Observations from the moon, on the Plains edition

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to look down at the top of a college football scoreboard.  But that was my vantage point last night, as I sat three rows from the top in the section next to the end at JHS.  I needed binoculars just to be able to read players’ numbers.

But even that far away, it wasn’t hard to sense how surreal things were.  The Auburn fans tailgated, showed up, cheered their beloved Tigers before the game started.  And after?  First, they went quiet.  (It got so quiet that I wondered during Georgia’s third series why the Dawgs were still bothering with silent counts.)

Then, they simply melted away.

(Julie Bennett/al.com)

You could have picked any moment after halftime for a scene like that.  And that, more than anything, is why I expect Chizik is toast.  Anger is one thing – that means your fans still care.  But last night was emotionless.  People simply don’t care about this football team.  And that’s death.

One other thing:  I can’t remember another place where it was easier to bring in booze.  Nobody was even looking hard at folks as they walked in.  During the game, I saw one Georgia fan showing how she brought in a large flask concealed in her bosom, but honestly, I don’t know that she really had to go to that much trouble.  I guess if your team is laying a giant egg, it’s the least you can do for your fan base.

Anyway, on to the bullet points:

  • The two Murray-to-King completions in the second quarter on back-to-back series were stunners.  The TD pass was thrown in the only spot it could be and King made a sensational play to come down with it.  The second throw, the 55-yarder… well, the word “perfect” gets overused, but that really was a perfect throw, especially since Auburn managed to get a little pressure in Murray’s face as he made it.
  • Auburn has the worst tackling defense I’ve seen from any SEC school this season.  Yeah, I know Ted Roof sucked, but he’s been gone for 10 games now.  VanGorder’s reputation deserves to take a little hit from what I saw last night.
  • Hello, Gurshall.  As much as I love how special a back Todd Gurley is, with his incredible balance, I get just as huge a kick out of Marshall getting into open space and watching him turn the afterburners on.
  • I’m firmly convinced that if Artie Lynch had held on to that pass, Georgia would have scored on every drive in the first half.
  • Offensive line did pretty good in Burnett’s absence.  They opened some holes with their run blocking.  They weren’t as solid in pass protection and had trouble on and off with some of Auburn’s blitzes.  (Speaking of which, how overrated are Auburn’s defensive ends?)
  • Fumble aside, Emory Blake is a good little player.
  • You can’t stop Jarvis Jones.  You can only hope to contain him.  Auburn tried all night, shifting a tight end to the side Jones lined up on.  He still wound up with a couple of sacks, both of which came with him rushing up the middle.  Grantham did a good job mixing things up by dropping Jones in coverage and bringing pressure from the other side.
  • Speaking of Grantham, think he wanted the shutout pretty badly?
  • That was the best job Georgia has done on kickoff coverage all season.  Hell, that was the best job on kickoff coverage in several seasons.  The times McCalebb returned the ball, I don’t think he ever got even 20 yards after the catch.
  • Admit it – you held your breath a little when Murray went down.
  • An anxiety-free night from Marshall Morgan?  I’ll take it.
  • Very quietly, Collin Barber is finding his game.  He was excellent, putting three punts inside the Auburn 20.
  • Yeah, the roughing the passer call was slightly questionable.  But after what didn’t get called there two years ago, I don’t want to hear any complaints about it.
  • Quite a game from Ogletree.  That rundown of McCalebb was an impressive display of athleticism.
  • The defense continues to do an excellent job of covering the read option.  I wish the pass rush had been a little more consistent, though.
  • Bobo called a good game, contrary to the whining I heard from the gentleman sitting behind me when it was 38-0.  Bobo knew VanGorder’s and Martinez’ history and went with a lot of spread, hurry-up stuff which Auburn simply couldn’t handle.  And you know it’s your night when you can call a draw play up the middle on third-and-20 and pull it off.  Third-and-Willie, for the win!

Okay, it helps that Auburn sucks.  (I like driving in my truck.)  But Georgia still had to come out to play.  Give the coaches and the players credit.  They did not play down to the level of the opponent.  Instead, they maintained the level of play we saw in the second half of the Ole Miss game.

