The Georgia Bulldogs looked like a JV team against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia Saturday night. I mean the Dawgs just got handed their lunch and the ‘Cocks sent them back to Athens with their tails between their legs.
Now, I’m all about supporting the team and I fully expect Georgia to rebound and have a strong finish to this season. But this game was an embarrassment.
Let’s try to find a few silver linings as we examine Georgia’s winners and losers from the game against the Gamecocks.
The entire UGA secondary was abysmal against South Carolina. I can’t put this on one guy, so I might as well just throw the entire unit under the bus.
Shaw’s first big completion of the game, a 42-yard pass to Damiere Byrd, pretty much told the story of this game in a nutshell; South Carolina wanted it more. Bacarri Rambo was beat on the play, but Shaw underthrew the ball just a little and it looked like Rambo would be able to make a play and intercept it. Rambo was in perfect position and had it really, but Byrd just took it away. He wanted it more.
Safety Shawn Williams looked lost out in coverage and got burned badly on Shaw’s first touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington.
Cornerback Sanders Commings was nonexistent in this game, finishing with a whopping one tackle on the night.
Again, this game was a complete debacle in the secondary for the Bulldogs.
Kwame Geathers didn’t do anything special at nose tackle and neither did John Jenkins.
But the two did combine to get a good a good push on a South Carolina’s lone field-goal attempt, leading to a block. It wasn’t clear which one of the two big men actually got his hand on the ball, but it was their combined effort that got the penetration that allowed the kick to be blocked.
This was one of the few bright spots of the game for Georgia, but it was way too little way too late.
Aaron Murray has garnered somewhat of a reputation for not being able to perform in big games. Well, he did nothing to silence critics Saturday night in Columbia.
Usually very good at getting through his progressions quickly and finding an open man, Murray looked hesitant with the football and flustered throughout the night. Granted, he was being constantly pressured and harassed in the backfield, but that happens and great quarterbacks find a way to get it done. Murray didn’t.
Murray was just out of sync all night. Even on easy throws, quick wide-receiver screens, he was firing unnecessary lasers at his receivers’ feet.
And on the few occasions receivers did get open and Murray had time to throw, he still couldn’t connect. His accuracy completely abandoned him in this game, as evidenced by an 11-for-31 performance—statistically the worst game of Murray’s career.
The freshman kicker had exactly one chance for a PAT, and he didn’t miss. He didn’t even need a friendly bounce off the upright to get it through. That’s a good sign moving forward.
Also, Morgan only got two chances to kick off, but he did well. One went 63 yards and was returned short of the 25-yard line, and the other resulted in touchback.
Again, folks, just trying to find a silver lining here for the Bulldogs.
Just when it looked like the offensive line was coming together, the wheels fell off against the Gamecocks. South Carolina has an excellent front seven and UGA simply had no answer to it in Columbia.
Granted, South Carolina has a defensive line whose members could probably all be playing on Sundays right now, but Georgia's offensive line was absolutely manhandled against the Gamecocks.
There was no push to open up any running lanes for the backs. Pass protection was atrocious. Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor could have applied for citizenship in the Georgia backfield with the way they were living there on Saturday night.
Malcolm Mitchell surrendered punt-returning duties to Rhett McGowan after making questionable—at best—decisions fielding punts for the past few games.
Still, Mitchell did return kickoffs and had a very nice 48-yard return in the first quarter, following South Carolina’s first touchdown drive.
Unfortunately, the offense could not take advantage of the great field position. Murray promptly had a ball batted up in the air and intercepted, leading to South Carolina’s second touchdown and then the rout was on.