CFN Take: Georgia & Gurley Need OT To Beat GT
2013 Georgia Bulldogs ... Head Coach: Mark Richt
Georgia 41, at Georgia Tech 34 2OT
| 2013 Record: 8-4|
8/31 at Clemson L 38-35
9/7 South Carolina W 41-30
9/14 OPEN DATE
9/21 North Texas W 45-21
9/28 LSU W 44-41
10/5 at Tennessee W 34-31 OT
10/12 Missouri L 41-26
10/19 at Vanderbilt L 31-27
10/26 OPEN DATE
11/2 Florida (in Jax)W 23-20
11/9 Appalachian St W 45-6
11/16 at Auburn L 45-38
11/23 Kentucky W 59-17
11/30 at Ga Tech W 41-34 2OT
Basically … Todd Gurley ran for three scores, with two in overtime including a 25-yarder in the third frame, and the Georgia D held as the Bulldogs pulled out a comeback win. The Yellow Jackets got up 20-0 on two Harrison Butker field goals and helped by a three-yard Vad Lee touchdown run and a 26-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Smelter, but Georgia started the comeback with a nine-yard Gurley touchdown catch and a Michael Bennett scoring grab, but Smelter answered with a seven-yard touchdown catch. Morgan’s third field goal forced overtime as part of a 10-0 Georgia run to close out regulation.
- Georgia QB Hutson Mason completed 22-of-36 passes for 299 yards and two scores with a pick
- Georgia Tech RB David Sims ran 21 times for 100 yards
- Georgia Tech DE Jeremiah Attaochu made eight tackles and four sacks.
- Georgia RB Todd Gurley ran 20 times for 122 yards and three scores
at Georgia 59, Kentucky 17
Basically … Aaron Murray threw four first half touchdown passes before getting knocked out for the game with a knee injury. Arthur Lynch caught two short touchdown passes and Todd Gurley scored on pass plays from 16 and 24 yards away. Down 21-0, Kentucky got on the board with a 69-yard Dyshawn Mobley run, and was down 59-10 before scoring late on a 30-yard Javess Blue catch.
- Before getting hurt, Aaron Murray completed 18-of-23 passes for 183 yards and four touchdowns with a pick. Hutson Mason stepped in and completed 13-of-19 passes for 189 yards and a score and ran for a touchdown.
- Kentucky QB Maxwell Smith completed 10-of-16 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown.
- Kentucky RB Dyshawn Mobley ran ten times for 92 yards and a touchdown.
- Georgia RB Todd Gurley ran eight times for 77 yards and caught five passes for 90 yards and two scores.
at Auburn 43, Georgia 38
Basically … Facing 4th-and-18 and 73 yards away with less than a minute to play, Auburn QB Nick Marshall threw a desperate heave down the field, Georgia safety Josh Harvey-Clemons bobbled the interception attempt, and it went right into the hands of Ricardo Louis, who made the grab and ran into the end zone for an improbable touchdown. But Georgia and Aaron Murray weren’t done, driving deep into Tiger territory, but the final few throws were stopped and Auburn got the win. Before the late miracle, Georgia got some heroics of its own from Murray, who rallied the Dawgs from down 37-17 with two touchdown passes and a five-yard scoring run. Marshall ran for two touchdowns and Tre Mason and Corey Grant each ran for scores, and Cody Parkey hit three field goals to give the Tigers the big lead with just over ten minutes to play.
- The two teams combined for 1,098 yards of total offense.
- Murray completed 33-of-49 passes for 415 yards and two touchdowns with a pick, and he ran nine times for 37 yards and two touchdowns. Georgia RB Todd Gurley ran nine times for 37 yards and two touchdowns, and he caught a team-high ten passes for 77 yards.
- Marshall completed 15-of-26 passes for 229 yards with a touchdown, and he ran 19 times for 89 yards and two scores. Tre Mason ran 27 times for 115 yards and a touchdown.
