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

Hank

October 7th, 2012
7:32 pm

At least Coach Rick is a good Christian man

Todd Grantham

October 7th, 2012
7:36 pm

Please, please Greg McGarity read these stats. 90percent failure rate don’t feed the bulldog

Mark Richt's Sleeve

October 7th, 2012
7:39 pm

Maybe CMR should roll his up and go to work.

former Richt supporter

October 7th, 2012
7:40 pm

Not flat!!!!???? I would hate to see a performance Richt considered flat!!!

JDL

October 7th, 2012
7:41 pm

Conner Shaw is the most underrated qb in this league.

it's a smoke screen

October 7th, 2012
7:42 pm

And “If” your aunt had balls, she’d be your uncle. I’m sick of the “if we’d have…” I’m sick of the world (ESPN) knowing that UGA isn’t as good as we want to believe we are. The proof is in the performance. Great teams show up ready to play. Period. The worst part for me is that now that Spurrier has built a winner, he will do to Georgia what he did when he was at UF…beat us every year. I’m sick of it.

Huh?

October 7th, 2012
7:42 pm

I don’t think UGA was flat at the beginning of the game…however, after SC starting rolling, UGA players looked lost. Late in the 3rd quarter, they looked completely defeated.

harold

October 7th, 2012
7:44 pm

It may be time for Richt to go. The UGA players quit!

ColumnDawg

October 7th, 2012
7:45 pm

Nobody does less with more talent than Richt. It makes no sense to me that most people think we can’t show him the door. SEC East Championships are bogus! With our recruiting classes we should compete for a NC every few years. If you look at other schools that recruit like us, they are always competing for NCs. He can’t win the big games and we always shrink when the games mean the most. With the HS talent in Georgia, we could get a big name coach. As long as we have Richt, we can be a good team but we will never be a great team!

Chipper

October 7th, 2012
7:45 pm

But you were flat, Mark. You didn’t do anything in the game to dispute the fact. You should be ashamed for not admitting that you did not have this team prepared. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last [note his attitude, folks]. Denial.

uncledaddy

October 7th, 2012
7:47 pm

Hey, at least it wasn’t a shutout.

Top Row Dawg

October 7th, 2012
7:48 pm

#14 and #12………….hmmmm

We should not quit on this season just yet.

Pope UGA XXIII

October 7th, 2012
7:50 pm

Thank you, Chris Burnette, for stating the obvious. Your candor and
honestyr are very much appreciated.
ColumnDawg is right on the money with his comments. No way does
South carolina have better talent, but they without question are better
coached. The only way that the powers that be will notice is when there
are empty seats at Sanford Stadium.

Huh?

October 7th, 2012
7:51 pm

Top Row…I know where you are headed…however, after being exposed last night, I think UGA players and fans need to stop worrying about sneaking in the back door of the SEC CG or anything beyond that for that matter. UGA needs to worry about getting better….in all phases of the game. The team that played last night doesn’t deserve to go anywhere except back to practice.

Dawg Heaven

October 7th, 2012
7:51 pm

From CBS:

Good Lord, that was a stinker. Dawgs had their manhood kidnapped, stuffed in a trunk and buried out in a cornfield. Authorities are still searching for leads. When NFL scouts interview all those pro prospects on defense after the season, first thing they’re going to ask is: “What the hell happened against South Carolina?”

Gay Roff

October 7th, 2012
7:51 pm

Maybe Ray Goff could be hired as a consultant -

mountainman

October 7th, 2012
7:52 pm

What do you expect, a top 10 team with an overpaid, underachieving, and unaccountable coaching staff that show they don’t have what it takes when matched up with an elite coach??? Get an elite coach and then you can get top 10 performance and a chance to compete for the BCS Championship. These current dawg coaches can’t hunt and their proven poor performance just sucks!

Dawg Heaven

October 7th, 2012
7:54 pm

This is what our fans want, A Good Christian. I’d prefer an Good Coach. But that’s just me.

Same Song and Dance

October 7th, 2012
7:56 pm

“We weren’t flat”…..”got to go back and watch film to see what we did wrong”……”We know what we are capable of”…..blah….blah…..blah…..it’s the same excuses EVERY yr, the last 3 years. If our COACHES would PREPARE our players, physically AND mentally, to PLAY in BIG GAMES, there would be NO excuses. But it’s the same pathetic reasons why we can’t win the big game…..Richt wants to say that everyone gave up last year and we won 10 straight…..we DID NOT play anyone that was ANY good….THAT’S why we won 10 straight….we ended the year playing LSU and MSU who WERE good teams and we LOST….just like we have the last 10 games against respectable opponents. Richt can only win games against chumps, and sadly enough, yet ANOTHER YEAR, we will try and BACK our way into the SEC championship game. We can’t just WIN it outright….we have to rely on other schools to HELP us get in…..I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I will not be going to Sanford to another game this year. It’s time we get a coach that can put a winning product on the field with our annual top 10 recruiting class. Richt does LESS with MORE than any other coach besides Frank Beamer. McGarity needs to step up the plate, do his job, and get us a coach that can win the big games.

