Observations from the Cheap Seats: Georgia Bulldogs shoo the ‘Dores


My friend’s eight-year old daughter had an astute observation about Georgia Bulldogs star running back Todd Gurley. After he leaped over a second defender in as many weeks, she said, “He really is Superman!”

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He leaps SEC players in a single bound. He throws passes (the longest pass of the season for our dismal passing game), and he baffles tacklers on rushes and kickoff returns. Todd Gurley is the best part of the Georgia offense, and you could even say, the best part of the game, period.

After seeing games in the SEC West, it seems pretty obvious where the SEC champion will come from — west of the Chattahoochee, and I don’t mean Missouri. It seems as though Georgia games will serve as a marketing tool for Todd Gurley’s Heisman campaign.

Walking into Sanford Stadium, it felt like déjà vu all over again. Every Power-5 team UGA has faced has scored on the opening drive (Troy drove to the 10 yard line, and missed a field goal). Like the game against Troy, the starting quarterback was out, and a freshman got the start. But no matter the opponent, I’m still cautious. I mean, check out my preseason predictions!

Thankfully, this time, the Georgia defense held strong in the first quarter and kept Vanderbilt on their side of the field until the beginning of the second quarter, when they missed a 49-yard field goal.

Leonard Floyd’s sack on the first drive characterized Vanderbilt’s offense in the first half.  The game was well in hand by the end of the first quarter with Georgia up 21-0, but I knew that Vanderbilt could get back in it by passing up the middle. Their tight end is their leading receiver.

Oct 4, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores quarterback Wade Freebeck (12) passes under pressure from Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Leonard Floyd (84) during the first quarter at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

I’m going to be an armchair quarterback for a minute…stop the dead ball penalties! How hard is it to count the players on the field? Against Tennessee, having to burn a timeout on a punt return, and then giving Vandy a fresh set of downs in the red zone.

Freshmen played quite a few downs on defense on Vandy’s first touchdown drive, including appearances by Malkom Parrish and Brandon Langley, who has made the transition back to the secondary after the loss of Rico Johnson (and Shaq Jones, we found out later during the weekend).

In the first four games, the turnover margin was (+5). Hutson Mason’s three interceptions in the last two games have been balanced by the two fumbles in the Tennessee game, and that beautiful pick-6 by Devin Bowman.

It could have easily been four interceptions for Mason, had the Vanderbilt defender not dropped a sure pick-6 in the first drive. The turnover margin is still (+5) though, five games into the season.

On the way out of the stadium, I noticed that Vanderbilt has a shiny new bus. It will take them a few years to load up on the talent to ride that bus though. They did fare a little better than their last trip to Athens (48-3) but definitely worse than their win in Nashville last year.

Despite protests from students about Homecoming being held on Yom Kippur, the game was well attended by students. Maybe the 4pm kickoff helped there. Most of the student section and even the non-students dispersed after halftime, presumably to watch the rest of the Alabama-Ole Miss game.

We were lucky enough to stay for the entire game AND catch highlights of the game from Oxford, courtesy of the “Game Breaks” on the big screen.

image – redandblack.com

While the Dawgs won a game they were supposed to win, the game was overshadowed by the marquee SEC games in the West, and the upset by Kentucky over South Carolina.

You know when someone tells a great joke, and you start laughing with everyone, and then you realize you’re the butt of the joke? That’s how I feel about South Carolina’s loss. Sure, we needed them to lose another SEC game, but their three SEC losses now make our loss to them, well, a joke.