- Georgia LB Ramik Wilson made 18 tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss.
at Georgia 45, Appalachian State 6
Basically … Appalachian State took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter and made it 7-6 on Drew Stewart’s second field goal of the frame, and then it was all Georgia as it scored 38 unanswered points. Aaron Murray threw two touchdown passes with a 35-yarder to Rantavious Wooten and a 23-yarder to Michael Bennett and Todd Gurley and J.J. Green each ran for two-yard scores.
- Georgia QB Aaron Murray completed 19-of-26 passes for 281 yards and two scores with a pick, and he finished second on the team with 24 rushing yards. Hutson Mason stepped in late and completed 11-of-16 passes for 160 yards with a touchdown and a pick.
- Appalachian State committed 11 penalties for 65 yards. Georgia committed seven penalties for 52 yards.
- Georgia only ran for 127 yards and three scores. Todd Gurley ran 13 times for 75 yards and a score.
- Rantavious Wooten led the Bulldogs with four catches for 104 yards and a score.
Georgia 23, Florida 20, Nov. 2
Basically … Georgia jumped out to a big lead, withstood a furious fourth-quarter rally and held on for a third straight win over rival Florida. The Bulldogs scored the first 20 points, getting two touchdowns from Todd Gurley and two field goals from Marshall Morgan. However, the Gators tallied the final 17 points, keeping Georgia out of the end zone over the final 54 minutes. The Dawgs held the ball for the final 8:17 to put the Cocktail Party on ice.
- Gurley led the Bulldogs in rushing and receiving yards, carrying 17 times for 100 yards and a touchdown, while catching three balls for 87 yards and another score.
- Florida QB Tyler Murphy accounted for neither a touchdown nor an interception through the air, completing 13-of-29 for 174 yards.
- Georgia QB Aaron Murray defeated the Gators for a third straight time, hitting on 16-of-25 passes for 258 yards and the touchdown to Gurley.
- The Gators averaged just 3.5 yards per carry against the Bulldog D.
at Vanderbilt 31 … Georgia 27
Basically … Vanderbilt scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter helped by takeaways and touchdown runs from backup quarterback Patton Robinette and running back Jerron Seymour for the win. Georgia got two short touchdown runs from Aaron Murray and a 39-yard interception return for a score from Shaq Wiggins, but it could only manage a 23-yard Marshall Morgan field goal in the second half.
- Vanderbilt starting quarterback Austin Carta-Samuels was lost for the game with a leg injury, but Patton Robinette got the offense moving in the second half and the defense was fantastic. Now the Commodores can really and truly shoot for big things with winnable games against Kentucky, Tennessee and Wake Forest to go. A bowl game isn’t just on the radar – a good bowl game is.
- The lack of offensive playmakers is really, really starting to kill the Bulldogs. Aaron Murray didn’t have anyone to work with. The running game managed just 107 yards and the receiving corps didn’t make anything happen on the move. It’s not like Georgia didn’t have any fight – it just didn’t have the personnel. Get used to it.
- Georgia needs all two weeks off to rest up with a physical game against a desperate Florida team coming up. The rest of the season is nice and easy, but now it’s going to take three Missouri losses in the last five games for the Bulldogs to have any real shot of going to Atlanta. It’s possible with the Tigers playing some nasty games – at Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M – so there’s no time to hang heads quite yet.
- The Commodores got the job done despite not getting any pressure on Murray. The defense didn’t allow the Bulldogs to run the ball a lick, and it didn’t have to do anything crazy. Murray wasn’t able to find anything down the field because the Commodore secondary was fantastic.
Missouri 41, at Georgia 26
Basically …It turned out to be a fight, but Missouri had all the points it would need in the first half helped by touchdown runs from James Franklin and Marcus Murphy along with a 16-yard touchdown catch from L’Damian Washington, but it was a 21-yard fumble return for a score from Michael Sam that turned the tide. Georgia rallied in the second half with Aaron Murray throwing two touchdown passes to pull within two – missing a two-point conversion – but with all the momentum on the other side, Mizzou came through with a trick play 40-yard touchdown pass to Washington, and following an interception from Murray, a seven-yard Henry Josey scoring run to put it away.
