The Bulldogs didn’t just outplay Tech – they outcoached it, too

Give that man a hand, if not a great big kiss. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Give that Bulldog a hand, if not a great big kiss. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

This time a year ago, it was possible to wonder if the Georgia Bulldogs would ever again outsmart an opponent. On Saturday they outsmarted Georgia Tech. And there, if anyone still wondered how 0-2 became 10-2, was the answer.

It wasn’t just that these Bulldogs have good players — Georgia always has good players — or that the schedule eased after those first two games. It was that Georgia, which hadn’t played to its gifts since 2007, coalesced around a coach and his staff.

Back to 0-2. “That was when we closed the door,” said tight end Orson Charles, “and we said, ‘We’ve got to stop playing for ourselves.’ We need to play for this guy.”

By “this guy,” Charles meant Mark Richt, who has done in his 11th Georgia season something that’s difficult to do in contemporary college football. Richt has fought off the doubt accrued over three underachieving seasons and hoisted his Bulldogs back to eminence. They have two championships in the bank — the SEC East was clinched last week against Kentucky; the state title was secured Saturday against Tech — and will play for a third next weekend against LSU, the finest team in the land.

“We’ve got the best coaches in the SEC,” said center Ben Jones, and on this day his boast carried some weight. Georgia beat Tech as handily as Tech under Paul Johnson is ever beaten, and the difference wasn’t so much manpower as brainpower. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo had one of  his finest days, and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham capped a stellar second season by keeping Johnson’s prized option-based spread from doing nearly enough.

And let’s be honest: There were those among us, this correspondent among them, who weren’t sure we’d see such a day. Johnson’s first bunch of Jackets went to Athens and beat a Georgia team that had entered the season ranked No. 1 in the nation, and last year Tech amassed 512 yards behind its backup quarterback against a Grantham-coached D. (To be fair, Richt got the better of Johnson in 2009, when Georgia used power football to upset the team that would win the ACC.) But it must be said: When last the Bulldogs beat Tech this bad, Chan Gailey got fired two days later.

The key was that Georgia got ahead early, and it did because Bobo cogitated like a young Steve Spurrier on a caffeine jag. Isaiah Crowell, Georgia’s best tailback, didn’t play, and Richard Samuel, his injured backup, hasn’t worked since the Florida game. Carlton Thomas, the No. 3 man, was coming off his third suspension of the season and didn’t start. And still Bobo conjured up 17 first-half points.

Of Georgia’s first six running plays, only one involved a player listed as a running back. Branden Smith, normally a cornerback, carried twice. Quarterback Aaron Murray carried twice, and the niftiest moment was a double-reverse to receiver Malcolm Mitchell. Said Bobo: “We were trying to mix them up, give them something different … Our base plan for the game was to be balanced, but as the game went on I thought the best way to win was by throwing.”

Murray complied, completing 19 of 29 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns. Nine different receivers caught those 19 passes. Said Richt: “Mike did a great job … Mike dialed up some beauties.”

As for Grantham: His defense yielded a touchdown at the end of the first half and another near the end of the second, but never did the Tech ground game appear as dangerous as in Georgia games past. Even in the first half, Johnson was forced to call inside handoffs to his A-backs — a play the Jackets seldom use — to approximate an up-the-gut push. “And once we took that away from them,” Grantham said, “we were back to controlling the game.”

Down two touchdowns in the third quarter, Johnson got antsy. His Jackets didn’t look capable of sustaining a series of long drives — they’d managed one seven-minute surge in the first half — and he called for Tevin Washington to throw, which isn’t a Tech strength. The resulting two interceptions killed all hope.

And that, in surprisingly simple fashion, was that. Georgia beat Tech and its coaches trumped Tech’s coaches and, after 10 consecutive victories, the matter of Richt’s job security has been tabled. He has his Bulldogs back where they’re supposed to be: Atop the SEC East, playing for the conference championship, shrugging off Georgia Tech.

“I didn’t celebrate as much after this one as I did last week,” Richt said, and there was no real need. In this state, order has been restored to nature. Why celebrate a given?

By Mark Bradley

961 comments Add your comment

Matt

November 26th, 2011
5:32 pm

James

November 26th, 2011
5:36 pm

GO DAWGS! Won the East, then the state! Next we get the SEC!

DawgEd

November 26th, 2011
5:37 pm

headley lamar

November 26th, 2011
5:38 pm

Beat LSU and this turns into a magical year

Bob_UGA90

November 26th, 2011
5:39 pm

First – Go dawgs, baby! Bring on the tigers!

