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September 6, 2010

We Forced 3 Turnovers?!?

I wanted to give my thoughts on the 55-7 blowout of Louisiana-Lafayette and acknowledge the historic, in a way, victory it was for the Bulldogs, both offensively and defensively.

First and foremost, I want to thank the handful of this blog's readers that stopped by my signing at the UGA Bookstore prior to the game.  I really appreciated you guys (and gal) coming by to say "hi" and mentioning the blog.  It's events like that which show me that any work/research that goes into writing and upkeeping About Them Dawgs! is well worth my time and efforts.  Thank you.

Defensively, you have to be optimistic after what you witnessed on Saturday from Grantham's defenders.  Granted, the performance was against the Rajin' Cajuns; nevertheless, they are a program that defeated Kansas State last season and against South Carolina in 2007 and Illinois and K-State a year later, lost by an average of just over eight points to the three BCS teams.

I, like many other Bulldog backers, have been screaming and begging for turnovers for two years and we got them in the form of three interceptions.  Georgia's three forced turnovers were the most for the team in 19 games since gaining three against LSU in 2008, while it has been 27 games (2008 Sugar Bowl vs. Hawaii) since the Bulldogs forced more than that amount. 

Georgia yielded only 5 first downs and 128 total offensive yards.  I did some quick, unscientific research and found that against Division I-A/FBS teams (in other words, excluding Tennessee Tech from last year when the Bulldogs allowed only 55 total yards), the 128 yards given up were the Bulldogs' lowest since allowing only 99 to TCU during the national championship season of 1980.  That was 30 years ago, folks.

I got another that's even better: The five first downs allowed were the Dogs' lowest against any team since yielding the same amount to Auburn way back in 1968.  To show you how long ago that was... That's (the photo) what Georgia's team, the Seilers, and Uga looked like back in 1968 when we beat Auburn. 

On Saturday, I wasn't quite as thrilled with the offense.  I'm afraid some of the things that worked against the Cajuns won't at all against the 'Cocks.  As far as what did work offensively, let's remember, ULL is a program that lost to LSU and Nebraska last year by a combined 81-3 score.

Once again, the offensive line did not surrender a sack.  Going back to last season, the Bulldogs have allowed just one sack in 113 passing attempts and more than four games.  That's rather amazing.

Apparently against Louisiana-Lafayette, backup quarterback Hutson Mason joined an exclusive club in FBS history.  I discovered another select group the freshman is now a part of in Bulldog history.

Since 1972, when the NCAA allowed freshmen eligibility in college football, the Bulldogs have had only five true freshmen quarterbacks (by my count), including Mason, to see action in a season-opening game.  

Recognizing Quincy Carter as a true freshman in 1998 is a bit of a stretch, so we'll say Mason is now one of only four Bulldog signal callers since '72, who were playing high school football the year before, to see playing time in the first game of a true freshman season.  He joins some pretty good company:

1978: Buck Belue (Baylor): Belue was inserted early in the third quarter against the Bears and, on his first pass attempt in college, was intercepted. 1991: Eric Zeier (Western Carolina): 15 of 22 passing for 172 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions
2006: Matthew Stafford (Western Kentucky): 59 total offensive yards on 6 plays and a passing touchdown
2010: Hutson Mason (Louisiana-Lafayette): 2 of 5 passing for 33 yards and a touchdown

As far as the A.J. Green thing goes, let's just hope the NCAA can hurry up already and make a decision.  If he's gone, suspended, not allowed to play in a game or so, or whatever, that certainly stinks, but I'm sure the team can move forward. 

But if he can play...wonderful!  I'm pretty certain we could use him this Saturday in Columbia. 

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