- Mizzou came up with its biggest win since joining the SEC, and one of the biggest wins in the Gary Pinkel era. Georgia might have been banged up and bruised, but the Tigers took care of business and now, after a 5-7 season, are bowl eligible and knee-deep in the SEC East title hunt. They didn’t turn the ball over, but they made a slew of mistakes – committing ten penalties and missing an extra point – but they got the win.
- Aaron Murray did what he could, throwing for 290 yards and three touchdowns, but he also gave up two key picks. The receivers just weren’t dynamic enough and the running game didn’t take over, even though J.J. Green ran for a strong 87 yards and Brendan Douglas ran hard.
- Missouri won the battle, but it lost some key players with star corner E.J. Gaines knocked out with a leg injury and QB James Franklin suffering a shoulder injury. The Tigers survived with a great pass rush, constant pressure, and just enough plays on defense to hold on.
- Georgia’s injury problems hit hardest in the secondary. The offense was out of sync, but the communication wasn’t there at safety in the first half. The play improved in the second, but when Mizzou needed the big play, it got it.
Georgia 34, Tennessee 31 OT
Basically … Georgia overcame a slew of key injuries and a Tennessee rally to score with five seconds to play on a two-yard Rantavious Wooten touchdown catch to help send the game into overtime. On Tennessee’s possession, Alton Howard fumbled the ball through the end zone reaching out for the goal line, giving the ball to Georgia on a touchback. The Bulldogs didn’t go anywhere, but Marshall Morgan nailed a 42-yard field goal to pull out the win. Morgan started off the scoring with a 56-yard bomb, and Georgia held a 10-0 lead on the first of three Aaron Murray touchdown passes. Tennessee fought back helped by a blocked punt for a score and two Rajion Neal touchdown runs, with his second coming from seven yards out with just under two minutes to play. Murray marched the Bulldogs 75 yards in ten plays for the game-tying score.
- He only completed 19-of-35 passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns, but in many ways this might have been Aaron Murray’s finest moment. Todd Gurley didn’t play, RB Keith Marshall was knocked out of the game with a knee injury, and receivers Justin Scott-Wesley and Michael Bennett were injured, but Murray found a way to keep things moving and led the way to the win with a brilliant drive at the end of regulation. If he wins the Heisman, it’ll be because of this game.
- Butch Jones was absolutely brilliant. He had his Tennessee team playing fearlessly and effectively; the Vols haven’t looked this confident against a good opponent all season long. It was a horrendous break when Pig Howard’s fumble in overtime cost the team an almost-certain touchdown, but this was a great overall performance.
- Much will be made about the loss of several key Georgia offensive players, but losing safeties Tray Matthews and Connor Norman turned into a big deal as the game went on. Tennessee’s Justin Worley was able to find hit his throws against targets finding holes in the secondary. Watch out for Missouri and James Franklin next week.
- There’s the A.J. Johnson who deserves All-America consideration. He was all over the Georgia running backs making 12 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss, coming up with great stop after great stops.
at Georgia 44, LSU 41
Basically … In a classic shootout, Aaron Murray threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game on a 25-yard play to Justin Scott-Wesley with just under two minutes to play to take the lead, and Zach Mettenberger couldn’t rally the Tigers back, misfiring on a fourth down play. Mettenberger threw three touchdown passes with two to Kadron Boone in the first quarter, while Kenny Hilliard and Jeremy Hill each ran for fourth quarter scores in the seesaw battle. Neither team ever led by more than seven points, with the two teams trading scores back-and-fourth after a 24-yard Marshall Morgan field goal for Georgia in the second quarter.
- LSU might have lost, but it’s still alive. Remember, this is an interdivisional matchup, so if the Tigers run the SEC table, they’ll end up in the title game – probably against Georgia. Even in defeat, this was a tremendous game for Zach Mettenberger, who came back to Georgia and looked the part of a top NFL draft pick completing 23-of-37 passes for a career-high 372 yards and three scores.
- The Georgia secondary was picked clean, but the run defense was terrific. The big question mark going into the game, the line did a fantastic job of holding up after getting pounded on, giving up just 77 net yards and generating a nice pass rush. The Bulldogs came up with four sacks and seven tackles for loss.
