Struggles continue in marquee games; team whipped but not flat, Richt says

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A dismal loss to South Carolina extended and exacerbated the Georgia football team’s multi-year trend of struggling — a lot — against top opponents.

Saturday night’s 35-7 loss — Georgia’s first game of the season against a ranked opponent and its first defeat of the season — dropped the Bulldogs’ record against Top 25 teams to 2-8 since the start of the 2010 season, including 0-4 against Top 10 teams.

And going back a bit further, the loss dropped the Bulldogs to 6-14 against Top 25 teams since the start of the 2008 season, including 1-9 against Top 10 opponents.

The impact of the loss on Georgia’s national reputation was quickly registered. Ranked No. 5 before the game, the Bulldogs tumbled Sunday to No. 14 in the Associated Press media poll and No. 12 in the USA Today coaches’ poll. South Carolina rose from No. 6 to No. 3 in both.

Asked late Saturday night how he responds to the perception that Georgia doesn’t rise to the occasion in high-profile games, UGA offensive lineman Chris Burnette said: “I can’t really dispute it because we haven’t.”

The Bulldogs’ only wins over ranked opponents in the past 2 1/2 seasons came last season against Auburn and Georgia Tech, Nos. 24 and 25, respectively, in the AP poll at the time of those games.

You have to go back to a 2009 victory over Tech, No. 7 at the time, to find Georgia’s most recent victory against a Top 10 opponent. Aside from that, the Bulldogs have lost to every such team they’ve faced in the past 4 ½ seasons: Alabama and Florida in 2008; Oklahoma State, LSU and Florida in 2009; Auburn in 2010; Boise State and LSU (SEC title game) in 2011; and South Carolina in 2012.

“We definitely want to make sure that in the future we can rise up to that occasion,” Burnette said. “We know what we’re capable of, but we’ve just got to go back and look at film and figure out what happened, what we did wrong.”

Saturday’s loss left Georgia (5-1, 3-1 SEC) a game behind South Carolina (6-0, 4-0) and Florida (5-0, 4-0) in the SEC East. Georgia doesn’t play this week, while South Carolina is at LSU and Florida at Vanderbilt.

Georgia won the East last season despite losing to South Carolina. To repeat that feat, the Bulldogs likely would need to win out — including Oct. 27 vs. Florida, currently No. 4 in the AP poll — and would need South Carolina to lose twice (say, at LSU and at Florida).

“I’m definitely not losing confidence in this team at all or in our coaching staff or anything like that,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday. “That’s the worst thing you can do. Teams panic and they tend to fall apart. But Georgia is not going to fall apart.

“A year ago, we’re 0-2 and everybody wants to decide the sky has fallen and it’s over for Georgia. But what did we do? We stayed firm; we believed in each other; we kept banging away; we started to win; and before you know it, we won the Eastern Division. … It’s unfortunate [Saturday’s game] came out the way it did with so much at stake, but there’s still a lot at stake. The sun did come up, and we’re going to get back to work.”

Richt rejected the suggestion the Bulldogs were flat against the Gamecocks.

“I wouldn’t say it was a flat performance,” he said. “I would just say that South Carolina physically whipped us.”

He continued: “If we’d had more success early in the ballgame, it wouldn’t have seemed like a flat performance. Even the initial drive, if [Bacarri] Rambo hangs on to the pick and we turned it into points, all of a sudden things look a little bit different. So there’s a lot of things that could have happened along the way if we could have [pass-]protected better or run- blocked better and been more accurate or tackled better — all of those things. I’m still going to say South Carolina did a heck of a job, and we didn’t get it done.”

Georgia averaged 48.2 points in winning its first five games, but the Gamecocks jumped to a 21-0 lead in the first 10 minutes and held the Dogs scoreless until the final two minutes.

As South Carolina built the early lead, Georgia had breakdowns on offense (a tipped interception), defense (a missed interception, open receivers) and special teams (a 70-yard punt return for a Carolina touchdown). So it went, the Gamecocks’ domination starting on the line of scrimmage and permeating all phases of the game.

