Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post I’d rather be lucky *and* good

Monday October 25, 2010

After witnessing the horror of a -16 turnover margin last year, I’m glad to finally be on the other side of one of those games.

Maybe I’m just overreacting to the annoying habit of the CSS broadcast of pointing out Kentucky’s statistical advantage throughout the game. Kentucky was built up quite a bit coming into this game based mainly on their comeback against and upset of South Carolina. Few seemed bothered that Kentucky’s celebrated comeback a week earlier was also fueled by four South Carolina turnovers – or that the Gamecocks had the better stats. A year ago Georgia outgained the Wildcats 487 to 260. All I’ll remember is the loss.

It’s tempting to write off the turnovers as luck, and we had plenty of discussion about that last year when the ball was bouncing the other way. But for the bobbled ball on Kentucky’s goal line, Georgia had plenty to do with those turnovers. Kentucky’s offense had allowed just six sacks entering the game – tops in the SEC. They also came into the game with only six turnovers. Whether it was the sack leading to the fumble on the opening drive, the persistence that caused the second Kentucky fumble, or the huge 4th down stop at Kentucky’s 39, those were positive plays by the Georgia defense that helped the Dawgs, as they say, make their own luck.

Three points: First, Georgia could have made Kentucky’s comeback a lot easier or even unnecessary. A year ago, Georgia led Kentucky 20-6 at halftime. In Athens. It was a 14-point edge instead of the 18-point halftime lead we enjoyed this year. It would have taken a conscious effort to match or beat the four-turnover meltdown that led to Kentucky’s win a year ago, but there’s no understating the fact that Georgia’s offense got out of its own way in the second half. The running game was working, a few high-percentage passes were peppered in, and Georgia made Kentucky work for what they got.

It’s also worth mentioning that Georgia was cashing in these short field opportunities with seven points instead of three – or none. Think back to a key series at the end of the first half of the Colorado game. A Dowtin interception set up Georgia at the Colorado 38 with enough time left to widen a slim 17-14 lead going into the locker room. Instead, Georgia got nothing from Colorado’s lone turnover of the game. That happened also in Lexington as Georgia more or less wasted the second Wildcat fumble, but they got all they could out of Kentucky’s other miscues. It’s potentially a much different game if Ealey gets stood up on 3rd and 2 from the Kentucky 15 on Georgia’s first possession.

Georgia also deserves credit for not letting off the gas. Kentucky’s comebacks earlier in the season were led by defensive turnarounds in the second half that held Auburn to six points and shut out South Carolina. If Georgia fell into that pattern, Kentucky would have been in a position to win this game as well. Instead, Georgia did a great job of putting three second half scoring drives together. Those scores answered Kentucky scoring drives and made sure that the temporary swings in momentum wouldn’t snowball into another comeback. The 8:05 drive midway through the fourth quarter was a devastating use of possession to seal the win.

Comments are closed.