The things I do for love, second half.

I sucked it up last night and watched a replay of the rest of the Alabama game.  I know there are a lot of people that found reasons from what happened in the second half to be somewhat optimistic and upbeat about how the game played out.  I’m not one of them.

Sure, there was that nice stretch in the third and fourth quarters when ‘Bama lost a little direction and focus and the Dawgs were able to narrow the gap to 31-17.  But then came what I thought was the most impressive drive of the game.  With all the energy and excitement in the stadium that the home team was feeding off of, here’s how the Tide responded:

Alabama at 14:41 ALA GA
1st and 10 at ALA 34 Glen Coffee rush for 4 yards to the Alab 38. 31 17
2nd and 6 at ALA 38 John Parker Wilson pass complete to Julio Jones for 15 yards to the Geo 47 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GA 47 Glen Coffee rush for 5 yards to the Geo 42.
2nd and 5 at GA 42 John Parker Wilson pass complete to Roy Upchurch for 22 yards to the Geo 20 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GA 20 John Parker Wilson rush for 1 yard to the Geo 19.
2nd and 9 at GA 19 Glen Coffee rush for 1 yard to the Geo 18.
3rd and 8 at GA 18 Timeout GEORGIA, clock 10:34.
3rd and 8 at GA 18 Roy Upchurch rush for 3 yards to the Geo 15.
4th and 5 at GA 15 Leigh Tiffin 32 yard field goal GOOD. 34 17
Leigh Tiffin kickoff for 70 yards returned by Ramarcus Brown for 31 yards to the Geo 31.
DRIVE TOTALS: Alab drive: 8 plays 51 yards, 04:56 Alab FG

That’s what very good teams do.  Five minutes off the clock and the game killing score meant that it was all over.  And if you have the stomach to watch, go back and look at that screen pass in the middle of the drive.  It’s textbook.  In particular, check out Andre Smith who has the athleticism to get out and take on Curran and the strength to lock him out of the play.  You’ll see why this time next year Mr. Smith will be a rich young man.

The game falls apart from there.  Georgia does manage to tack on a couple of late scores to make things look closer on the scoreboard and in the stats

Team Stat Comparison
1st Downs 21 18
3rd down efficiency
4-10 4-13
4th down efficiency
0-0 2-3
Total Yards 334 324
Passing 205 274
Comp-Att
13-16 24-43
Yards per pass
12.8 6.4
Rushing 129 50
Rushing Attempts
45 16
Yards per rush
2.9 3.1
Penalties 2-9 10-81
Turnovers 1 2
Fumbles lost
1 1
Interceptions thrown
0 1
Possession 35:46 24:14

… than they really were.  Skip the yardage totals.  The tale for this game was told in Wilson’s completion ratio, the penalty numbers and the time of possession and that tale was that Alabama was able to do what its coaches planned and that Georgia managed to make things worse with mistakes.

One last observation – the new clock rules make it almost impossible to mount a second half comeback from a serious deficit.   If it hadn’t been for Miller’s punt return, Georgia never would have had a chance.  The problem was, as Blackledge noted, that there’s no margin for error.  Georgia got three straight three and outs on defense, a blocked punt and a 92-yard punt return and still had to maintain that pace for two more touchdowns just to get back to even.  That’s a tall order for any team, let alone one that had injury problems.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “The things I do for love, second half.

  1. squarebush

    I knew we were watching the Dawgs’ chances of any sort of comeback swirling down the drain as that drive was going on. I went back and watched a good bit of the second half last night and watched that drive again. It’s amazing how well that screen worked. That one play, to me, was the nail in the coffin.

    I got to thinking about the new clock rules as well. I can remember griping a few times here and there in the past about games taking a long time, but damn I would rather a game run “too long” than to have the clock (seemingly) run the entire game.

  2. Ally

    I’m so glad you mentioned this drive. This is when I lost all hope and really got angry. It was textbook, predictable & methodical, and our D had no answer. Its also similar to what we’ve seen at least once/year since Martinez was made the DC. The most depressing feeling I had leaving Sanford was that I have no faith that things will change. Sure we might see some improvement this year, but we will also see another game like this next year under CWM.

  3. dean

    Not to take anything away from Alabama but I think that drive was somewhat influenced by the defense having to go right back on the field after the punt return. Sure they probably got a shot of energy but that only lasts a play or two.

    Oh and being down 31 points to start the second half is a tall order even with the old clock rules.

  4. Frank

    If that’s the screen I recall (and it sounds like it is), Rennie was cramping BADLY on the play before that. I told my buddy right before that screen that we needed to get Rennie off the field. I don’t care how tough you are, NOBODY and beat cramps. It’s not like a broken finger where you can just suck it up. As soon as I got that out of my mouth, Smith pancaked a normally elusive Rennie (not picking on Rennie, as he is my favorite player, just making a point).

    Deaner’s comment there really ties into what I’m getting at here. Our defense was just worn down that drive. Not making excuses, just pointing out the fact. The flip side of that is you don’t run back the punt, but the time issue looms even larger.

    However, if we make the last two point conversion we went for, then we take another shot at two on the next TD, and as bad as things went all night, we’re only down by 8 (one score). Then the last pooch/onside we treid that Gray almost snagged could’ve been huge. How many people who left would’ve been kicking themselves then! Clearly I’m stretching, but the point is we made a HELL of a run at a very steep mountain after we’d been punched in the face (and neck, and stomach).

    We were here last year after Tennessee and really even after the Vandy win, wondering how we’d ever make a season of it. Let’s just trust the coaches who’ve made us consistently relevant again.

    Go Dawgs! I’m pumped for Tennessee and another chance to get the ball rolling again. Let’s see how the boys respond!

    Just my two cents.

    Frank

  5. Kirel13

    Not getting points at the end of the first half was also a gamechanger no one anywhere I have read has noted. We were in FG range when we went for the homerun and forced it into double coverage in the endzone. We need that score so they were only down 4 scores and not 5.

    On the drive you are referencing in this post and in the realm of hindsight being 20/20, we should have pressed the receivers and blitz Parker like crazy. They wanted to methodical drive and we should have made them beat us over the top.

  6. Joe

    It is especially tough to come back when your sloppy offense keeps snapping the ball with :02 on the play clock when you should be in a 2-Minute, no huddle offense….