Huh?

October 7th, 2012
7:56 pm

Dawg Heaven…I don’t think the two are necessarily mutually exclusive.

Dawg Heaven

October 7th, 2012
7:58 pm

Vandy and Kentucky played better against Carolina. We made Carolina look like National Champs. They are now severely overrated.

Can someone please help get rid of our coaching staff, PLEASE, please, help us out of this neverending cycle of misery.

Chris

October 7th, 2012
7:58 pm

If this, if that, if, if, if!!!! If we had a coach on the level of Saban, or a coach with some resemblance of a pulse, and if we had a coach that understood the importance of recruiting big, talented lineman, and if we had a coach that understood the importance of building depth on your line, and if we had a coach that understood that having 9000 wide receivers is not the most important thing, then maybe we would have won last night.

It’s been 7 years of IF’s since we last won an SEC championship, and it is old and tired. All I know is, if we don’t fire Richt, we will have the same outcome next year. This year the excuse is that we have a young o-line. Next year we’ll have a lot of defensive guys leaving, so that will be the excuse. The next year we’ll be starting a new quarterback, so that will be the excuse. The next year will have a thin line again, and will probably loose a running back to the NFL, so that will be the excuse.

When will the powers that be at Georgia read between the lines, and see that this coaching staff will never win the SEC????

ramblingbuzz

October 7th, 2012
7:58 pm

Not trying to troll here, but as a somewhat neutral observer, Uga did not look like they were ready to play. Of course getting down by 21 in the first quarter will shell shock most teams.

Dawg Heaven

October 7th, 2012
7:59 pm

This is @#%$%$^ Groundhog Day!!!!!!!!!!

castle pines canine

October 7th, 2012
8:00 pm

Well, we have a great defense, and a good offense. The players are as good as there are in the land. Let me ask the obvious question? What is the problem?

Dawg Heaven

October 7th, 2012
8:00 pm

And where are all the CMR supporters now??? Please, let’s hear all of your excuses. You’re like a brainwashed cult. Can you read the stas in this article? Are you blind? Please, snap out of it. Help save Bulldawg Nation.

Tired of cmr

October 7th, 2012
8:01 pm

Richt acts like preparedness is a “feeling or mojo” and you may have it game day or not. Even chizick apologized to the fans after their cluster yesterday. The guy has no cahunies, grit or fire. I think that he suffers from “no T” instead of low T. The secondary looks as lost as under Martinez, Murray is scared & special teams are still horrid after 10 years. How much longer are going to endure. I am embarrassed to be a fan for 40 yrs anymore. Every game & season is a letdown. I enjoy all the other SEC games & dread the UGA game.

Huh?

October 7th, 2012
8:02 pm

I think what makes the loss worse is the embarrassment of it being on a national stage…ESPN GameDay….primetime game…the whole world watching…Herbstreet and Mussberger talking about how overrated and bad UGA is…the score…losing to Spurrier three years in a row…

And last but not least…making Lou Holtz look like a genius.

Dawg Heaven

October 7th, 2012
8:03 pm

@ Huh?

I don’t either. It’s a jab at the sotuehrn rednecks who keep responding to CMR’s failures by stating, well I’d prefer a Good Christian Coach, than Saban or Miles, etc. These freakin’ bible beaters drive me crazy. I don’t give a darn whether our coach practices any religion. I’d prefer to just have a winner.

nobody

October 7th, 2012
8:04 pm

“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.”

Bless his heart….what happened?….we couldn’t block them and we could not cover them…. looking at film isn’t going to solve our problems as long as our QB has records to break…and receivers who can’t catch…we should have run, run, run…as in our first offensive play…what happened?

Ace

October 7th, 2012
8:07 pm

this is a result of the weak schedule year in and out, paying for small school wins instead competing.

social circle dawg

October 7th, 2012
8:07 pm

I thought Mark Richt was relieved of his administrative duties so he could “study the game better?” What a freaking joke. The biggest joke…..we pay money…. and a lot of it….to see this product. Unacceptable. Put your check books away until there is a change. We will not see a change unless we demand one.