“It’s definitely humbling,” Bulldogs linebacker Jarvis Jones said.

“They were shell-shocked,” South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore told reporters. “We hit them in the mouth, and they weren’t ready for it.”

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF GEORGIA-SOUTH CAROLINA GAME

654 comments Add your comment

Huh?

October 7th, 2012
9:39 pm

LakeDawg…I didn’t put words into your mouth, you did that youself (ever hear of cut and paste?)

Right now, you want Richt gone, and I can see why. So, you go and hire a new coach…but you knee jerk because you want to get as far away from Richt as possible. You said yourself that you don’t want to hear about Christianity anymore…you want a coach that can win. All I said was that the two weren’t mutually exclusive. However, you seem to be leaning to the side of throwing morals and values out the window for wins on the football field…

x

October 7th, 2012
9:39 pm

Dont be beswerching CMR’s commercials. I loved his dern Ford commercial so much I sold my left lung and one kidney just to get a red one with a huge G on it. WOOO HOO GO DWAGS!!

Here we Go

October 7th, 2012
9:41 pm

@Vincent Ray McGarity- 9:14pm—Agree 100%.2013 it will start all over again and again the next year.Same ole same ole song and dance! It sure gets old spending hard earned funds on season tickets and we know what the outcome will be! We hear the same thing from CMR year after year.

Top Dawg

October 7th, 2012
9:42 pm

We need a coaching staff with some spunk! The greatest coaching difference between CMR and Spurrier is that Spurrier is intense and CMR is indifferent and that is infectious to the entire program. Time to quarantine the entire coaching staff and replace them with someone who can get the job done!

UGA class of ‘77

DogFaceblues

October 7th, 2012
9:43 pm

Bottom line is that richt relies on his blue chips to carry the team, when it really begins with head coach and staff. The wrong coach is at UGA. Wore myuga sweater out in public today but totally embarrassed by the domination of sc.

Reality

October 7th, 2012
9:45 pm

As a UGA grad, I wanted to win just like the rest of us. But we didn’t. It is only just a game. Tomorrow the sun will come up and we will move on. There are many more pressing things in our lives than lights on a scoreboard.

Top Dog

October 7th, 2012
9:46 pm

We need a coaching staff with some spunk! The greatest coaching difference between CMR and Spurrier is that Spurrier is intense and CMR is indifferent and that is infectious to the entire program. Time to quarantine the entire coaching staff and replace them with someone who can get the job done!

UGA class of ‘77.

Bobby

October 7th, 2012
9:46 pm

@Your Bulldawg Daddy Your team is pathetic!!!!!!!

He Hate Gator

October 7th, 2012
9:46 pm

Richt’s ego is a problem….its alway about what the players and other coaches did…not what he did.

Huh?

October 7th, 2012
9:46 pm

Reality…go sell some more smoothies.

sick and tired

October 7th, 2012
9:46 pm

UGA will be a “good’ team with Mark Richt but will never win a national championship, NEVER.
Two things: strength on both lines, discipline. UGA has neither. oh yeah, cant beat a good team either.

CDAWG

October 7th, 2012
9:47 pm

I am done with the rah rah speeches after the fact! I have been on Richt’s side for a long time but not any more! I am done waiting until next year until we get another Coach with some fire in his britches!

JPE28

October 7th, 2012
9:47 pm

Classic Georgia took the field Saturday night in Columbia. Every year I let myself believe that we are actually going to take it all. Especially this year, a year we heard nothing but fantastic things about our superior defense, and with a strong offense returning, this year was going to be special. The 5-0 build up, just to be torn down and humiliated by South Carolina. I do not take anything away from their victory, but our athletes are better than 28 point blow-out. Every year we have top recruits, but we still can’t get it together. I do not understand it, lack of execution and some very questionable play calling is what separates us from the elite squads.
The offense’s first play every series, play action fake, Murray boots to the right and does nothing. Second down, a desperate Bobo willing to do anything for yards runs it right up the middle when South Carolina stacks 8 in the box and blitzes the house. 3rd and long, bubble screens to the outside. We are so predictable; why not take some shots down the field? The offense could not get anything going.

