Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post How to make a blowout worse

Thursday October 2, 2008

It’s bad enough when your team gets it handed to them at home. It’s even worse when that loss possibly cost you a chance to be better in the future.

California prep quarterback Josh Nunes withdrew his commitment from Tennessee after witnessing the home crowd turn on the Vols during their lopsided loss to Florida a few weeks ago. Nunes has now committed to Stanford. He maintains that the crowd reaction wasn’t part of his decision, but Andy Staples’s column sheds a little more light there.

Meanwhile, Georgia fans are getting praise for how they handled the 31-0 halftime deficit.

But what shocked me more was the dialogue that was occurring between the Georgia announcers. They were talking about the standing ovations that the Georgia fans were giving the team as they went into and came out of the halftime locker room. According to one announcer, he had never been so proud of the Georgia fans in all his years of broadcasting Bulldogs games.

I admit that I was waiting to hear a chorus of boos as the halftime whistle sounded. To be sure, there was some booing. But the overall positive reaction of the crowd in Athens was noticed not only by pundits and fans of other schools but also by some very important prospects that were in town.

“Even when Georgia got down, they stayed with them,” said Florida athlete Denard Robinson.

“The fans were great the whole time,” said defensive end Neiron Ball. “They stayed around, they kept supporting their team, and I really liked that.”

Georgia’s own high-profile quarterback commitment, Aaron Murray, was on campus along with teammate and tight end prospect Orson Charles. Their experience was also positive.

Look, I’m not going to pretend that Georgia fans are that far away from Tennessee fans. Maybe we were too stunned to boo. We’ve certainly seen our share of ugly behavior at Sanford Stadium, and many of us can recall that the reaction at the 1999 Auburn game (after a very similar first half) probably cost us any chance with Jason Campbell.

For one night though, Georgia fans did their part to keep the damage to the program limited to the field on Saturday night. I was as amazed as anyone at how the fans stayed in the game. When Prince Miller scored, you’d have thought that Georgia had tied it up. It’s unfortunate that the defense couldn’t get a stop after that punt return; instead, Alabama ate up the first five minutes of the 4th quarter and kicked a field goal that put the game away.

Let’s not make a habit of it, though. I don’t know that the Dawgs want to see how far they can push the goodwill of the fans, and another 31-point half most likely wouldn’t get the same response.

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