Monday, September 15, 2014

Dawgs Bite Own Tails

Tough loss for Georgia. All but one of the calls went Carolina's way, and Spurrier knew he was lucky. Announcer Gary Danielson noted the questionable nature of three key calls: (1) the holding penalty that negated Todd Gurley's 54 yard touchdown run, (2) the first & goal intentional grounding call - when the fullback was right on the other side of the defender who knocked down the pass, and (3) the poor spot after the 4th down QB sneak. Johnny Crawford's SEC refereeing crew will have several of their calls reviewed this week, though it's doubtful they'll be reprimanded. But even had the spot been more favorable there was no guarantee that Georgia's offense or field goal kicker could've won or tied the game.

Even without those bad calls, the Dawgs bit themselves. The record-breaking kicker missed two field goals. The needless pass interference just before the interception. Roughing the passer. Take away just one of these plays and Georgia could have won - despite the porous defense. The Gamecocks did a great job of mixing the pass and run, making it difficult for Georgia to defend either.

Todd Gurley had another great game. Had his long TD run not been called back he would've had over 200 yards rushing. Unlike the season opener, Gurley took most of the snaps, spelled just a few times combined by Chubb, Marshall, and the speedy freshman. South Carolina kicked short to avoid Gurley, giving Georgia great field position. Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota had a big game, but Oregon was playing inferior competition.

The South Carolina players and fans were far from good sports. After every play Gamecock defenders were pushing and jawing the Georgia players - Todd Gurley in particular. Someone could've gotten hurt. After one play the Carolina defenders surrounded Gurley and blocked his path back to the huddle. Gurley lowered his head and pushed through the defender immediately in front of him. Another overzealous Gamecock, looking for an opportunity to butt in, shoved Gurley - drawing an unsportsmanlike behavior penalty. Danielson thought the penalty should've been offsetting, but in hindsight I'm not so sure.

Like their players, the Gamecock fans engaged in unsportsmanlike behavior - despite their team having the lead most of the way. On several occasions Carolina fans threw litter on the field, endangering the players and coaches of both teams. They pelted the end zone with trash because their quarterback threw an interception. The Williams-Bryce stadium loudspeaker repeatedly blared "Sandstorm" whipping the fans into a manufactured fever pitch. You'd think that would get old after a while, especially when struggling so against also-rans Texas A&M and East Carolina.

Georgia still has a chance to win the SEC, though their margin of error is more slim. Without improvement on defense, beating Florida and Auburn will be tough, much less Missouri.

TECH/SOUTHERN: Another ugly win for Tech - lucky, even. Their offense is not dominant, and their defense is terrible. QB Justin Thomas completed seven straight passes, but was ineffective most of the second half before coming through with the game-winner at the end. Thomas gives the Jackets a big play threat, but with ACC games the rest of the way the Jackets might not win again. Virginia Tech will be hungry to avenge their loss to East Carolina. Duke and Virginia are improved. North Carolina and Miami are no slouches. Clemson and Georgia have excellent offenses.

So many fans were predicting a Georgia Southern win that had Tech lost it wouldn't have been an upset. Instead they were all wrong - especially my co-worker who predicted 50 Eagle points. I'm almost glad Tech stuck the knife in their hearts at the end like they did.

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