Georgia vs. Clemson: 10 Things We Learned from the Bulldogs' Loss

Brian JonesContributor ISeptember 1, 2013

Georgia vs. Clemson: 10 Things We Learned from the Bulldogs' Loss

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    It was not the start the Georgia Bulldogs wanted to their 2013 season, but they came up short against the Clemson Tigers in a well-contested game, 38-35.

    It was a game that had a lot of fireworks, but when push comes to shove, the Bulldogs made too many mistakes on offense and special teams.

    However, they can't dwell on the loss for very long because they have South Carolina next week, and the Gamecocks are not going to fell sorry for the Bulldogs.

    Here are 10 things we learned from the Bulldogs' loss. 

Todd Gurley Is on Another Level

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    We all knew how good Todd Gurley was before the game, but he took his game to a whole new level in the loss.

    With 154 yards and two touchdowns. He carried the team on his back and was the reason the Bulldogs had a fighting chance.

    He did suffer a thigh injury early in the contest but bounced back from it in a major way.

    Despite the loss, Gurley is a legit Heisman contender. Period. 

Keith Marshall Has Some Work to Do

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    As good as Gurley played, Keith Marshall could have been better.

    With only 43 yards on 16 carries, Marshall had a tougher time getting things going. 

    He does have the same explosion as Gurley, but something was missing from him in the loss. 

    He should be OK moving forward, but the Bulldogs could have used better production from Marshall against Clemson. 

Quayvon Hicks Is Dangerous

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    Fullback Quayvon Hicks made a name for himself in the loss.

    Hicks had a 37-yard run and also scored a TD in the second quarter. He was able to beat Merritt Hall for the job during camp and proved why he was the better fullback against Clemson.

    He also did a good job opening holes for Gurley, and if he continues to do that, the Bulldogs will have a successful season.

Aaron Murray Has to Step Up

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    Aaron Murray did not have a bad game as he threw 323 yards, but he did not throw a touchdown and had one costly interception after the Bulldogs came up with a turnover.

    With his record being 3-12 against Top 25 teams in his career, Murray has to find a way to raise his game against top opponents. If he can't do that, it will be a very disappointing season in Athens.

The Offensive Line Is Not Very Seasoned

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    With five starters returning, one would think the offensive line would be a strength, right?

    That was not the case because the offensive line for the Bulldogs gave up four sacks and had a couple of costly penalties.

    We can't jump to too many conclusions because it's only the first game of the season, but the offensive line has to play betterspecifically Kenarious Gates, who had a hard time blocking Murray's blind side. 

No Malcolm Mitchell, No Problem

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    The Bulldogs suffered a major blow as Malcolm Mitchell left the game with a knee injury.

    But Chris Conley, Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley all stepped up when Mitchell went down. 

    Conley had 67 yards on three catches, Bennett had 60 yards on five catches and Conley had 55 yards on four catches.

    There has always been plenty depth at wide receiver, so as much as the Bulldogs don't want to lose Mitchell for a significant amount of time, they are prepared for it. 

Ramik Wilson Is Going to Be a Star

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    The defense did not play a great game, but there are a few players who are poised to do some big things this year.

    One of those players is Ramik Wilson, who had 13 tackles in the loss.

    Wilson flew to the football and played with an intensity you need at linebacker.

    Wilson and Amarlo Herrera will make a very good inside linebacker duo by season's end.

Tray Matthews Will Be OK

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    For a guy who played in his first college game, Tray Matthews did not play too bad.

    He had his mistakes, but he did finish with eight tackles and one tackle for loss. 

    He did have that one missed tackle on fourth down that led to a first down as well as seven points. But he did not make too many mental errors, and he will improve each time he's on the field .

The Defense Will Be Solid

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    It's hard to say if the defense will be better than last year because it only played one game, but the unit did make some good plays despite giving up over 400 yards.

    With the help of Herrera, Wilson and Connor Norman, the defense never gave up and gave the Bulldogs a chance to win.

    The one thing they need to do is tighten up the run defense, which was a problem for the group last year. If they can do that, they will have a good year.

It's Not the End of the World

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    There is no need to worry, Bulldogs fans.

    Despite the loss, the Bulldogs still have all of their goals in front of them.

    They will learn from their mistakes and will play better against South Carolina.

    This loss may not be a bad thing because it gave the coaches a chance to see what works and what doesn't.

    Because it was a close game, the Bulldogs won't drastically drop in the rankings, and a game like this will give them motivation to play better moving forward.