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October 19, 2010

Consecutive Defensive Conquests

In reading about Georgia's 43-0 victory on Saturday over Vanderbilt, I observed much praise for the Bulldogs defense and many a mention of their first shutout versus an SEC foe in over four years.

Notwithstanding, what currently stands out in my mind is not just Georgia's fine defensive play against the Commodores but the defense's accomplishment of consecutive notable performances - an oddity indeed for this team since the end of the 2007 season.

I did some digging and discovered that in the back-to-back games against Tennessee and Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs yielded or forced all of the following combined consecutive-game lows over the last two years:

* 67 rushing yards - lowest since 2008 S. Carolina-Arizona St. (22)
* 3 fumbles recovered - most since 2007 Georgia Tech-Hawaii (3)
The 3 fumbles recovered by Georgia the last two games are more than the Bulldogs had the entire 2009 season and the same number recovered the previous 18 games combined.  
* 409 total yards - lowest allowed to FBS teams since 2006 Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech (377)
* 14 points - lowest since 2006 UAB-Colorado (13)
* 20 first downs - lowest since 2004 S. Carolina-Marshall (16)

I know, I know... it's a bit of a stretch.  In defending the Vols and 'Dores, Georgia was fortunate enough to be facing the two worst offenses in the conference (Tennessee is 11th in the SEC in both scoring and total offense, Vandy is 12th in both categories).

However, both games were against SEC competition, and to achieve the aforementioned consecutive-game defensive milestones - all five of them - is rather noteworthy.

In addition, of Tennessee and Vandy's 12 combined games this season, besides perhaps their efforts versus LSU, their worst offensive performances have both come against the Bulldogs.  And, by the way, LSU defensively ranks first in the SEC and in the nation's top eight in rushing, passing, and total defense. 

Maybe, the Bulldog defense is starting to figure out Grantham's system and finally beginning to comprehend opposing offenses. Just maybe...

Regardless, come Saturday, they'll undoubtedly need some sort of comprehension when they attempt to defend the Wildcats.  Contrary to Georgia's previous two opponents, Kentucky has one of the SEC's best offenses, ranking amongst the conference's top three in scoring, passing, and total offense.

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