On Secondary Thought, Maybe We Are in For a Stressful Season

Brennen SCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2009

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Tailback Brian Maddox #10 of the South Carolina Gamecocks rushes in a touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 12, 2009 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Soon after leaving Sanford Stadium, I began to ponder one of the most exciting games I've witnessed "Between the Hedges" (and I've been to a lot of games).

If you had told me that the final score would be 41-37, and that the Dawgs would need a goal line pass batted down from none other than Rennie Curran to win the game, I would have sooner believed that Oklahoma State would lose to Houston.

Unfortunately, it is never much fun to watch a future ESPN classic when it's your team's record on the line. And before I focus on the negative aspects of this game, I'd like to point out that our Bulldogs made clutch plays when it mattered, Joe Cox proved the doubters wrong (like I said he would), and Blair Walsh can boot the ball out of the endzone!

Oh yeah, and where did Brandon Boykin come from?! I think the Bulldog nation is going to grow to love this kid!

In addition, the Bulldogs had three turnovers that resulted in seventeen points for the Gamecocks. Therefore, if the Bulldogs avoid those turnovers, the score is 41-20 (a much more respectable result).

When we started this season, we knew we were in for some heart-pounding games, and we knew that sometimes they wouldn't go our way. Last night was an example of that, and after only our first two games, the Georgia Bulldogs looked about as different as night and day when comparing the game against OSU to the game against USC.

Against Oklahoma State, the Bulldog offense only generated 257 yards, only had 58 penalty yards and Joe Cox only completed 50 percent of his passes. The defense held the explosive Cowboy offense to 307 total yards.

Against South Carolina, the Bulldog offense had 308 yards of total offense, had 108 penalty yards (although officiating was downright horrible), Joe Cox completed 70 percent of his passes with two touchdowns. While the defense allowed 427 yards of total offense, 313 of which were passing yards.

So, the question is: What Bulldog team will show up each week?

Will it be the offense that is efficient and makes great great plays, or the offense that is stagnant and can't get the ball into the hands of their playmakers?

Will it be the defense that plays lights-out, or the porous defense of 2008 that can't stop some of the worst offenses in college football?

I expect many more nail-biters as the season progresses, which can't be good for the Bulldog Nation's health. The Dawgs may be 1-2 when they play Arizona State on the 26th.

However, on a more optimistic note, we're first in the SEC East!


What do the Bulldogs need to work on before heading to Arkansas?

If the Bulldogs are going to compete period, the secondary must improve drastically. Other than one interception, the safeties and cornerbacks looked pitiful. That's got to change. I also wouldn't mind seeing Richard Samuel get more carries as well.

Game-changing play:

After fumbling a kick return that gave the Gamecocks a 17-7 lead, Branden Smith redeemed himself on a reverse that went for 61 yards in the beginning of the second quarter. This play sent the crowd into a frenzy, and gave the Bulldogs a 21-17 lead. Georgia would not trail the rest of the game.

Offensive Player of the Game: A.J. Green

Green had 86 yards on six receptions and a touchdown. He became the big-time target for Joe Cox that everyone knew he would be. Starting off the season with 138 yards, not bad.

Defensive Player of the Game: Rennie Curran

15 tackles and the game-winning pass deflection. Curran is a player that never fails to get your adrenaline pumping

Special Teams Player of the Game: Brandon Boykin

Brandon had 187 kick return yards, including a 100-yard kick off return for a touchdown (the longest in Georgia history in Sanford Stadium). Not to mention he had a crucial interception in the second quarter that ended up extending Georgia's lead to 24-17.