You can see the confidence and cohesiveness growing each week.  This team is a long way from the one that crapped the bed against South Carolina.  I’m starting to get the feeling that they’re in a different place than they were down the stretch in 2011.  Last year, they were just happy to show up at the SECCG.  This year’s group looks like they’ve got more in mind.  Let’s hope they keep playing like that.

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69 Comments

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69 responses to “Observations from the moon, on the Plains edition

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    I was amazed at the way Marshall shifted gears when he split those 2 guys in the secondary. It was like Bob Hays: when he passes his own 40 it’s a touchdown.

    • gastr1

      No kidding. On the broadcast you could hear Huard say “see ya” before Marshall was close to gone. We need to find more ways to get Marshall the ball in space because he is lightning in a bottle.

  2. Russ

    I think the jackass that sat behind you complaining about Bobo when were were up 38-0 was actually posting on here later in the evening.

    Very workman-like performance by the Dawgs, which is exactly what we needed. Got them down early, sucked the life out of them, and never gave them hope. Now, let’s do the same to GSU and the NATS and get ready for Atlanta!

    Go Oregon State! Go Texas! I’d love to ruin ND’s perfect season in the BCSNC!

    • Bill Crabtree

      We’re you guys sitting left of the band? If so that guy was annoying the crap out of me. He was bitching at Bobo to let Parker Welch throw the ball and the idiot hadn’t even realized Lemay had been in the game for the last 3 snaps.

    • What fresh hell is this?

      Sadly, I think the MNC ship sailed when Bama lost. Even if we had beaten an undefeated Bama in the SECCG we probably wouldn’t have been given a shot.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Not so fast my friend. If we beat Bama and any 2 out of the 3 undefeated teams lose just 1 game-we’re in it. I’m betting USC beats ND and Oregon loses to Oregon State or possibly in the PAC 12 Championship game, most likely to Southern Cal, but Texas might just upset K-State as well. All three might just happen and if it does, guess what? UGA vs. Florida in the BCSNCG–that’s what!!!

        • WFdawg

          UGA v. UF would be insane, no doubt. But among the 1-loss teams, I just don’t see UF jumping Oregon or KSU. It would probably be UGA vs. one of those two.

  3. bfrazier34

    “He can be stopped” the young man from Auburn said. “it’s not that hard.” Disrespect Jarvis Jones at your own peril. Punk.

    • Normaltown Mike

      I was impressed with the amount of holding that Jarvis endured (though it did not seem to phase him). On one play I swear the AU lineman was using a shepherd’s crook to pull JJ back from the QB.

      • Cojones

        It’s the 3-ft stretch on the jersey behind Jarvis that gets me. He instantly grows a sail on his back as he gets by their line and is chased, but the refs seem to be looking elsewhere. Every. Damn. Game. They finally called one in this game when it didn’t any longer matter.

        Jarvis’s talent is well beyond the stats and the reason he will do well in the Pros will be because of the talent on the same side of the field that doesn’t afford the luxury for double-teaming as much as in college. Sorta like how Jordan Jenkens works with Jarvis now.

  4. gastr1

    Adam Erickson had one of the punts last night…not sure if it was one of the ones inside the 20, but it would be likely since he has been the short-placement guy.

  5. Ginny

    Radi Nabulsi said this is the best team chemistry he’s seen from a Georgia team. I can see it. Just seems like everyone is on the same page, has the same goals and understands what it takes to get them there. So refreshing.

    • gastr1

      I concur re: the Senator’s last paragraph. There is a businesslike approach that has emerged in the last few games that seems less of an emotional high (2007) and more of a laser-like focus. GATA, indeed.

    • Normaltown Mike

      Best team chemistry? Maybe.

      Best team hydroponic gardening? Last year’s running back trio.

  6. DawgPhan

    there was a lot of canned beer in the game last night in our section, which was a surprise.

    I was surprised that the Auburn crowd was there at kick off..the place wasnt exactly rocking, but it was nearly full at kickoff…I am really glad that UGA never gave them anything to get excited about other than the Bama score.

  7. Joe Schmoe

    > Definitely held my breath when Murray went down.
    > Thought we did an excellent job of making up for the loss of Brown by using the TEs more (which we should be anyway).
    > About as flawless a game as you will see Georgia play.

    • gastr1

      Conley was pretty darn good. I think we may have had a case of two equal players with one getting the nod because they were a senior.

