The 2010 season for the Georgia Bulldogs looks promising on paper. The SEC schedule is tough, but fairly manageable, and the non-conference competition isn’t nearly as daunting as in years past. It’s a schedule that seems to be tailor made for a team that is not only searching for a new identity on defense but at quarterback as well.
Most predict, at worst, a 9-3 record with firm leanings towards a 10-2 season—despite the doubts and rumblings by those looking in from the outside.
That said, there are a few potential trap games that loom large for Georgia which could, to the detriment of the team, put a potential damper on any hopes of a rebound season in 2010. This article covers one of them:
Georgia at Colorado, 9/25—Boulder, CO
In 2006, the Bulldogs narrowly escaped defeat on the arm and heroics of, then freshman, Joe Cox. The Bulldogs struggled to find their footing against the Buffaloes early and found themselves down 13-0 in the fourth quarter with less than 10 minutes to play. The arms and legs of Colorado quarterback Bernard Jackson kept the Georgia defense at bay while running and throwing for 225 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs, for their part, couldn’t seem to get their running game going even with a number of talented backs on the depth chart. Kregg Lumpkin, Thomas Brown, and Danny Ware contributed to a team rushing total of 54 yards on the day. It left the Sanford Stadium crowd scratching their heads in confusion—after all, this was the same Colorado team that lost its opener to Montana State.
It would take some heady play by Joe Cox and some key plays on defense (Paul Oliver caused a fumble which Jeff Owens would recover and the defense held the Buffaloes scoreless on their final drive) for Georgia to pull out the victory.
Fast forward to 2010 and the Colorado Buffaloes are no better than in 2006, wherein they won two games, but they do have several upsets to their credit while playing at home:
2006: Texas Tech
2007: Oklahoma and Nebraska
2008: West Virginia
2009 didn’t produce any big time upsets but they played the eventual Big XII North champs—Nebraska—very close.
Dan Hawkins has not been able to bring the winning ways he fostered at Boise State to his team in Boulder, but this could be his final season to make his mark and Georgia is a team he has played on more than one occasion without much success. He has to be itching to steal one from Mark Richt’s bunch and what better time than now to catch the Bulldogs off guard?
Colorado’s defense has some holes to fill with the loss of four of their best tacklers but their offense has some overlooked talent on its roster who are itching to make a name for themselves.
Markques Simas and Scotty McKnight form a dangerous tandem at the wide receiver spot (combining for 1,478 yards and nine touchdowns in '09). Add in Toney Clemons, the Buffaloes MVP standout of the spring, and the Bulldogs secondary—a secondary that will need to redeem itself after last season’s poor play—could have their hands full.
There are question marks on the offensive line for Colorado, but the running game saw no ill during the spring and Rodney Stewart, who rushed for 804 yards last season (including 110 against a top 10 Nebraska run defense), is always a threat when he’s healthy.
The biggest question for Georgia will be how well they start the game. On the surface, there is no reason that Georgia should lose this game, despite the talent and hunger the Buffaloes are going to have coming into it, but the elevation of Boulder mixed in with the back-to-back road games the Dawgs will find themselves up against could make this game more interesting than it looks.
Conditioning will be key and the Bulldogs cannot afford to allow the Buffaloes to gain any momentum at home if they expect to come out of this with their helmets on straight. Even more, the running game will be heavily depended upon early in order to smooth the way of the passing game.
The Buffaloes have a talented duo in their secondary as both Jalil Brown and Jimmy Smith combined for 20 pass breakups on 2009. Georgia will need the fresh legs of not only Washaun Ealey and Caleb King but also the diverse talent of Carlton Thomas as well. Thomas could be the x-factor in this game—particularly on third downs where his ability to catch the screen and create in space could pose matchup problems—and he will be one to watch.
Clock control was an Achilles heel for the Dawgs last season but they will need to control the game with authority here if they expect to keep the crowd—which can be rowdy at times—out of the mix.
Other Interesting Facts to Note:
- Georgia is 15-8 all-time versus the Big XII with an average win margin of 13 ppg.
- Under Richt, Georgia is 3-1 versus the Big XII with an average win margin of 15 ppg.
- Boulder sits at an altitude of 5,344 feet—that’s higher than Denver’s 5,280 feet.
Joe Cox's Game-Winning Drive:
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