Georgia vs. Auburn: 10 Things We Learned in the Bulldogs' Loss
To say the Georgia Bulldogs left everything on the field in the loss to Auburn would be an understatement. The Bulldogs came back from 20 points down in the fourth quarter only to lose at the end of the game on an improbable pass play from Auburn.
This will be a tough one for Bulldogs players, fans and anyone that has to do with the program to swallow. But they have to regroup and get ready for the last two games of the season as well as the bowl game.
Here are 10 things we learned from the Bulldogs loss against Auburn.
Aaron Murray Is One of the Toughest Players in College Football
Being down by 20 points did not phase Aaron Murray because he was able to lead the Bulldogs to a fourth-quarter rally, which led to the Bulldogs to be up by one with less than two minutes left.
Murray had 414 passing yards and four total touchdowns. The last touchdown he scored was on 4th-and-goal where he ran it in and took on two defenders in the end zone.
Murray is not having the season he wanted, but he has played his tail off in every single game.
And the Bulldog nation should be thankful to have him for the last four years.
The Offensive Tackles Have to Be Better
One of the reasons the Bulldogs could not get anything going on offense early on is the offensive tackles could not contain the Auburn defensive ends.
Kolton Houston, Kenarious Gates and John Theus all had trouble in the first half, but they were able to pick things up in the second half.
However, all three need to be more consistent. If the Bulldogs want to finish with a 9-4 record, the offensive tackles and the rest of the offensive line have to step it up.
Todd Gurley Is Effective in the Passing Game
One of the things that makes Todd Gurley special is that he can also make plays through the air.
Gurley led the Bulldogs with 10 receptions for 77 yards. His longest reception was 22 yards on the Bulldogs' final drive in the fourth quarter.
Don't be surprised if Gurley is used more in the passing game. Because of the injuries with the receivers, the Bulldogs need to have someone step up, and Gurley may be that guy.
Todd Gurley Needs to Run the Ball 25 Times
Because of the 10 receptions, Gurley was able to touch the ball 25 times. But he makes his hay when he's running the ball and the Bulldogs could not give him enough touches.
Gurley had 79 yards on 15 carries. He only had one carry in the first quarter and ended with seven in the first half.
It's understood the Bulldogs were down by 20 and they could not run the ball as much as they would have liked. It's also understood that Gurley was having success when the ball was thrown his way. But because of Gurley being able to hit a big run anytime he steps onto the field, he should have had 25 rushes in the game against Auburn.
Special Teams Were Key in Bulldogs' Comeback
Believe it or not, the special teams were a big reason the Bulldogs were able to almost beat the Tigers.
Marshall Morgan hit all his field-goal attempts, the kick coverage was strong all game long and Leonard Floyd came up with a blocked field goal in the first half.
The Tigers knew if they could defeat the Bulldogs via special teams, it would demoralize them. But the Bulldogs won the special teams battle, which is a very rare thing to see this season.
The Defense Has Not Turned the Corner
Many teams that had flaws to start the year would be much improved by Week 12 of the regular season.
That is not the case with the Georgia Bulldogs defense, as they have given up over 30 points seven times this season.
The game against Auburn was not a great effort, giving up 43 points and over 550 yards of total offense.
The reason for the lack of defensive production is that the secondary has issues in coverage as well as communication.
But there is another reason why the defense has been reeling.
The Linebackers Need to Be More Disciplined
The linebackers didn't have a bad effort because Ramik Wilson had 18 tackles and one sack, while Amarlo Herrera had 12 tackles.
But there were times where they missed tackles on Nick Marshall and Tre Mason, which can't happen when facing a team that likes to run the ball consistently.
Both Wilson and Herrera have been tackling machines all year as both players are in the top five in the conference when it comes to total tackles. But they have not been able to make impact plays on a consistent basis, which is why the defense is not where they want to be.
The Secondary Will Be Better
The play where Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons both missed the interception and landed in the hands of Ricardo Louis is a summary of how Georgia's secondary has looked all year long.
However, they did have a total of five passes defended against Auburn and only had a few mental mistakes. This is not to say the secondary has gotten better, but the growing pains they are going through now will pay dividends down the road.
Matthews and Harvey-Clemons are hurting from that game-winning touchdown catch. But if they are the players we think they are, they won't make that same mistake again.
Now the Season Has Come to an End
Despite having two regular-season games and a bowl game left on the schedule, the Bulldogs' season has come to an end.
They have been eliminated from SEC East contention and won't play in the SEC title game.
The Bulldogs have been through a lot this season, and it's unfortunate they could not reach their goal, especially with Murray coming back for his senior year.
All they can do now is continue to fight and try to get to nine wins.
There Is No Quit in This Team
The Bulldogs aren't going to lay down these last three games because they have shown no matter the circumstances, they will never give up.
Despite being down by 20 points against Auburn on the road in the fourth quarter, being able to take the lead shows they have the ability to fight though the hard times.
With this team being as young as they are, especially on defense, that mentality will take them far. The 2013 season is not going the way the Bulldogs wanted, but because of how they are competing in every game they have played this year, they will be a much better squad in 2014.