Virtuoso Blocking Displayed Between the Hedges
In rivalry games this season UGA is now 1-0 as the Dawgs rolled up 560 yards, including an impressive 282 on the ground. The University of Tennessee Volunteers fell to 3-2 and 0-2 in SEC play for the season, with a 51-44 Georgia win. The Bulldogs, ranked #5 in the nation, moved to 5-0, 3-0 in conference, with each SEC win coming against members of the SEC East.
Here’s how it went down: From a Red Out Classic City, I saw a #3 Gurley jersey reminding me that we, as a program, were going for our third win in a row over a key SEC East rival, the UT Volunteers. Tennessee had a puncher’s chance Saturday with talented Tyler Bray hurling to studs Justin Hunter and Cordarelle Patterson, the three playing in their first SEC road game together. Georgia gifted three turnovers to the Vols late in the first half, and Lil’ Dooley coached them up to play with a considerable amount of heart.
UT’s best shot was not enough to defeat explosive UGA, though the game score was closer than the actual game at the end of each dramatic half. Georgia led big in the first half before a troublesome four-minute Big Orange explosion. A less talented and fortified team may have yielded to the Tennessee momentum. Instead, by the end of the third quarter, GEORGIA had scored 51 points. The game was out of reach for UT, although they would challenge to tie several times late.
Sometime fan whipping boy, UGA offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is a strong candidate for national assistant of the year, as Murray and company have produced point totals of: 45, 41, 56, 48 and 51. Georgia, a legitimate national title contender, is legitimately six-deep at wideout and has two nice young tight ends beginning to make big plays. Murray will be the program’s all-time leading quarterback in all important measured stats. And “GURSHALL” scored 5 TDs as a tandem, with Todd Gurley continuing to lead the SEC in rushing. UGA easily leads the conference in total offense.
The seemingly overhyped yet truly talented defense had no consistent answer for the Tyler Bray passing attack, and the Vols had a 100-yard rusher (an Atlanta to Tennessee signee nonetheless). The Georgia D finally proved opportunistic enough to take the ball away from the Vols on their last three possessions. In his first game back, Ogletree had fourteen stops, All-American Rambo had nine. Longer back from suspension, Commings saved the day for UGA with two fourth quarter interceptions.
Georgia can kick 50-yard field goals but has had unfathomable difficulty with extra points.
Since sliding solidly onto the hot seat at 0-2 last season, Richt has won fifteen of seventeen.
But to me above all other compelling story lines in this wild football game was perhaps-the-best-I-have-ever-seen team blocking by two squads. Tennessee throws like crazy and had yielded a mere two sacks on the season coming in. Facing the vaunted Georgia pass rush, they protected above expectation while also opening up some big running lanes.
Georgia’s pulling of offensive linemen was orchestrated to nearly ultimate perfection, with recently engaged Chris Burnette playing especially well throughout the contest. All credit for their level of concentration and performance goes to line coach Will Friend and the intelligent group of individual linemen currently gelling as a tight unit, a surprising team strength for UGA this season.
My MVP for the football game: Georgia starting walk-on fullback Merritt Hall. He was just dominant.
GEORGIA at South Carolina for the Border Bash is next. 7:00 p.m. Saturday night. Carolina is 5-0 and #6 in the polls. They are coached by longtime Georgia nemesis Steve Spurrier and have beaten UGA twice consecutively, including last year’s 45-42 heartbreaker in Athens. GO DAWGS!