- The big difference? Mettenberger was hit and had to operate under constant pressure, while Aaron Murray got lots and lots and lots of time to work. LSU didn’t generate a sack and came up with just two tackles for loss.
- Georgia SS Josh Harvey-Clemons might have come up with 15 tackles and a broken up pass, but the LSU receivers dominated. Jarvis Landry came up with ten catches for 156 yards and a score, and Odell Beckham caught six passes for 118 yards. They were unstoppable.
at Georgia 45, North Texas 21
Basically … Georgia got all it could handle thanks to poor special teams, with North Texas scoring off a blocked punt and helped by a 99-yard kickoff return for a score from Brelan Chancellor, but with the score tied at 21, everything started to click. The Bulldogs scored 24 unanswered points with Aaron Murray running for a one-yard score and throwing his third touchdown pass of the game. Murray and Reggie Davis set a school-record with a 98-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, but North Texas answered with a 20-yard Darnell Smith touchdown catch. It was the only Mean Green offensive score of the game.
- Georgia was fine. It didn’t look good for a while with the score tied at 21 in the third quarter, but the defense did a terrific job and the offense moved the ball. The two special teams breakdowns were the issue, but the Dawgs ended up outgaining the Mean Green 641 yards to 245 and gave up just seven yards rushing.
- There were some missed plays, and there wasn’t much positive after allowing 641 yards, but North Texas Derek Akunne came up with 12 tackles with a forced fumble and corner Kenny Buyers held his own at times with ten tackles with two broken up passes along with a recovery of Akunne’s forced fumble.
- Aaron Murray is unflappable. He threw a pick, and he was put in some bad spots, but he completed 22-of-30 passes for 408 yards and three touchdowns with a rushing score.
- The UNT defense did a nice job of bottling up Todd Gurley, keeping him to 91 yards on 21 carries. The defensive front was active, and while it didn’t get to Murray, it held its own against the Bulldog ground attack.
at Georgia 41, South Carolina 30, Sept. 7
Basically … Aaron Murray threw four touchdown passes and Todd Gurley pounded away for 132 yards and a score as the Bulldogs held off the Gamecocks. South Carolina hit several home runs throughout the first half with Connor Shaw finding Nick Jones for two touchdowns, and Mike Davis ran for a touchdown in the fourth to make it a four point Georgia lead, but Murray connected with Justin Scott-Wesley for an 85-yard touchdown to answer. South Carolina got down to the Georgia one late, but was stopped on fourth-and-goal. Gurley and the Bulldogs ground out the clock to close.
- Aaron Murray will get most of the attention for finally winning a really, really big game over a top ten team, and he was terrific, completing 17-of-23 passes for 309 yards and four scores, but this was about the Georgia offensive line. It pounded away for Todd Gurley’s 134 yards, and other backs, from Keith Marshall – who got banged up – and Brendan Douglas adding a few huge plays in key moments.
- How did Jadeveon Clowney do? Three tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss. Considering he was hurt with a foot injury, and with Georgia doing a great job of keeping in an extra blocker or two to allow Murray room to step up into the pocket time and again, he had a good day.
- The Georgia receiving corps was just fine without Malcolm Mitchell. Murray spread the ball around well to several different targets and used his backs well. Murray made everyone around him better.
- Steve Spurrier might be an offensive genius, but you never, ever, ever run wide on an option play on fourth-and-goal. South Carolina was able to power away well, and Mike Davis and Connor Shaw ran well, but it would’ve been nice if the Gamecocks could’ve operated under center and barreled it in.
at Clemson 38, Georgia 35, Aug. 31
Basically … In a wild shootout that lived up to the billing. Tajh Boyd ran for two touchdowns, Sammy Watkins came up with an electrifying 77-yard touchdown catch, and Roderick McDowell barreled for 132 yards to hold off the Dawgs. Georgia kept up the pace, highlighted by Todd Gurley touchdown runs from 77 and 12 yards out, but a botched snap on a late missed field goal turned out to be the difference. Aaron Murray barreled in for a one-yard score late, but Georgia couldn’t get the onside kick.
