rent like champion

September 13, 2009

Dawgs Win Thriller

GEORGIA 41, South Carolina 37
In what was expected to be a typical Georgia-South Carolina, low-scoring affair, last night's game was everything but... The Bulldogs' slim victory, which featured a whopping total of 78 points, exhibited a little bit of everything: a special teams touchdown, an interception returned for a score, a safety, an all-important blocked PAT, and seven field goals--a scoring shootout unanticipated by most. The combined points, 54 of which were scored in the first half alone, were the second most in the 62-game series between the schools; the 735 combined total yards (S. Carolina- 427, Georgia- 308) were the most in the series since the 778 totaled in 1997.
On offense, Joe Cox had a solid performance, especially compared to his play in the Oklahoma State loss, and unlike last week, was able to get the ball with some regularity to the most talented player on the field--A.J. Green. The offensive line's play and running game was improved from the first game but is still not performing like it should be or needs to be if this team is going to win eight or more games this season.
However, unlike last week, the defense played inadequately on the whole. How could Stephen Garcia pass for 313 yards and rush for an additional 42 (led Gamecocks) against the same Bulldog defense from last week? Instead, our defense from last night appeared more reminiscent of last year's edition.
Speaking of which, Georgia yielded 35 or more points once again for the ninth time in 42 games since the 2006 Sugar Bowl and for the sixth time in 11 games since last season's Alabama game. Alarming! As I've posted before, prior to the '06 Sugar Bowl, the Bulldogs went 77 games and more than six years without allowing 35 points or more.
Notwithstanding, the defense did stiffen when the Gamecocks reached its 20-yard line or closer. South Carolina's offense entered Georgia's red zone seven times, resulting in scores on six occasions (two TDs, four field goals). However, the 'Cocks ran 22 plays in the red zone for only a net total of 36 total yards. The one red-zone drive not ending in points for the Gamecocks: the final and most important, resulting in a loss of downs and Bulldog victory.
Immediately following the 41-37 win, I personally felt similar to how I did following the close victories over both Kentucky and Auburn a year ago: Georgia was the better team, the game should not have been as close as it was; however, the Dogs were fortunate to be on the winning side and a win is a win.
  • Georgia broke its single-game record for most kick-return yards BY HALFTIME. The Bulldogs' 252 yards on kick returns easily eclipsed the old mark of 190 vs. Kentucky in 1977 and is the fourth most in SEC history. Before last night, Georgia's top three games in its history in terms of kick-return yardage, 1977- Kentucky (190), 1990- Georgia Tech (186), 1990- Kentucky (179), all came in losses suffered by the Bulldogs.
  • Brandon Boykin's 100-yard kick return in the first quarter was a school record and tied the school's "modern" record (since the 1940s) for a return of any type. In 1903 against Auburn, Georgia's Harry Woodruff, older brother of eventual standout UGA player and coach George Woodruff, returned a missed dropkick (i.e., field goal) 107 yards for a touchdown. From 1876 to 1912, the standard football field was 110 yards in length.
  • Garcia's 53 pass attempts were the most by an individual against Georgia since Jared Lorenzen's (Kentucky) 54 in 2001; his 313 passing yards were the most since 339 yards thrown by Florida's Rex Grossman in 2002.
  • South Carolina's Spencer Lanning kicked five field goals--only the 18th time in SEC history and first against Georgia an individual kicked five or more field goals in a single game.
  • Besides Rennie Curran's game-winning, tipped pass, perhaps the biggest play was the blocked PAT by sophomore DeAngelo Tyson, preserving the Bulldogs' one-point lead in the final quarter. Since Georgia began keeping record of blocked PATs in 1982, Tyson is only the seventh Bulldog to block just 10 extra points and the first in 67 games since the 2003 SEC Championship Game.

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