Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Homecoming

Monday November 5, 2007

Homecoming 2007 was about as brilliant a day as you could want for college football. The highlight of Homecoming every year for me is the opportunity to venture back down Between the Hedges. The radio broadcast team noted a strong attendance at the Dawg Walk, and I have to add that the pregame crowd was as loud as I’ve ever heard from the field for a Homecoming. I believe that the crowd noise really helped the Georgia defense hold off Troy’s early scoring chances.

I disagree that the Dawgs came out flat in this game. If someone can pinpoint that two early fumbles were the result of a casual attitude, they’re far more astute than I am. It’s fortunate that the defense wasn’t flat to open the game; they limited Troy to just three points from those Georgia turnovers. Troy generally played well, and there was a reason why they received votes in last week’s poll. If there was an area of the game that was sluggish, I’d say it was Stafford’s accuracy in the first half. He picked it up at the end of the half with very accurate passes to Chandler and Bailey. As Ching notes, Stafford is 28-for-47 for 434 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions in the past two games.

Stafford’s third quarter interception was pivotal. A better throw from Stafford on the preceding play would have sent a wide-open Mikey Henderson into the end zone, but the long pass play still set the Dawgs up with a good chance to score. Another touchdown and a score of 31-13 early in the third quarter probably would have made the rest of the game much less dramatic. As it was, Troy quickly turned the interception into a touchdown of their own, and we were set for a back-and-forth finish.


You know, I’m not going to get on the defense that bad for giving up 34 points to Troy. It was a big play day for the defense, and I mean that in both a good and bad way.

The good was the takeaways highlighted by Marcus Howard’s sack and fumble recovery. The Dawgs just missed on a couple of other interceptions – one was taken away after review, and another bounced off of Rashad Jones. Remembering Georgia’s ability to feast on Auburn turnovers last year, the Bulldog defense picked a good time to start creating some takeaways.

The bad was the big plays that burned the defense. pwd correctly points out that Troy frequently used pesky screens to get the ball on the perimeter, but as annoying as those plays were to Georgia fans, they were relatively benign. The real damage came on big plays right down the middle. Troy’s first touchdown was a 32-yard pass down the middle of the field (not long after a 29 yard pass). Troy’s second touchdown was a 44-yard pass into double coverage. For the second straight game, Rashad Jones missed on an opportunity to break up a long touchdown pass. Troy’s third touchdown was set up by a 38-yard run again down the middle of the field.

Though it seemed as if Troy was converting 75% of their third downs, reality is that they were just 6-of-16. Two of those conversions came on their final throwaway drive at the end. They were able to convert a 3rd-and-13 and a 3rd-and-10, and memories of some big third down conversions by Florida probably distorted how effective Troy was. The Trojans converted 50% (2 of 4) third downs with 10+ yards to go and just 33% (4 of 12) with 9 yards or less to go. Strange, huh?

For all of the inconsistency on defense, the difference between a less-than-comfortable win and an upset loss were some big defensive stands. The two at the beginning of the game were impressive enough, but I think one defensive stand that really helped the outcome of the game was the goalline stand on Troy’s first drive of the third quarter. Troy had a first down on the Georgia 5 yard line, but the Dawgs held and forced a field goal. Since Troy was able to get a touchdown on their next drive, holding them to a field goal meant that Georgia maintained a four-point advantage. A tie game in the second half could have really changed the approach by both teams.


  • Can someone please put the mike man/woman back in the box when grownup football returns to Sanford Stadium this weekend? God forbid a CBS camera captures that.
  • Geno Atkins continues to be more and more disruptive from the defensive tackle position. If he can continue to get into the backfield, he could be a big factor against a less-mobile Brandon Cox.
  • There was some question whether Sean Bailey would play, but it’s a good thing he did – he was Georgia’s leading receiver. He continues to be a very steady performer as a senior.
  • Georgia didn’t give up a sack on Saturday and has only allowed two in the past three games. There’s definitely something good going on up front, and the best news is that the progress has been steady and consistent.

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