Observations from the Cheap Seats: Georgia Bulldogs Squib Their Way to Loss


The Georgia Bulldogs fumbled, bumbled and squibbed their way to a loss against Georgia Tech.

My family and I made a decision a few months ago that I would sell my tickets for the Georgia Tech game and we would go to New Orleans for Thanksgiving.

It was a significant decision to make, given that New Orleans was my birthplace and my parents lived here for seven years, but that I have attended almost every home game since 2002 (Georgia Southern in 2004 and Arkansas in 2010, both for family events).

Photo credit – Sravanthi Meka, DawnOfTheDawg.com

Since I gave up the chance to be at the game, my parents said, okay, we will give up Saturday afternoon to watch the game with you at a restaurant or bar. We chose Manning’s on Fulton Street, based on the suggestion of a concierge at the hotel. If you have to be in New Orleans, and need a place to watch a game, I highly recommend Manning’s. I wish we had a place like this in Athens!

The game started so early – 11 am central time – we were given the brunch menu when we were seated at 10:30 am. I had French toast with strawberries since I have overdosed on beignets since we got here Wednesday night.

We had a House Divided sitting at the table next to us, and some UNC fans that the Tech fan could cheer with. The 4th and 1 touchdown run by Nick Chubb had both of us Georgia fans cheering.

Her husband was not so happy.

Tech’s first offensive drive drew some applause from him, but Quincy Mauger delivered a devastating blow to Dennis Andrews to knock the ball loose. Tech was held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time since last November at Clemson. They had scored in 14 straight first quarters.

My mother found it hard to believe that a football player could be an ordained minister, excel at signing country songs at karaoke, but I think even she has a new-found respect for Ray Drew after the blocked field goal, and again after the blocked PAT in overtime.

Hutson Mason had a few moments of brilliance, including some clutch passes up the middle to Malcolm Mitchell, but there were times I thought he held on to the ball too much, like he was at the beginning of the season. I won’t even go near the interception that ended the game.

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After the fumble by Sony Michel, I thought to myself, “I thought Tech was supposed to be the turnover machine, running the triple option?” Remember when Georgia led the nation in turnover margin? That was before the loss to Florida and Chubb’s first fumble of the year.

Sometimes we forget that Chubb and Michel are freshmen, because they ARE that good. Today, we had two fumbles inside the 1 yard line instead of 14 points. Damian Swann missed on a couple of interceptions in the first quarter, as well.

During halftime, I met a nice couple from Roswell, Georgia who were also Dawg fans. Like my family, they chose to come to New Orleans to have someone else cook Thanksgiving dinner for them. We vowed not to let the Tech fans at Manning’s have the last word! Unfortunately, they left in the third quarter, and it was up to me and half of the House Divided couple.

Had we won, Damian Swann would have been my pick for player of the game. He had the forethought to get the ball and keep running – if you don’t hear the whistle, keep on running! He had the third turnover of the game, all inside the opponent’s 5-yard line at that point in the game.

As different as Tech and Georgia are in terms of the team makeup and skill set, I saw much of the same game from both sides. Blocked field goals, three fumbles at the goal line, and dropped interceptions by both teams.

Photo credit – Sravanthi Meka, DawnOfTheDawg.com

After the fake field goal run by Marshall Morgan, I thought that Mark Richt and Mike Bobo had been hanging out with Les Miles with the fake punts and fake field goals lately.

Morgan took a hit on the run that even had the Tech fan in awe. It didn’t hurt too much because he came back to kick the field goal after Georgia couldn’t run it in from the 1 yard line. We need touchdowns though, not field goals.

I’m not complaining about the play calling – it’s good to keep them guessing. We just need to do a better job of anticipating their plays, especially on special teams, like the pooch kick at the end of regulation.

Also, recall the South Carolina game, and complaints from the peanut gallery when Georgia didn’t run the ball at the goal line. That play call didn’t work this time.

Mom gave me a pep talk right before the 4th and goal that put the Dawgs up 24-21. She said that Friday, while we searched St. Louis Cemetery #1 for Marie Laveau’s tomb, we found it right at the moment that we were about to give up and go home. The message? Don’t give up. I tried really hard, but the mistakes on special teams and our porous rush defense was making it tough.

It was the first overtime in Sanford Stadium, and if you remember, Georgia was the victor in the first overtime in college football history in 1996 at Auburn. That wasn’t the case Saturday though. We went to drown our sorrows at the World War II museum down the road.

Some stats I thought about on the walk back to the hotel:

First Downs Georgia Tech 32, Georgia 21

Turnovers Georgia 3, Georgia Tech 2 (+1)

Georgia Tech Drives that went into Georgia territory 6:57 (TD), 3:52 (TD) 6:18 (fumble), 2:56 (TD), 7:47 (blocked FG)

This game was as messy as eating a plate of beignets. I’ll leave you with this: 4 fumbles, 3 fumbles inside the five yard line, 2 blocked field goals, 1 blocked extra point, 1 unintentional onside kick, 1 game-ending interception, and maybe a partridge in a pear tree…who fell.