Defense- Missed opportunities, if Rambo picks that ball off in the second play of the game, big time momentum swing. Instead we give South Carolina a chance and they cash in. Blown coverage down field killed us all night long. I am over hearing about how great this defense is. We can’t even get to the Quarterback. It is beyond me why there was not a “Spy” on Conner Shaw; he can move and totally exposed us. I will say it is hard to play defense when you’re wretched offense can’t convert a first down. We were down 21-0 before we even got our second first down.

Special Teams- Arm tackles. Ace Sanders ran through everyone of them, going down 21-0 is completely demoralizing especially on a punt return. Remember how LSU just took off last year in Atlanta after that momentum swing. Cannot win ball games when we give our opponents gifts like that.

There is nothing positive that came out of last night games. We have lived to the overrated hype, and failed to show up on the national stage yet again. I have always supported Mark Richt, but even if he wins out 11-1 and losses the SEC championship we will be at another “Outback Bowl”, and a double digit winning season doesn’t look that bad. When are we not going to be ok with that? Mark, is a great guy, I just don’t see us winning the big game with him at the reigns. It’s been a great 12 years, but I think we need a new change in leadership. Our season is not over, but some big time changes need to be made, and let’s face it we need a lot of help. Go Dawgs

Big Wally

October 7th, 2012
9:49 pm

Richt is just not that good of a coach. Good recruiter, but a middle of the road game day coach. At FSU he had 10 x more athletes than any other school, so he didn’t have to study game films, make game plans, etc. In the SEC, almost every team has as good as athletes as you do, so coaching makes the difference. Unfortunately for Richt, he is not in the same league as Spurrier, Saban, Miles, and now probably Muschamp.

Harold Bare

October 7th, 2012
9:51 pm

UGA will lose to Florida. The remaining teams on UGA’s schedule are weak. UGA should beat them, but they will probably lose to at least one of them. CMR should go because he is a failure.

Happy Warrior

October 7th, 2012
9:52 pm

The team may not have been flat but, boo boo’s play calling was. If Coach richt’s does not see that BoBo is the weak link. It truly sucks getting beat by QB’s that we pass on every year.

80sDawg

October 7th, 2012
9:54 pm

I blame the Jagoffs at USA, Espn, and coaches polls respectively. they watch the same games we do every year and somehow deduce from them that UGA is in the top 20 in every preseason poll. How about next year we’re just left out of the polls altogether until we play/beat a ranked opponent. Also, if Richt is around next year, somebody pull the drain plug from the pool and left him crack his effing skull on the concrete. Dumbest thing I ever saw. Never seen Saban or Miles in the pool with the boys unless it’s to drown one of them.

Crazy Uncle Joe Biden

October 7th, 2012
9:56 pm

there must be something in the water in GA. you’ve got the same bunch of morons who defend richt when it’s obvious he’s a loser, just like Booby Cox. Neither one could/can pull the trigger and get the job done.

Joe

October 7th, 2012
9:57 pm

Please, please, please let everything fall apart. Quit hanging on to this mediocrity. In retrospect, it would have been best if Tyler Bray had not been such a numbnuts and given last week’s game away, then the vultures would be circling for Richt.

Instead, the Dawgs will lose to Florida, win the rest and play some mediocre Big 10 team in a mediocre mid-January bowl game, whose result is totally irrellevant. It’s disgusting. It’s time to make a change.

If I were Greg McGarity, I would have been in touch with Charlie Strong and Dan Mullen’s reps this morning. Time to FINALLY take Richt out behind the barn and put him out of his misery. I have never routed against my team before, but losses to UF and Gtu would seal Richt’s fate.

DwayneL

October 7th, 2012
9:57 pm

UGA overrated and exposed as expected….can’t win the big games!