- Everything about this game lived up to the billing. Everything. The quarterbacks were fantastic, the defenses struggled, it was a wild shootout, and the running backs were all-world.
- Georgia isn’t out of the national title hunt. It’s probably playing for the BCS championship by running the table, but that’s a tall, tall task now.
- Todd Gurley had the No. 1 overall pick look with 154 yards and two scores on just 12 carries, but Roderick McDowell was every bit as effective with his hard 132 yards on 22 carries. He wasn’t as flashy, but he got the job done.
- It’s not fair – it’s really, really not fair – but even though Aaron Murray completed 20-of-29 passes for 323 yards with a pick, he didn’t pull out the win in a really big game.
What Happened In The Spring Game?
On the plus side, the defense that has to replace so many key starters looked in midseason form. The Black team beat the Red 23-17, with Aaron Murray completing 12-of-18 passes for 200 yards and two scores for the losing side. Jonathan Rumph was the star for the Black team coming up with four catches for 98 yards and two scores with a 30-yard play from Hutson Mason and a 47-yarder from walk-on Parker Welch.
- Kosta Vavlas led the way for the Red team with 12 tackles and a tackle for loss, while John Taylor showed what he could do moving from tackle to end making two sacks and seven stops.
- The Red O line had too many problems, allowing six sacks from six different players. Linebacker Ramik Wilson led all Black defenders with eight tackles and a tackle for loss.
- For the losing Red side, running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall combined for just 31 yards on ten carries with Gurley coming up with most of them on a 12-yard run.
Why To Be Excited ... Last year the excitement surrounded the “Dream Team” defense, but this year it’s the offense that has the potential to be unstoppable with ten starters returning and only losing solid-but-replaceable receiver Tavarres King. All five starters are back up front, and while tackle John Theus and Chris Burnette might not take part this spring as they heal up, it’s not a bad thing for the development of the depth. All the stars return to the backfield that made everyone immediately forget about Isaiah Crowell, and Aaron Murray is still slinging it around instead of pushing Geno Smith for the honor of being the No. 1 quarterback taken in a mediocre draft. On the other side, massive losses of defensive talent should make this a fun offseason full of position battles. Several of the key recruits and JUCO transfers are in early to vie for spots right away. However …
Why To Be Grouchy ... You don’t get better by losing Jarvis Jones, John Jenkins, Cornelius Washington, Kwame Geathers, Alec Ogletree, Sanders Commings, Shawn Williams, Bacarri Rambo and a slew of key defensive backups. No, the D wasn’t a brick wall against the better teams up to the standards of most top SEC teams, but it was still ultra-talented and it found its groove over the second half of the regular season allowing just 43 points over a five game stretch. The focus throughout spring and the offseason might be on a few JUCO transfers up front – Chris Mayes needs to shine on the inside right away – but the secondary is going to be a work in progress with little time to gel. August 31st against Tajh Boyd and Clemson is coming faster than you think, and facing the Tigers, South Carolina and LSU before September is up will be a challenge.
What Needs Working On ... Yeah, the defense might lose a who’s who of NFL talent, but it’s not like this group held up against the run. The Alabama offensive line imposed its will in the SEC championship; Georgia Tech and Nebraska didn’t have many problems moving the ball; and even Georgia Southern rumbled well. Stuffing Florida cold masked the missed tackles and the problems holding firm for a full sixty minutes on a regular basis, allowing 299 rushing yards per game and a total of 1,197 over the last four with seven touchdowns. By comparison, Alabama gave up 1,069 rushing yards and ten scores all season. Step One for all the new guys up front will be to figure out how to hold firm in defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s defense, and getting into the backfield will have to be a part of it.
