If you are a betting man in the Southeastern Conference, you woke up this morning owing someone a lot of money. The Dawgs along with Florida, South Carolina, LSU and Texas A&M got beat, it seemed like the world had turned upside down on this fall Saturday.
Georgia’s 31-27 loss to Vanderbilt got so ugly, they threw the preacher out of the game.
For the first time since 1991 the Bulldogs walked off Dudley Field in Nashville feeling the sting of a loss, only a handful of the players on this team were alive when the Commodores beat the Dawgs 27-25 that day. In a two week span following a devastating string of injuries, the 2013 Bulldogs have gone from a top ten team to one that will likely not even be ranked when this weeks polls are released.
Yesterday’s loss is made even worse with the addition of two more starters to the Red Cross list. Receiver Chris Conley had to be helped from the field after suffering an ankle injury on the final play of the game, his status for the Florida game on November 2nd is doubtful at best while sophomore strong safety Josh Harvey-Clemons went down with a right foot injury at the 9:17 mark of the second quarter and did not return, his injury could cost him much of the remaining regular season.
The new ‘targeting’ rule played a huge role in the game, junior defensive end Ray Drew was flagged in the second quarter around the 11:19 mark and ejected for the remainder of the game, Drew started the game ranked third in the SEC in sacks with a team-high five. On a cruical 4th and 4 with 13:29 left in the final quarter, junior linebacker Ramik Wilson was called for targeting. That call was reversed to allow Wilson to remain in the game but the Commodores were awarded a first down at the Bulldog 15 and eventually scored a touchdown. Even the Vanderbilt radio announcers questioned both calls and discussed how difficult it is to play defense today when perfectly clean hits are penalized. All coach Richt would say was, “I promised myself I wouldn’t say anything about the officiating today.”
Georgia went into the locker room at halftime up 24-17 and appeared to be in control of the game following a couple of short touchdown runs by Aaron Murray, a 22 yard field goal by Marshall Morgan and the season’s first interception return for a touchdown by freshman Shaq Wiggins.
The Dawgs added another 23 yard field goal by Morgan with 6:24 remaining in the third quarter. From that point on, Vanderbilt scored 17 unanswered points and the Georgia offense got a total of ONE first down and it was the result of a pass interference call.
Aaron Murray finished the day 16 of 28 for 114 yards with no touchdowns and one interception, his tickets to the Big Apple in December were cancelled.
Brendan Douglas gained 84 yards on 17 carries but much like the Missouri game, he fumbled with 1:39 remaining on the clock and the Commodores recovered on the 33 yard line, J.J. Green was the only other running back to touch the ball, he gained 32 yards on 13 carries.
Chris Conley caught 5 passes for 40 yards, Rantavious Wooten, Reggie Davis and fullback Quayvon Hicks each caught 2, Rhett McGowan and the two tailbacks had one each. The two tightends Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome caught one pass each for a combined 15 yards.
Georgia’s offense managed to gain a total of 221 yards……… add in the Dawg Walk and they still had less than Vandy.
There really is no way to sugar coat it, the injuries have been terrible but Missouri lost their starting quarterback and won, Vanderbilt lost their starting quarterback and won. The Bulldogs offense seems to have run out of options and ideas. The defense couldn’t cover a grandmother using a walker and it’s time they put on on their big boy pampers and simplified things.
The Florida game in two weeks no longer looks to impact Alabama’s opponent in Atlanta but will go a long way in determining who shows up in Shreveport.