2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 4 - Georgia at Ole Miss
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Sept. 24 Georgia 27 … at Ole Miss 13
CFN Analysis: Georgia did what it’s supposed to do to a bad team by getting up early and letting the defense do the work. Aaron Murray had an effective and efficient 268 yards and two scores, while Isaiah Crowell proved he could handle the workload with 30 carries or 147 yards. The defense was the big story with Ole Miss unable to get anything going on the ground and never threatening. The breakdown on a late third quarter punt return by Nickolas Brassell for a touchdown was a lapse, but this was a near-perfect game at just the right time before the big home against Mississippi State and the trip to Tennessee. There’s still work to be done, but at least the heat is off … for now.
The Rebels needed to show something, anything, at home, and when it wasn’t goofing around with trick plays, the offense simply didn’t work. The offensive front continues to be a major disappointment with too much talent and too many veterans to not generate any running game; it’s inexcusable to come up with just 34 yards on the ground. Randall Mackey wasn’t the answer at quarterback, and Zack Stoudt was lousy completing just 9-of-23 passes for 71 yards and a pick. This was bad in a must-win game, but not coming up big at Fresno State next week would be even worse. There isn’t a breather on the horizon – at Kentucky on November 5th - for a while.
(AP) OXFORD, Miss. -- As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Georgia linebacker Cornelius Washington smacked aside a Mississippi offensive lineman and headed straight for the quarterback.
He arrived in plenty of time, wrapping up Mississippi's Randall Mackey before slamming him to the turf for a loss of 17 yards.
It was a fitting end to a dominant day for Georgia's defense.
The Bulldogs held Ole Miss to just 183 total yards and a single offensive touchdown in a 27-13 victory on Saturday.
"I thought our defense came out in the second half and played a dominant game," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "The defense finished this game extremely well. One play could have made it ugly and nasty for us, but our defense just didn't (allow) that."
While Georgia's defense was thriving, the offense proved capable as well. Aaron Murray completed 17 of 26 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Isaiah Crowell rushed for 147 yards on 30 carries, helping the Bulldogs (2-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) grind to the road victory. Malcolm Mitchell caught three passes for 93 yards as the Bulldogs gained 475 total yards.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 17-0 lead by midway through the second quarter and took a 24-13 lead into halftime. Bulldogs' kicker Blair Walsh missed three field goals in the second half, but the Ole Miss offense could never capitalize.
Georgia has won eight straight games in the series, dating back to 1997. Ole Miss (1-3, 0-2) has lost 10 of their past 11 SEC games.
Georgia dominated early, with the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Crowell gashing the Ole Miss defense on the ground for several big gains. Murray's 2-yard touchdown pass to Orson Charles gave the Bulldogs a 17-0 lead with 6:01 in the second quarter.
"The first half was great offensively," Murray said. "We didn't make mistakes and we were efficient ... You could tell today that we've made some big strides since week one."
But the Rebels responded with an unexpected flurry that briefly made things interesting. After a reverse handoff, Randall Mackey hit a wide-open Donte Moncrief for a 38-yard touchdown to pull within 17-7. Then Ole Miss immediately recovered an onside kick and the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium crowd of 58,042 finally had something to cheer about.
The momentum was short lived -- Mackey threw an interception three plays later.
The loss is another blow to Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt's job security. The Rebels have a 5-11 record dating back to last season and the backlash from fans has grown louder by the week. Athletic director Pete Boone said he wanted to see more "fire" from the football team after a 30-7 loss to Vanderbilt on Sept. 17.
The Rebels were slightly more competitive. But the results were the same.
"Obviously 183 yards of offense isn't enough to win in this conference or any conference," Ole Miss offensive coordinator David Lee said. "We've got to improve on that. But I did think there was improvement. I thought our guys fought."
Ole Miss couldn't do much on offense unless it was in the form of a trick play. Both of the Rebels' touchdowns came after a reverse. Randall Mackey threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief after taking a handoff from running back Jeff Scott. Nick Brassell scored on an 81-yard punt return after Scott caught the punt, ran across the field and handed off to Brassell.
Anything conventional was almost immediately stuffed.