Non-Conference Games: at Clemson, North Texas, Appalachian State, at Georgia Tech
Games Against The West: LSU, at Auburn
Realistic Best Case Record: 12-0
Worst Case Record: 8-4
Likely Finish: 10-2
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: at Clemson, South Carolina, North Texas, at Tennessee, Missouri, at Vanderbilt, Appalachian State, at Auburn, Kentucky, at Georgia Tech
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: LSU, Florida
Schedule Analysis: The Bulldogs aren’t taking it easy starting out with a statement game against Clemson in the Georgia Dome and finishing up on the road in the rivalry battle against Georgia Tech. The two nasty non-conference games make home dates against North Texas and Appalachian State forgivable, but it’s not a plus get one of the off weeks before dealing with the Mean Green in mid-September.
As if facing the Tigers to kick off the year wasn’t tough enough, the Bulldogs have to be rocking and rolling the week after for the SEC opener against South Carolina. The bad: the next SEC game is against LSU. The good: it’s at home, and missing Texas A&M and Alabama is a positive. The home game against Missouri is the only date in Athens from late September to November 9th, going on the road to face Tennessee and Vanderbilt in between to go along with the dates against Mizzou and Florida. Going to Auburn won’t be easy, but the team should be rested after playing Appalachian State the week before. The SEC season ends up with Kentucky at home.
Team Concerns For 2013: The Bulldogs have a ton of work to do on the defensive front that loses Jarvis Jones, John Jenkins, Alec Ogletree and Cornelius Washington. The offense might get just about everyone back, but the line has to be stronger in pass protection while the defense has to tighten up against the better running games. Penalties were a problem committing 96 for 749 yards - compared to the opponents getting flagged 70 times for 557 yards - and the placekicking has to be stronger after Collin Barber hit just 8-of-14 chances.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Linebacker.
It might have been a rough Signing Day with several key in-state losses, but everything is fine, helped by getting defensive end Davin Bellamy and offensive tackle Devondre Seymour.
As always, Georgia isn't having much of a problem bringing in several top-shelf stars, and the bulk this year is at defense. Corners Shaquille Wiggins, Brendan Langley and Reggie Wilkerson are among the best in the country, while JUCO transfers Kennar Johnson and Shaquille Fluker should help out right away. Getting star prospect Tray Matthews isn't going to hurt, either. However, the best prospects are at linebacker with Tim Kimbrough, Ryan Rankin, Reggie Carter and Johnny O'Neal all big, fast options for inside or out in a few years, but Leonard Floyd could see time right away.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 12. That Class Was Heavy On ... Patience for last year’s class to mature. No one helped themselves more than Georgia last year with terrific transfers coming in to blend with young stars like Isaiah Crowell. Mark Richt has loaded up on the offensive line over the last few seasons, and now it’s time to fortify the talent across the board. There isn’t any one glaring need.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 8. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive tackle. The dream class should change around Georgia football over the next several years with superstar prospects like QB Christian LeMay, RB Isaiah Crowell, and DE Ray Drew all with the potential to be major national figures, but for all the flash for the offense and for all the good things done in the secondary, the key should be on the offensive front with rock-solid prospects for the interior in David Andrews and Chris Mayes, and top tackles in Watts Dantzler, Zach DeBell, and Xzavier Ward to bank on by 2014 to provide next-level talent on the outside.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 16. That Class Was
Heavy On ... The lines. After
signing a ton of skill players last season, Georgia
needed the building blocks this year. The team's
best recruit was Alec Ogletree, a guided missile of
a linebacker who was the key to the defensive haul
several months ago. Up front, head coach Mark Richt
inked Brent Benedict out of Jacksonville, one of the
nation's top tackle recruits, and also got the very
promising Kenarious Gates. On the defensive side,
Garrison Smith spurned Alabama, Florida State,
Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC to be the
leader of the Dawg line in the near future. T.J.
Stripling will be a terror on the end after hitting
the weighs and adding at least 25 pounds, while
Michael Thornton is a ready-made tackle who's good
enough to see time right away.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 10. That Class Was
Heavy On ... skill players. This isn’t a big class, but it’s a class full of talent with a few top-shelf skill players looking to be the next big thing now with Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno gone. Aaron Murray is the receiver to combine with A.J. Green to potentially give the Dawgs the SEC’s best 1-2 receiving punch, while QBs Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger should wage an interesting battle for the starting spot in the near future. Only one running back, Washaun Ealey, signed on, but he’s a good one.