Ole Miss vs. Georgia: We Finally Know Bulldogs Can Compete with Alabama

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterNovember 3, 2012

Through its first eight matchups, Georgia struggled putting together a complete football game.

Against Tennessee, the defense failed to show up. Against South Carolina, the passing game and running game took a break. Against Kentucky, the defense arrived late and the running game never got going. Against Florida, quarterback Aaron Murray looked like he'd rather be surfing along the First Coast rather than playing football.

Between the hedges on Saturday afternoon against the Ole Miss Rebels, it all came together.

For the first time all season the Georgia Bulldogs looked like a legitimate Top 10 team, topping Ole Miss, 37-10, at Sanford Stadium.

The Bulldogs held the potent Rebel offense to 234 total yards, forcing three turnovers. Todd Gurley rushed for 117 yards and Aaron Murray threw for 384 yards.

That's what you call "balance."

It was a game that screamed "trap" for the Bulldogs, after their win over Florida last weekend. It also was the last major hurdle between the Bulldogs and the SEC East title. If the Bulldogs beat Auburn next weekend, they'll face off against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

If they play like they did against the Rebels, not only can they hang with the Crimson Tide, they could beat them.

Yes, Ole Miss moved the football early on Georgia's defense. But not enough to pose a serious threat after defensive coordinator Todd Grantham successfully adjusted to the problems Rebel running back Jeff Scott presented off the edge. That's what good teams do.

With all of the talent on the roster, this is what Georgia should do to inferior competition—even an Ole Miss team that has been a pleasant surprise this season.

Yes, it may be asking too much to ask Georgia, a team that's been wildly inconsistent all season—even in wins—to put together a complete game against teams like Alabama when a championship is on the line. But this was a must-win situation for the Bulldogs coming off of a big win the week before, and they put together their first complete game all season.

It was better late than never for the Bulldogs, and it is a relief for Dawg Nation—which was desperately waiting for this team to live up to its potential. That potential will likely lead them to Atlanta and the SEC Championship Game, and if they play like they did on Saturday, don't discount the possibility of a Bulldog upset.