It seems comical to walk away from this loss with anything but a laundry list of negatives. After all, as much credit as you feel obliged to give South Carolina for securing a big time SEC victory at home, you feel equally sick to your stomach that Georgia didn't play the best they could play on Saturday.
That said, you start looking for the silver lining—wherever you can find it—because there is still a lot of football left to play.
So, after revisiting the game, and the box score, here are the performances that represent hope that tomorrow will be a brighter day.
1. Aaron Murray, QB
Murray was solid. Despite the final score, you have to be impressed with how the young freshman performed under hostile conditions, on the road, for the very first time. He made good decisons—aside from a play in the first half where he should have thrown it away, but took the sack instead.
He didn't try to do too much with the football and he didn't turn the ball over—that's key. He was as steady as the fans could have hoped in that pressure-cooker of a situation and that bodes well for the future. That said, the coaches need to take the handcuffs off him a little more.
Richt and Bobo still seem hesitant to set him loose and, to be frank, it's time to see what he can do with a more wide-open playbook.
2. Justin Houston, LB
Lost in the mess that was a myriad of missed tackles and poor run defense was the fact that Justin Houston performed well on Saturday—three sacks, 10 tackles, and a forced fumble—against South Carolina.
3. Kris Durham, WR
Everyone, both before and after the game, emphasized the loss of A.J. Green and the impact his absence might have played in the loss. However, no one gave nearly as much credit to Kris Durham who, in Green's absence, managed to rack up 76 yards on three catches (25.3 avg). The senior continues to be a reliable set of hands for Murray and, unfortunately, not much attention is being paid to that fact.
4. Pass Defense
The main focus of conversation is centered on the inefficiency of the Georgia run defense. They got got pummeled by Marcus Lattimore—all day long. The true freshman had no problem making ground against the defensive front of Georgia.
However, the pass defense was pretty good. Garcia managed 165 yards passing in the game—most of which came on a couple of really big third down completions, in the first half, to Alshon Jeffery.
5. The Georgia defense—overall
The poor tackling cannot be expressed enough. However, even with that, and without A.J. Green—Georgia still kept it close. They ONLY lost by 11 but, the way they tackled, Lattimore ran, this game could have easily been a blowout for South Carolina.
For all the guffaws of the first half, give a little credit to Grantham for making some adjustments to the defense at halftime. The Bulldogs were pitching a shutout until the late field goal and, if the offense were able to convert a couple key redzone opportunities—who knows?
6. Blair Walsh, K
Where his counterpart, Drew Butler, seemed to be having an off day, Walsh continues to be money in the bank for Georgia. He wasn't given much of a chance to do anything special—like kick a game-winning field goal—but he did manage to convert his field goal opportunities when called upon.
Again, that may not seem like much to hang your hat on, but it's important to know that your kicker is able to perform—no matter the situation—particularly on the road in the SEC.
7. Washaun Ealey, RB
Ealey's fumble will be the focus for many—no doubt about it. However, it was encouraging to see him come out early and hit the holes hard. He churned out a lot of big yards before the offensive line started to look suspect for Georgia. Even more, he did it by himself.
Caleb King was not a factor in this game (still not certain what happened there—ankle?) but Ealey didn't seem to mind carrying the load on his own. He finished with 19 carries for 79 yards in his season debut.
Okay, that's it for this week because, honestly, it would have been easier to find 20 things wrong with the way Georgia played than to find five things right.
Time to prepare for Arkansas.
As always, love to hear your thoughts on the game. So, what say you?
(This article appears courtesy of The Lady Sportswriter)
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