DawgPound

October 7th, 2012
9:58 pm

I think if you look up the word FLAT, you will find a video of last night’s game.

WTF

October 7th, 2012
9:59 pm

Dwaynel that’s EXACTLY what your wife told me about you this morning.

WTF

October 7th, 2012
10:00 pm

Joe then clearly it’s NOT your team. Go support tech.

Big Wally

October 7th, 2012
10:00 pm

To everyone except the Ga. Coaching staff (and I use that term losely), it was clear that K. Gates could not block sunlight or any of the SC Defensive Ends. Any other coaching staff, would have simply put a tight end, or two over there to help him, but not this brilliant coaching staff. It never dawned on them.

Mr. SEC

October 7th, 2012
10:05 pm

Ga needs to trash it’s 3-4 defense. Aaron Murray is the Tony Romo of College football. Bobo is so predictable on offense, i think Xbox junkies can outcoach him. He never even tried to use extra to tight ends to block and help the running game. UGA fan’s will be happy as long as they continue to go to the Outback Bowl or Capital One Bowl. LOL

Happy Warrior

October 7th, 2012
10:07 pm

Listen folks……. there is a reason High School coaches tell kids that if they want to win at the next level, go to Alabama. Satan would NEVER, I mean NEVER allow his team to play like that. As much as I hate UA, they are always ready to play. Every year we lose more, and more players to Alabama. Player that would have normally gone to UGa. Just look at there roster, or better yet the depth chart. There OLine is full of Georgia players. At RBack, the same. And most of all look at the depth chert for the def. I love UGa, but…….. Coach Richt is so concerned about recruiting other states, instead of recruiting the players here first. Murray is terrible!!!!!!!! and yet he was his guy. That’s the QB coach Richt wanted. It’s time for both to go. And before anyone questions my motives, I played under Dooley. When football players from georgia, went to Uga, and nothing else mattered. I’m entitled to my opinion. TEAM me

Warhorse

October 7th, 2012
10:07 pm

mayhem is coming

October 7th, 2012
10:07 pm

You play to the level of your competion, right? Does playing Buffalo, Fla. Atlantic and upcoming GA. Southern and someother “lesser” opponent make for a better team? I don’t think so. It has become an annual event that lofty expectations never come to fruition. Bobo continues to run whatever his game is even when opposing defenses have stopped it. Grantham is no better than his predecessor. To wit, with the score 28-0 he is still blitzing???? Giving up 74(?) in two games. It’s a good thing he uses that towel to disguise his play calling otherwise the Dawgs defense would really be in a world of hurt.

Bill E Rubin

October 7th, 2012
10:09 pm

He continued: “If we’d had more success early in the ballgame, it wouldn’t have seemed like a flat performance. Even the initial drive, if [Bacarri] Rambo hangs on to the pick and we turned it into points, all of a sudden things look a little bit different.

Yeah Coach….If “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas…You can keep wearin your rose-colored glasses if you like
but I stomped mine first thing this morning…

Bored of Directors

October 7th, 2012
10:09 pm

Didn’t read all of the comments but finally had to vent. Look, it is simple. If CMR were runiing ANY organization in the “for profit” world, which I might argue college football is a part, he would be fired at the end of the season. The reality is that his team wins, but they consistently wet their pants when it matters most. That trend line gets you fired whether you are a CEO, the President, or a football coach. McGarrity knows, we know and Richt knows. Grow up.

Strange Murphy

October 7th, 2012
10:10 pm

They won’t fall apart because they already have.

Dawg-Gawn

October 7th, 2012
10:11 pm

Talk about embarrassment…. just trying to read these AJC blogs is embarrassing enough!