Newman

October 7th, 2012
8:09 pm

Not flat??? Was he watching the same game we all were?

Huh?

October 7th, 2012
8:09 pm

Dawg Heaven…I’d prefer to have a winning coach too…who is a Christian.

Dawg Heaven

October 7th, 2012
8:11 pm

social circle dawg is right. I stopped buying season tickets for me and my family of 4 after the 2008 season because I was so frustrated with CMR. Every season since 2008 I have endured the same heartbreak since. At lease I haven’t been paying thousands of dollars for it. I still dream of a time when Georiga will hire a new coach. I love my Dawgs, I just don’t like our current coaching staff and the direction the program has gone. I’m a true Dawg fan. Through and through and a former Redcoat, both me and my wife. I just hope this ends before my kids get to college.

Huh?

October 7th, 2012
8:12 pm

Ace…agreed. It’s easy to look good against bad teams (10 wins last year)…unless you play good teams though, you never really know where your own team stands.

Me too

October 7th, 2012
8:16 pm

@Dawg, I gaduated from the Univcity of Bamah at Tusc in 91.

Listen, Ray Perkins was an arse, I said, who cares he is a good coach. Saban, I am sure is an arse. Who cares. Bring on the NCs. The loss to Auburn after leading 24-0 will forever stings. Sham would not be a NChampion had we not lost.

Dawg Heaven

October 7th, 2012
8:20 pm

@ Huh? I’d be okay with a Jewish Coach. You’d probably prefer he be a white coach too. Again, I don’t care about race. I just want a winner.

Dawg Haus

October 7th, 2012
8:21 pm

The Dawgs were just exposed last night, pure and simple. It’s not that they lost, it’s how they lost. I’ll never give up on my team, but the guys have a lot of work to do before heading to Kentucky.

Huh?

October 7th, 2012
8:23 pm

Dawwg Heaven…I don’t care about race either. I just don’t think you have to be an a$$ to be a good coach. I think you can be a nice Christian man with morals and still win on the big time level. I that CMR isn’t getting it done and needs to go…I’m just saying that selling your soul for an NC isn’t the way to go either.

RedPantsDawg

October 7th, 2012
8:23 pm

Denial. This program is run by people that are in denial. Coached by a man in denial. And played by a team that is pumped up by wins over lesser competition. McGarity doesn’t have the balls to make a change so this is going to continue.

Doug

October 7th, 2012
8:24 pm

We have depth and talent. doesn’t mean anything without coaching. Our DC is a bust.

Time for Richt to go. Our AD will not can him though. Afterall he is the Bonehead that scheduled Boise st last year.Shailene Woodley

Beast from the East

October 7th, 2012
8:25 pm

The past few years, I’ve argued that UGA deserves better than what Richt has been delivering. Well, now I am starting to believe you are getting exactly what you deserve for continuing to tolerate this nonsense. Stick fork in a wall socket over and over and see if the results ever change. Then have the audacity to act surprised each time you get shocked! It’s called insanity, folks. Make a change or get used to it.

Me too

October 7th, 2012
8:26 pm

What a farce. SC number 3. How many times has Spurrier started 5-0 at USC to wind with 4 or 5 losses. Ok, FL if down (LSU reeks), TN is down. But USC did not look great the last two weeks.

Right now, I predict USC finishes with 4 losses and a trouncing in the SEC…..again.

hop

October 7th, 2012
8:28 pm

only when the big money decides not to financially support the football program will we see any change to the current mindset of accepting the status quo!

georgia will Never win a national championship with richt as coach.

It is time the dawg nation rejects this loser attitude that coach richt continues to support.

stop buying tickets and uga will get the message!j

dawg collar

October 7th, 2012
8:30 pm

@me to

you, my friend, are an idiot…

Me too

October 7th, 2012
8:31 pm

I am telling you Michael Adam (Pres UGA) is happy with Richt because this fits right in to his agenda.

What other Univ Pres would put up with this over and over and over again.

Best coach ever

October 7th, 2012
8:31 pm

I hope they extend his contract another 10 years.

Huh?

October 7th, 2012
8:32 pm

@ me too…trashing SC’s ranking doesn’t change anything. Do you know how may UGA fans were mad because they weren’t getting any respect from the national media prior to the SC game? A bunch of them…and where did that get them? As I’ve said, just win your games and the ranking will take care of itself.

Still Tired of cmr

October 7th, 2012
8:32 pm

Just remembered that richt was shooting commercials with corso & the gang this week instead of coaching. Sadly, the team & Dawg nation is a joke the rest of the sec, when it should fall only on cmr’s shoulders.