of football and crapping out in the 2d half won’t cut it. And, bench Walsh.

todd grantham

October 1st, 2011
5:48 pm

Murray is a bit of an enigma. He typically can make a play when he’s under heavy pressure; but when he has a little bit of time he tends to throw the ball into heavy traffic.

HM

October 1st, 2011
5:50 pm

No PT for Mason. I don’t get it. 4thQ was the time to get him some work. BoBo must have been afraid Mason would outperform AM. BoBo doesn’t want to bench his boy! Doesn’t want a QB controversy.

Tom

October 1st, 2011
5:50 pm

just like last week, to only score 3 points in the 2nd half is pathetic! The offense has to pick it up! The defense played fairly well today, but there was potential for State to come back and win.

Tom

October 1st, 2011
5:51 pm

more points in 2nd half!!!!

NoAxeToGrind

October 1st, 2011
5:53 pm

Another nothing win against a nothing team which proves nothing. Neither Ole Miss nor MS.State have an offense. Richt is hanging on by the skin of his teeth. We’ll find out what kind of coaching job Richt has done when UGa plays FL. That should answer the question one way or the other. What if Richt accidentally wins 9 games but loses (again) to FL? What will McGarity do?

MB63

October 1st, 2011
5:53 pm

Anybody still looking to replace Richt with Mullen today??

todd grantham

October 1st, 2011
5:55 pm

Offense: Grantham’s Grade: B- (they got lazy and carefree with the football in the second half)
Defense: Grantham’s Grade: A (would be A plus if the DB’s could catch the ball)
Special Teams: Grantham’s Grades: Coverage A, Punting A, Place Kicking D. (Poor Walsh has gone from Savant to Idiot)

Richard Alpert

October 1st, 2011
5:55 pm

I do not understand….
1) Why Richard Samuel still has a uniform
2) Why Bobo still has a parking pass, but since he does, why can’t he stick with what works for an entire game
3) What in the hell is wrong with Blair Walsh

CRO MAGNON

October 1st, 2011
5:59 pm

It’s Coach Bobo’s fault…Can you believe he threw those interceptions, and then had the audacity to miss those field goals also….Can you believe it???

todd grantham

October 1st, 2011
6:01 pm

so which team do we have? the first half or the second half group?

the second half group tends to show up at the most inopportune times.

CRO MAGNON

October 1st, 2011
6:01 pm

I hope you Mullen for Richt dumbA$$es got your eyes full today….Shows how little you know about football, everything you put on here is a knee jerk reaction and not thought out…

Harry Dawg

October 1st, 2011
6:02 pm

I love it, they’re gonna have to, “play on Offense for 60 minutes”. It looks more like Richt is calling the first half and Booboo is calling the second, or Booboo is getting better on the first half and forgets to make adjustments for the second.

Did Booboo figure to run the “4 minute offense” for the entire second half?

todd grantham

October 1st, 2011
6:02 pm

not motivating a team for 60 minutes seems to be a coaching issue.

CRO MAGNON

October 1st, 2011
6:03 pm

Thought Mullen was an offensive genius…Just shows that no matter the coach, they must have the talent…His QB couldn’t hit a bull in the A$$ with a base fiddle….

1953dawg

October 1st, 2011
6:04 pm

Murray once again showed why UGA is below .500 with him at Q.B. THis guy is a loser, always has been, always will be. And it shows how pathetic Bobo and Richt are to continue to allow this loser to start at Q.B. Uga would dominate teams with an average Q.B., but these 2 clowns Bobo&Richt have no idea what a winning Q.B. look like. This team will not win but1 more SEC win with this pathetic Q.B. Tenn, Fl,will kill this moron, and UGA can only hope he doesn’t turn the ball over 3 times. How could any UGA fan support Richt when he continues to start a Q.B. that is the worst Q.B. in the SEC. It is a shame for UGA fans to have to watch this terrible Q.B. who has still never beaten a team with a winning record start and kill every drive UGa has on offense. How many fucku–s does this loser have to have before the brilliant Richt and bobo realize that this guy doesn’t have what it take to win. Maybe next year, but i don’t think McGarity has any more sense than Richt or bobo UGA=the 3 stooges. Richt, Bobo, and McGarity

CRO MAGNON

October 1st, 2011
6:04 pm

If they don’t win by 50, its Coach Bobo’s fault…Or maybe George Bush’s fault…

todd grantham

October 1st, 2011
6:05 pm

Grantham’s success. is making Bobo look more and more like a very weak link on the staff

todd grantham

October 1st, 2011
6:06 pm

CRO, nor could the QB pour piss ou.t of a boot with an arrow on it

todd grantham

October 1st, 2011
6:08 pm

i’ll even bet that QB has trouble hitting a urinal.