Is there intelligent life on another planet, out there somewhere in our universe? I know there is. How?… because the life that is out there have never bothered to contact the planet Earth! (probably read these AJC blogs)

blog trolls: In the closet queens who have no life of their own, getting a warm & fuzzy erection each time a regular blogger fool acknowledges their presence by continued arguing of a useless point making the troll feel as though he actually is important is embarrassing! (very sad society)

UGA fans… let me remind you… UGA is right in the middle of HS recruiting period and being able to attract the top players needed to beat teams like South Carolina are taking notice…. Laremy Tunsil and Tyrone Crowder & Montravious Adams come to mind. So called fans that go out after UGA has lost a college football game and deface (egg & roll w/tp) a UGA player’s (Christian Robinson) home is embarrassing! (sick society)

UGA lost one single SEC game…. yeah I’m disappointed but one game does not make a season…. USCe has to play against LSU (with backs against the wall) in Baton Rouge at Death Valley! Then on to Gainesville to play UF in the Swamp… then UTk and also Clemson! It’s embarrassing to see so many UGA fans show so little faith in the UGA football program… those that think by the inch, talk by the yard, deserve to get kicked by the foot, right off the UGA bus… don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!

“Stick with Richt”

“BELIEVE” in the “G”

Big Wally

October 7th, 2012
10:13 pm

Exactly on almost every comment above. Mark Richt is simply “mediocre”. He will never be a Championship level coach. I don’t think he puts in the time and effort into this that the other coaches do. If he did, we wouldn’t field such unprepared teams all the time.

THE Gamecocks own you

October 7th, 2012
10:13 pm

Where are all the Dawg talkers today? Three years in a row. Go back in your cages like UGA did. Please keep Richt for many years.

MaconKnight

October 7th, 2012
10:16 pm

Yes this loss is very disappointing, yes everyone is upset about it. I dont think the coaching staff deserve to be fired 6 games are left, UGA could win out and get to ATL. But this O-LINE has to man up. So does the D-LINE. We all knew coming into the season that the O-LINE was going to be a rebuilding job after losing guys to the NFL. Young on the Offensive line is never a good thing for a team with championship dreams. Dawgnation lets support these young men instead putting them down nobody is more upset than they are right now. And at the end of the year if a change needs to be made im sure the AD will get the job done and make the change. But right now these guys need our support Still DAWG FAN!!!!! GO DAWGS GET BACK TO WORK GET STRONGER FIGHT HARD DONT GIVE UP!!!!!!!

Cocky's Revenge

October 7th, 2012
10:16 pm

The Bulldogs have some great athletes and I expect them to win out the rest of the year. You have the best offensive team in the conference. YOUR COACH IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE! The simple truth is that no-body knows just how good/great that South Carolina team will be. By the end of the season, Bulldog fans could well be bragging that their only loss was to a BCS bowl game Gamecock squad.

PLUS: Reality Check time: Clowney and Lattimore are better than anyone in a Bulldog uniform. Sorry dog fans…..times have changed.

pete

October 7th, 2012
10:18 pm

Dawg-Gawn, look at the record against good teams. I have had faith but it’s time to be realistic. Richt’s team cannot win the big games. It’s time to find a coach whose teams can.

AtlG8tr

October 7th, 2012
10:19 pm

Whipped Puppies: Most patient fan base in America. Who else would stand by and watch passively as four other SEC programs bring in new head coaches and win NCs SINCE Mark Richt was hired. Amazing acceptance of mediocrity.

More Richt BS

October 7th, 2012
10:19 pm

If my uncle had cans he’d be my aunt. Richt will never get it and always comes up with some lame excuse as to why GA folds in big games. Trouble is his excuses hold no water and his “getting back to work to change things” never produces any different results.

Joe Bob Wengie

October 7th, 2012
10:19 pm

Don’t want to sat I told you so.
But. I TOLD YOU SO!!!!

Rick James

October 7th, 2012
10:21 pm

What’s going to really be fun to watch is after steamrolling Georgia South Carolina fans having to see Georgia make to Atlanta again..Dont celebrate too long there a lot more games to play.Just like last year.

bama Bob

October 7th, 2012
10:22 pm

Note to all you Gamecock fans……… If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. And this week at LSU, you will lose. Beat georgia was nothing, Keep smoking $tuff with Garcia, because ya’ll are high.

w

October 7th, 2012
10:23 pm

Christian Robinson and Murray’s room was egged and papered by fans….