      • Cojones

        The catch in the end zone by King, wearing Brown’s jersey, will be my favorite memory for a long time (of Murray, Brown and King).

        King could not have thought of a more perfect tribute to his fallen teammate in the last scheduled SEC game of this season than to paint an image in every fan’s mind of them all.

  8. JaxDawg

    I still get a kick out of the Auburn “family” from a couple years ago, back when they were “all in”. There was nothing to sustain the program after they cheated their way to a championship – no foundation, no player depth, no plan, nothing!

    Auburn’s program is a perfect example of how NOT to build a successful organization, on any level.

  9. Greg

    On KM’s long TD run I was equally impressed by the move he put on the safety at the line. One nice quick side step and he was right back at full speed. I think Brock said “he’s gone” at about the 35. Watching his easy speed compared to the poor Auburn corner who was running like craxy and still falling behind was awesome!

    • WF dawg

      It looked like Marshall was jogging at the end, while the Auburn DB was running as fast as he could. I think Marshall may even have another gear that he didn’t require last night.

  10. timphd

    I do hope the guy sitting behind you was drunk or something. If this game didn’t shut up the Bobo critics, what will? Four TD drives on the first four possessions, all of over 64 yards, and the only reason it wasn’t 5 for 5 was Lynch dropped a first down catch that would have meant they didn’t even punt in the first half. Did they take starters out and foot off the gas in the second half? Yes, but wouldn’t we be furious if Murray, Gurley or Marshall blew a knee out trying to run up the score. I thought Bobo was well prepared with a game plan that totally took Auburn out of the game in the first quarter. What else do people want? And just think, three weeks ago Richt was hearing hot seat bullshit again. How stupid are some “fans”?

    • Cojones

      Just tell them that Bobo already validated those fans who hung with Richt and Bobo last year and the coaches have refuted the hardheads with fresh stats on top of the stats that disproved the naysayers’s “complaint-stats” last year. They don’t have a stat to stand on.

  11. Normaltown Mike

    In Re Jordan-Hare Stadium Security.

    I know an Auburn grad that swears he was asked by an Auburn gate attendent to temporarily cover the gate while the attendant took a personal break (this was in the 70′s). It was a Georgia-AU game so the crowds were teeming and as people handed him “tickets” (perhaps from the Hahira game, maybe not even that), my friend smiled and let people in until the attendant came back.

    The more things change…

    • Russ

      I got into the Gator Bowl (WLOCP) back in the early 80′s with a ticket stub passed through the fence and a twenty folded around it.

  12. Debby Balcer

    I held my breath when Aaron went sown and was so glad to see backups in the 4th quarter. LeMay was impressive with his runs. Glad we held them to nothing and had no major injuries.

    • Cojones

      LeMay is a whole nother subject. Note that he ran to the side for every signal? It couldn’t be because of not knowing the hand signals, would it? I’ve mentioned before that they seem to call his own signal every down as if punishing him or not wanting him to pass. Also he had another QB inserted for a few series before he came in the game. Wasn’t sure what it was before or now, but they call the plays from the sideline and he follows orders. Could be they were just keeping the score down and eating up the clock because it sure did that.

      I want to see LeMay turned loose. He is too good of a talent for us not to get a good look at him running things in a game this year. Plus, there’s nothing like game experience.

      • Biggus Rickus

        I believe he threw a pick 6 the time they tried to turn him loose a little bit. He’s certainly talented, but he may never end up being much of a QB.

        • gastr1

          Is he talented? Who can tell? From what I’ve seen just about any of us could do what he’s shown so far.

      • AlphaDawg

        Thats my only complaint about this game. I really wanna see him throw the ball. I got the chance to see him play in Charlotte his JR year of HS. The kida has a ton of talent, when he committed there was talk that he would be the number 2 or 3 best HS QB in the nation after his SR year. Then he got in trouble and didn’t play his SR and has since dropped off the map.

      • Cojones

        He’s down as having thrown 2 passes with 1 completed for 43(?) yds. Didn’t see the int.

  13. Debby Balcer

    down not sown

  14. SouthGa Dawg

    Best part of the game plan last night was the use of multiple TE sets. That is the future of Georgia football. It also allows for different run and play action opportunities. This will pay dividends against Tech and Bama.