BobDog

October 1st, 2011
6:10 pm

We did the same thing against South Carolina but they were good enough to beat us. Somewhat the same with Boise. We haven’t had a good second half of football.

Is it lack of conditioning?

Definitely lack of concentration.

Shane

October 1st, 2011
6:15 pm

IC- so much talent..no heart…2 rushes for no gain “coach take me out”… kinda wierd…seems to have the coaches by the balls. 3 times 3rd long – 2 yard pass to charles- 2 incompletions and 1 just short of 1st? 3rd and inches… Samuel gets stuffed (my grandma could knock him down)Murray looks so good then SOOOO bad??? very frustraiting?!@#$%$#

Gym Rat

October 1st, 2011
6:15 pm

Auburn is not good AT ALL. They stink. And we get them at home. We’ll kill them.

Kentucky? Please.

We’ll beat Tennessee next week and then crush Vandy.

I’ve said all along, Florida is the only team that stands in our way of running the table.

ATgotBling

October 1st, 2011
6:17 pm

How can a team with the largest O-line in ALL of football not be able to get a first down on third and inches? This team should be dominating the line of scrimmage, yet looks mediocre at best. And I agree about Crowell spending way too much time on the sidelines. He can’t hit the homerun when he is catching his breath every other play.

Wow

October 1st, 2011
6:18 pm

Georgia beat MSU… hey.. at least its a win… and better than Coastal Carolina !!

td

October 1st, 2011
6:20 pm

Where are all the so called critics that said last week “there was no way UGA would beat MS”? They disappeared. They must really be Tech fans pretending to be UGA fans because there game is on right now or they have realized there call for everyone’s head is lost for another season. I hope if they are UGA fans that they are finding another team to root for and just disappear for good.

browndog

October 1st, 2011
6:21 pm

A win is a win!

HM

October 1st, 2011
6:21 pm

You guys are giving the defense too much credit. It was CMR coaching the fans how to be loud that stopped MSU. Who says he can’t coach?

FYI....

October 1st, 2011
6:21 pm

Georgia Tech is 5-0

Hey..

October 1st, 2011
6:23 pm

Coach Richt looks good on those Ford commercials… and … carpet commercials…

GTT

October 1st, 2011
6:27 pm

The people who “support” their team by hoping for the coach to get fired, rather than return to his 10-wins-a-year ways is beyond disgusting. You people are truly repugnant.

Gym Rat

October 1st, 2011
6:28 pm

GT is 1-9 vs. Georgia in the last 10 years

Brett Favre was once a Falcon

October 1st, 2011
6:30 pm

An SEC win is a beautiful thing. It’s not something to complain about.

Ring that chapel bell.

interesting

October 1st, 2011
6:30 pm

finish 7-5– offense and defense cant play a complete game. Tenn, Fla, Auburn, GT– lose 3 out of 4 games due to inability to play complete games. Coaching is the downfall.

Gym Rat

October 1st, 2011
6:31 pm

So you honestly think Auburn is better than UGA? Tennessee too? What makes you so sure?

And Georgia’s record vs. GT speaks for itself

jay

October 1st, 2011
6:33 pm

No one I know wants Richt to get fired. However, making $3,000,000 a year while coaching,
and playing .500 ball is not cutting it. Three points in the 2nd half two weeks in a
row is not a sign of a team improving. When IS he going to return to 10 wins a year? I doubt
it will be this year. Hope I’m wrong, but doubt it.

Billy Jack could fight @ Hey..

October 1st, 2011
6:36 pm

Not bad…I’m LMAO….the carpet did it…