Erk Russell's Dog

October 7th, 2012
10:23 pm

Just wish Dogs offense would have tried a change up and gone double tight formation and just tried to pound the ball right at SC. Run the ball right at those DE’s and take the battle to them ,show some aggression and punch the defense in the mouth. This finesse type offense just does seem to work. If you are not going to throw to the TE’s let them block for your backs and use your ground game to utilize play action to give Murray enough time to pass the ball.The O line spent too much time on their heels and the Carolina D-Line just ran over them all night.

1969 Graduate

October 7th, 2012
10:24 pm

Richt says the team won’t fall apart. Might as well make sure the barn is locked after the horse has been stolen.

Richt doesn’t get it. He doesn’t have to. There is no accountability. That’s one way of looking at it, but I think it incorrect.

Richt does get it, but what he gets is a whole lot different from what we want him to get.

Richt can’t be stupid, so he knows that our university rewards mediocre performance. If he has a “winning season” like last year maybe he’ll get another contract extension. Certainly he’s very unlikely to be fired. After all, he’s “winning.”

The problems begin way above Richt. None of these people are stupid. They are getting what they want.

It’s us – the hapless fans – who are stupid to think the powers that be at the university care about having a competitive program. For them, if we beat the little sisters and fill the stands and sell some tee shirts everything is fine.

Until ticket sales fall off, and Georgia caps become a glut on the market nothing will be done.

We just have to have a football program that is a little bit better than Vandy.

All they have to do is feed us just enough to keep us interested.

Joe

October 7th, 2012
10:24 pm

Scu will never win anything. They will lose 2 out of the next 3. They have a mediocre high school offense with two plays that any decent defensive coordinator will shut down. Double-teaming Clowney exposes Scu’s mediocre ssecondary. These are very basic football things that the UGA coaching staff totally ignored. It’s just pitiful.

Lakedawg

October 7th, 2012
10:27 pm

Let me get this straight, The Dawgs lose one game (yes badly) and it’s fore the coaches???

How many programs in the country lose to *3 team in country and it’s fire the coaches???

Probably the only loss this season and it’s fire the coaches???

What a dingbat bunch of dreamers. Come on folks, what kind of standard is that, lose one game this year and fire the coaches??? GEEEZ??

If & Not

October 7th, 2012
10:28 pm

If, If, If, If I was Denzel I’d be taken care of tonight, If I was a multi millionaire I’d be rolling in a Bentley Continetal GTS, If my girlfriend was 25 with a 36dd cup I’d be doing something other than blogging. CMR, this is not the day for you to justify the Butt whipping(I’m being so nice) that you just got handed to you. Can you understand (said this to the Braves years ago) that Champions are truly remembered, divisional, and SEC champions get remembered within the organization, but world champs are forever remembered. Georgia isn’t playing like they wanna be imfamous. Just mediocre. Now we know why Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Tenn, and now South Carolina can come and steal talent here. With one question, “What have they done lately”, and you got a recruit backing out.

Big Wally

October 7th, 2012
10:28 pm

I really wish I had the optimism that some of you have when you think that UGA will win out and make it back to the SEC Championship Game. My question is, even if that miracle were to happen, Bama would beat us worse than SC did, and Richt would be left giving us lame excuses – once again.

Guest

October 7th, 2012
10:29 pm

I’m a loyal UGA fan and student but I’m tired of my school being mediocre and the subsequent excuses for losing quality games, call me naive but I thought this could have been the year we went all the way. Even the mindset of CMR is set low, winning the SEC eastern division is really your biggest accomplishment and another 10-4 season with a bowl lost to a inferior team is what you hope to achieve. The fact of the matter is UGA is not and should never be considered a top ten caliber team if it can’t beat ranked opponents.