I got the 38 right on the good guys’ side of the ledger but didn’t see the dominating defensive performance resulting in Georgia’s 1st shutout of Auburn in 36 years. Georgia wins the SEC East championship and now awaits either Alabama or Texas A&M for the SEC championship. Last year’s woodshed beating in Athens was emotional. Saturday night’s dominant performance was surgical and workman like and could have been much worse. Let’s get to the rundown.
What Went Well
Offensive Balance – Georgia generated 38 points and 497 yards with appropriate balance. From the first possession of the game, Aaron Murray was in complete control of the offense, consistently got us into the right play, and stood tall in the pocket. Gurshall was in full force with over 220 yards rushing, each with a run over 50 yards, and a touchdown. Gurley ran with power and speed, and Marshall’s touchdown demonstrated his top end speed. The offensive line overpowered the Auburn front 7 and gave Murray the time needed to pick apart the Tiger secondary. The receivers and tight ends consistently made plays to keep the chains moving and the Tiger safeties back.
Defensive Dominance – This defense went out to make a point at Auburn on Saturday night. The defensive line consistently changed the line of scrimmage and bottled up any running threat out of the spread, zone read look. The linebackers were absolutely outstanding as Jarvis Jones and Jordan Jenkins were consistently pressuring the quarterback. Ogletree, Herrera, Gilliard, and Robinson were running sideline to sideline blowing up plays with their athleticism. Robinson’s hit on Tre Mason was a bone rattler. The secondary had some trouble with Emory Blake, but overall they ran to the ball and made the plays necessary.
Special Teams Consistency – The kick-off and punting units were very good on Saturday and were field position weapons throughout the night. The kick-off coverage was really good against a couple of very athletic return men for the Tigers. Overall, a solid performance by the Georgia special teams.
After the first 3-and-out, the game was not in doubt.
Hits on Murray – Murray took some shots from the Auburn pass rush even having to leave the field for a play after being shaken up. Murray is the one guy we cannot afford to lose for an extended period of time. He’s tough, but we can’t have him taking some of the shots he has the last couple of weeks. The Alabama front 7 is already making me nervous.
Offense – A. We could have named the number we put up on the scoreboard last night if Coach Richt had wanted to make a point. We rolled up points and yards and absolutely demolished the Tigers’ defense. When this offense clicks as they did on Saturday night, it’s a thing of beauty to watch.
Defense – A+. A shutout with fewer than 250 yards of total offense in a conference game will get an A+ from me every time. This defense is clicking on all cylinders since the Shawn Williams tirade. To see this front 7 up against the Alabama offensive line will be interesting.
Coaching – A+. The staff punched all the right buttons with motivation and game plan this week. While it could have been easy to come in unfocused, this team came in and played on the edge for 60 minutes. Bobo didn’t let off the gas until he delivered the point to Chizik, Van Gorder and Martinez. Grantham clearly wanted the shutout and coached until the final minute with that in mind. Coach Richt appeared to be very businesslike in his approach, and it clearly carried over to the team.
Overall – A. This game certainly was the most dominant I have seen on the Georgia side of this rivalry. The game wasn’t as close as the scoreboard indicated. The team was ready to play, and everyone involved deserves a big “Go Dawgs!” for the way they performed on Saturday.
Look Ahead to GSU
The Georgia Southern Eagles, our favorite little brother, come calling between the hedges early Saturday afternoon. GSU seems to have impeccable timing for the years they play us for a pay check, and this year appears not to be unique. We have a chance to get some game speed repetition against the triple option and the offense’s vaunted cut blocking scheme. We are going to have our challenges against this offense over the next 2 weeks. Georgia wins going away with our size and skill against an FCS opponent, but don’t be surprised if we have some challenges and give up points. The Dawgs start the quest to keep the state championship at its proper residence in Athens this weekend.
Those are my thoughts. I would like to read yours in the comments.