Angry Tech Nerd

November 26th, 2011
5:39 pm

But! But! Paul Johnson is a genius!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How can we keep losing with a genius for a head coach? I’m so PO’d I might close out my World of Warcraft account and subscribe to The Sporting News!

headley lamar

November 26th, 2011
5:40 pm

I figured we would hear about how CPJ outcoached Richt for sure,

How many rushing yards did Tech have again?

Angry Tech Nerd

November 26th, 2011
5:40 pm

Paul Johnson is a genius.

Nanner Puddin

November 26th, 2011
5:42 pm

Were still running the state and Paul Johnson is still acting like a buffoon!

Dawgs97

November 26th, 2011
5:43 pm

“like”

Go to hell, Tech. And back to your moms basement so you can try and “beat us” on the keyboard since you can’t beat us on the field.

We always thought you were classless nerds, but your nasty remarks about Larry Munson, the week he died, is a new low. To hell with Tech. Now go away, nerds.

DawgEd

November 26th, 2011
5:44 pm

Bobo looked pretty smart, especially for a supposed dunce squaring off with a supposed genius. I hope Dawg fans will start giving him some of the credit he deserves.

Reggiesballs

November 26th, 2011
5:44 pm

Tech, I’m curious, is this another moral victory like last year?

Trevinb

November 26th, 2011
5:45 pm

Time to face fact…..Teck sucks

out of league

November 26th, 2011
5:46 pm

tech / johnson—great fit for the weak acc—in matchups with good SEc teams—no contest. Keep Paul!!! Give him a raise!!!! Recruit another weak armed QB!!!!

Tobias Funke

November 26th, 2011
5:47 pm

TO ALL RICHT HATERS:

How the hell does that CROW taste?

Calvin's Johnson

November 26th, 2011
5:47 pm

I suspect that Tech will now beat us at Chess and call it a “wash”.

Turkeyneck

November 26th, 2011
5:47 pm

Did any dawg fans get punched in the face?

Ga Wins

November 26th, 2011
5:48 pm

Great win…one of the best games all season and a good tune up for next week.

SInce it seems that we are relying more and more on passing to win games, why not move Crowell (if he canplay) to wide receiver. Maybe out there he won’t get hurt as quickly and we might actually keep him in the game for 4 quarters.

Catdawg

November 26th, 2011
5:49 pm

Nothing better than beating catfish faced, turkey neck coach Johnson. What a classes JERK!! By the way UGA still runs this state!! Coach Johnson I believe Wal-Mart is hiring for the holiday season.

Mark Bradley

November 26th, 2011
5:49 pm

Kudos, Matt.

We still run this state

November 26th, 2011
5:49 pm

CPJ, Wal Mart called and they said they can put your Bulldog sweatshirt on layaway, since you’ll be out of a job soon.

Turkeyneck

November 26th, 2011
5:50 pm

Now tech fans back to the babylon 5 marathon on upn.

Tobias Funke

November 26th, 2011
5:50 pm

Schultz will do a follow up article on Paul Johnson’s class and wisdom.

Where’s the fish fry?

Anyone else hear the Tech students booing during the Munson tribute? No class Nerds.

lewisbuzzard

November 26th, 2011
5:50 pm

MB what game were you watching? Tech ran the ball over Grantham’s vaunted defense in the first half. 165 yds, 3 time UGA avg. Johnson panicked after the opening kick in the second half by trying to become a passing offense even though we had a whole half of football left to put the pressure back on their defense. Keep your biased comments to yourself.

@DanWeiner

November 26th, 2011
5:51 pm

“On Saturday they outsmarted Georgia Tech. And there, if anyone still wondered how 0-2 became 10-2, was the answer”

Well there’s that and the terrible schedule they played after the South Carolina game.

gtne80

November 26th, 2011
5:51 pm

Groh MUST go! NO DEFENSE….stunk against VT and UGA when it counted. Almost gave it up to DUKE!!! BIG changes needed on defense. Groh’s 3-4, bend-don’t-break is killing us.

dawgjohn

November 26th, 2011
5:51 pm

Go Dawgs! Great win!!

