Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Turnover autopsy

Monday October 30, 2006

As turnovers go, Georgia’s five against Florida weren’t as bad as they might have been. The Gators were only able to turn those five turnovers into seven points. Of course as close as the game turned out to be, those seven points were everything. Instead, the turnovers had a lot more to do with momentum. Even as Georgia showed signs of life in the second quarter, turnovers on three out of four possessions in the second and third quarters meant that too much time had elapsed before the Dawgs picked up some steam and began the comeback. The turnovers came in spurts and put way too much pressure on individual drives to get Georgia back in the game.

Turnover #1: Stafford interception. Georgia had their first taste of success on offense late in the second quarter. A Lumpkin run had put the ball at midfield, and Georgia decided to take a shot downfield. As the CBS announcer noted, Florida showed press coverage to bait Stafford into throwing the pass he made. The fade to Massaquoi was underthrown, and Georgia’s best opportunity of the game to that point was over. This turnover pretty much killed any hope Georgia had of scoring in the first half.

Lucy and Charlie Brown

Turnover #2: Lumpkin fumble. This is the biggie, and we all knew it was coming. At this point, Georgia could take a knee on their opening drive of the second half, and we’d expect that to result in a turnover. I’d say it’s also even money that someone would get hurt taking the knee. The opening sequence of the second half was about as familiar and predictable than the 23rd Halloween movie. Start with the glacial kick return of Danny Ware (plot twist with no penalty this time). Ware returned the kick to around the 18 or so. Apply Ching’s Law of Second Half Kickoffs. The result was spectacular in its swiftness. The entire left side of the offensive line collapsed, and Florida’s defensive line – all with the glowing Impact Player circles going spastic – consumed both Lumpkin and the ball.

Ching wrote last week that "if they’re still in the game at halftime against Florida, I’ll be very interested to see what Georgia does on its first drive of the second half — and if it makes as big a difference in that game as it has in some of the recent ones." Oh, it made a difference. Just a little one.

Turnover #3: Stafford fumble. The only thing that prevented Georgia from having turnovers end three consecutive drives was a single run by Lumpkin that ran out the clock in the first half. Their second drive of the second half began with the penalty they had forgotten to commit on the previous kickoff. Stafford completed two nice mid-range passes to move Georgia out of their own endzone and close to midfield, but two incompletions brought about a third-and-ten. Florida broke down the protection, and Jarvis Moss knocked the ball from Stafford’s hand. A missed field goal kept Florida from converting this turnover to points, so this was possibly the least-costliest turnover out of Georgia’s five. Georgia responded a few drives later by causing their first takeaway of the game. Tony Taylor made a great interception, and the Dawgs were soon on the board.

Turnover #4: Kelin Johnson fumble. This turnover probably hurts more than any of them because of the massive swing of momentum. Georgia had just scored their first touchdown midway through the third quarter. They then held Florida three-and-out, and the Gators were punting from their own 24. The punt wasn’t impressive, and Georgia would have had the ball no worse than on their own 40 with a full head of steam. Johnson probably never saw the ball that bounced off his calf. He was fully engaged in a block The turnover didn’t hurt Georgia on the scoreboard – Florida missed another field goal – but the very next Georgia drive ended with….

Turnover #5: Stafford interception. Georgia was given a stay of execution after Florida failed to cash in two earlier turnovers. The second missed Gator field goal of the day gave Georgia new life. Stafford was developing some rhythm in the second half, and the Dawgs were driving early in the fourth quarter trying to get back within one score. They had several consecutive plays with positive yardage, and they converted (whew!) a close fourth-down to keep the drive going. A 20-yard pass to Massaquoi moved the ball to the Florida 30, but Florida pressure caused another miscue. Stafford was flushed back and to his right as the pressure closed in, and he floated a pass down the sideline that was picked off around the Gator five yard line. As it turned out, this INT acted more like a punt that pinned Florida deep. A few plays later, Tim Tebow fumbled inside his own ten, and Georgia was able to punch in that second touchdown.

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