The Rebels rotated Zack Stoudt and Mackey throughout the game, but neither was impressive. Stoudt completed just 7 of 23 passes for 71 yards and an interception. Mackey completed 3 of 7 passes for 78 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Richt's job status has also been tenuous after a 1-2 start. But the Bulldogs' picked up a much-needed road win and some momentum heading into a winnable stretch of games against Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Georgia (1-2) at Ole Miss (1-2) Sept. 24, 12:21, ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … It’s the battle of hot seat head coaches, and it’s not a stretch to suggest that the loser might be a lock for a new head coach next year at this time. The winner might have a new head man, too.
This is when Georgia’s season is supposed to get rolling. After starting out with losses to Boise State and South Carolina, everything opens up on the Dawg schedule – at least that’s the theory. Suddenly, the road trip to Tennessee looks nastier than it did this offseason, the Vanderbilt road game isn’t a layup, and beating Mississippi State and Auburn at home is hardly a given. Georgia rolled over Coastal Carolina last week to show that the offense actually works a bit, but if there isn’t a run of at least seven wins in the final nine games, Mark Richt will certainly be gone, and it might take eight more wins along with a bowl victory to stick.
Ole Miss started out the season with a collapse against BYU, and after getting blown out by Vanderbilt, it’s do-or-die time for Houston Nutt. SEC coaches who lose to Vanderbilt by 23 aren’t long for this world, and while getting three of the next four games at home looks nice, the home dates are against Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas.
The two teams haven’t played since 2007, a 45-17 Georgia win, and the Dawgs have won the last eight meetings with the last four in blowouts. Unless the Ole Miss offense can find some semblance of production in a hurry, it’ll be another double-digit loss.
Why Georgia Might Win: The Ole Miss offense has been a complete and utter disaster. The line has been one of the SEC’s biggest disappointments, the quarterback play has been miserable, and a banged up Brandon Bolden has killed the rushing production. Against defenses with a pulse – Southern Illinois doesn’t count – the Rebels haven’t been able to move the ball a lick. On the other side of the ball, the defensive front has been a stunning weakness, with the pass rush too spotty and not enough production against the run.
Georgia, to put it simplistically, should be able to simply outscore the Rebels. The Dawgs have too many weapons and too many playmakers to be held down to under 30 points, and Ole Miss will need a ton of help to get to put four touchdowns on the board. Forget about the Rebels throwing the ball; Georgia’s pass defense has been solid so far – even against Kellen Moore – and Ole Miss can’t throw the ball a lick.
Why Ole Miss Might Win: If the Ole Miss pass rush was ever going to show up, this would be the week. Georgia’s offensive line has been awful so far at keeping Aaron Murray in one piece, and while the Rebels have underachieved at rushing the passer with just four sacks, the quickness and talent are there to get into the backfield on a regular basis this week. Georgia has allowed eight sacks so far, and while the running game is improving, it’s still not deadly enough for the Rebels to worry about anything other than getting to Murray.
To have any shot, Ole Miss has to come up with something big on defense and special teams, and while Georgia has a weapon in punter Drew Butler, who’s averaging close to 46 yards per kick, Jeff Scott has been a special return man averaging 30 yards per punt return, taking one for a score against SIU, and has been solid on kickoff returns. He’s also been decent for the ground game, running for 118 yards and three touchdowns against Southern Illinois, and he might need to do even more because …
What To Watch Out For: Brandon Bolden apparently can’t shake an ankle injury and Enrique Davis has a knee injury. The bigger problem is the Rebel passing game that settled on JUCO transfer Zack Stoudt, but isn’t getting any production. He’s barely completing half his passes for 397 yards and two touchdowns in three games, and he killed the team with five interceptions in the loss to Vanderbilt. He’s still the starter, and the offense is being simplified to help him out, but there might be a quick hook if he starts to struggle early.
Georgia isn’t getting much yet out of superstar JUCO transfer John Jenkins on the defensive front, but the other two big newcomers are starting to roll. Running back Isaiah Crowell is playing like the real deal top recruit the Dawgs were hoping they were getting this February. The other big producer is USC transfer Jarvis Jones, who has a neck issue and injury concerns, but he’s leading the team in tackles and should do even more now that SEC play is starting. Great in the open field, he’ll be a regular for double-digit stops throughout the rest of the year.
What Will Happen: Ole Miss just doesn’t have the offense. The O line isn’t producing, the passing game is a mess, and the running game is spotty. Georgia might not be air tight on either side of the ball, with major flaws in several areas, but it won’t take too many big plays to put the game away.
CFN Prediction: Georgia 34 .. Ole Miss 17
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Georgia -9.5 O/U: 54.5
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