Shine my shoes dawg

November 26th, 2011
5:51 pm

Terrible article – AJC bias so bad – clean up on aisle 12 dawgs

Cajun Boy

November 26th, 2011
5:52 pm

So it’s time for the doggies to choose – Should CMR get more upset during Saturday’s coming LSU blowout when the Tigers take a knee four times in a row with time five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, as Coach Miles ordered his team to do a week ago to spare Ole Miss further humiliation? He was criticized for showing the Ole Missy defense a lack of respect. Or, should Miles continue to try to score like he did Friday against Arkansas, which got “Coach” Petrino’s snout all flared and stuff. Be sure to pick your poison before Saturday, little doggies. LSU ain’t Tech. Pro tip: Be sure to send one of your shrimpy WRs out to jaw with No. 7 after he makes a short catch early in the game. It’s a formula that simply works.

Reggiesballs

November 26th, 2011
5:52 pm

Anyone seen Saint Simons? It’s been a few years since he posted his daily score update from their 1 win in their last 10 tries.

Joe Mama Angie Daddy

November 26th, 2011
5:52 pm

Hey CPJ, take your offense back to division 1Awhere it belongs

KBP

November 26th, 2011
5:53 pm

Great win. Rivalry games are often unpredictable. Gotta give Bobo credit, he called a great game.

Tobias Funke

November 26th, 2011
5:53 pm

If only UGA could play Tech 12 times a year.

JB

November 26th, 2011
5:53 pm

2.5 million dollar question ( Johnson salary)…. After 4 years he’s at .661%, no bowl wins, 1-3 against the most important game on their schedule and has gotten them on probation….yet they love him. I don’t get it….Maybe that AD that left had it right…..8 wins is big at Tech.

Joe Mama Angie Daddy

November 26th, 2011
5:53 pm

Chris

November 26th, 2011
5:54 pm

bobo has done a great job this season! he doesn’t get enough credit because of grantham and our brilliant defense! Great win! Go Dawgs!
East- Check
State- Check
South east- Ask me in a week
Nation- Next year baby

Heath

November 26th, 2011
5:54 pm

And all of the prognosticators who picked Tech will start saying Georgia hasn’t played anybody….now!

Mark Bradley

November 26th, 2011
5:55 pm

Tech didn’t overrun Georgia in the first half. Tech might have had 164 rushing yards — but it scored only 10 points, punted twice and was 2 of 7 on third-down conversions.

GWJ

November 26th, 2011
5:56 pm

10 out of 11……..31 out of 42…….it just NEVER gets old!!!!!!!!

Turkeyneck

November 26th, 2011
5:56 pm

Mark Richt…10 and 1 against Tech…we run this city…now go comb your hair with more buttered toast..NERDS!!!!! TECH FANS…YOUR TEAM SUCKS!!!

JB

November 26th, 2011
5:56 pm

Groh ought to retire…..but you’ll find he’s not all of the problem. Mars Hill and Western Carolina type players on the D are the REAL problem.

TampaGator

November 26th, 2011
5:57 pm

Sitting here listening to the pre-game Gator show…..and the Gator announcers and one said this about Georgia chances against LSU:

“There (Georgia) have a very physical defense that is playing well right now…..and a good offense….. sometimes good and sometimes not so good, but I think they do have a chance against LSU. LSU is really good, but Georgia is playing well right now. I would say they have a chance.”

….and this is a former Gator saying that.

Jim 70

November 26th, 2011
5:57 pm

Hopefully a third year will help grohs defense but pj’s offense sure did not show up. Thankfully he got tw out of the game. Days vs lee next year with tw as a back.

Go tech, need a bowl win and some acc bb victories. Being way out of town, thanks for all the reporting, was miserable prior to the Internet.

ViningsDawg

November 26th, 2011
5:58 pm

Yawnnnnnn… Another Dawg Stomp over the insects… A hobnail boot is too good for GT!

Gator Hater

November 26th, 2011
5:58 pm

Tech, what’s up with back-to-back 12 men on the filed faults? Are you guys trying to cheat?

UGAGIRL

November 26th, 2011
5:59 pm

Oh, Cajun Boy . . . you are worried about the UGA/LSU game? We are the SEC East Chanps, what is Tech? Can’t even win against your in-state rivarly? Don’t worry about the Dawgs and LSU, you aint seen nothing yet!

Tyler

November 26th, 2011
5:59 pm

“why celebrate a given?”

Spot on.

Its Just Horseplay

November 26th, 2011
5:59 pm

JB, Tech does not have the resources other schools have. The students they recruit are not of the same calibre due to the facilities and academic requirements. If your a kid out out of the hood, do you want to go to school in the hood? 8 wins at tech is good.

Gator Hater

November 26th, 2011
5:59 pm

I thought counting numbers is your strength, isn’t it, nerd?

UGAGIRL

November 26th, 2011
5:59 pm

Is this the year that Tech wins a Bowl game?