  15. Chuck

    The Auburn D isn’t the only reason to hurt BVG’s rep: the Falcons D is greatly improved since he left. The TK end zone catch was #2 in the ESPN top ten. Great game, but I’am a little hesitant to be too confident – it was, after all, the worst excuse for a football team I’ve ever seen at Auburn in my lifetime. But we won easily and no one got hurt.

    • Cojones

      Hopefully it will hang around at least one more year that will place is on the winning side of the series. It now is 54-54-8.

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        Cojones, that’d be nice, but I also enjoy the simple fact that after 116 games it’s dead even

  16. charlottedawg

    I saw a Georgia team that showed up ready to take care of business and did. On the other side of the coin I saw an Auburn team that flat out quit. Georgia punched them in the mouth and they essentially laid down. Chizik is a joke of a coach and I really wish he were on the plains longer.

  17. Hogbody Spradlin

    I kinda felt like Auburn gave up early. On TV the stadium was deathly quiet starting second quarter.

    • WF dawg

      You’re right. I remarked that I couldn’t remember the last time you could hear the QB’s cadence so clearly on a TV broadcast. It was b/c there was no crowd noise to drown it out in that mausoleum of a stadium last night.

  18. Babyfarts McGeezax

    I will give the Aubs credit for one thing, their concession stands were efficient as hell. Multiple times made it in and out in less than a standard TV TO. That NEVER happens at UGA where we let idiots who have to bust a calculator out to give you a total for 5 + 3.50 attempt to run lines.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Where’d you come up with that handle?

    • pantslesspatdye

      You have to watch the UGA concessions. My wife wanted a lemon ice and the guy overcharged me a dollar, pocketing the change. I waged holy hell, in front of a disinterested lawmen, and he had a buddy give me a dollar back. I reported him to his supervisor, who said he would give him a hard time, but did not. TV timeout was over, so I left it alone. I know this sounds pretty petty, but my personal pet peve is corruption.

  19. Slaw Dawg

    Well, Hell, that whiner sitting behind you was probably thinking of the opportunity to top TAMU’s 63 points and hated to see that slip through our fingers. Or maybe he was remembering the 44-0 loss to the Aubbies back in 1900, which could’ve easily been avenged with just one more score. I gotta say, I kinda get that. I’m not sure there’s a way to beat those guys badly enough to slake my hatred. Was even hoping the officials would find some excuse to extend the thing by a couple of overtimes, based perhaps on some sort of special “It’s Auburn, man, and we all drive trucks” factor. There’s always next year…

  20. My only regret is that we didn’t get that last TD. 45-0 would have been the largest margin of victory in the series (which AU currently holds from 1946 I think 44-0).

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Wikipedia has Georgia 41-0 in 1946. Last night a TV graphic said that was the largest margin.

      • Slaw Dawg

        The ’46 game was Dawgs biggest win. According to the handy UGA Media Guide, AU beat UGA 44-0 in 1900, which still rankles some of us.

  21. Hogbody Spradlin

    I’d like to see a 100 between a 19 year old Keith Marshall and a 19 year old Ole No. 34.

  22. Charles

    I was on the third row up from field level, behind the endzone (adjacent to the Redcoats). That was the most subdued SEC night game I’ve ever been to in my life. By the time we were up by four touchdowns, you could hear Murray’s passes hitting our receivers’ chests. No exaggeration. You could actually hear what was happening, on the field, from about 30 or 40 yards away. The loudest that place got was when the Alabama final score flashed on the jumbotron.

    Auburn is in a really, really bad place right now. And that’s fine by me.

    • CoachSpurlock

      No kidding. I bought the cheapest, crappiest tickets I could get (upper deck, AU side, in the corner) knowing I could move down later. After halftime, I was in the lower bowl on the UGA side at the 50 yard line. It was like a funeral in there.

      • IWanaBDaveGrohl

        This was the thing that got me: I was in the upper deck on the UGA side, on the left side of midfield. The UGA band was in the lower level, along the sideline, in the corner of the endzone. The upper deck blocked the sound from our band and you could barely hear them at the start of the game. After if got 31-0, enough people had left that the music was echoing off the empty seats on the other side of the stadium, and we could hear them loud and clear (with about a 2 second delay, lol)

  23. Aubum aside, if the visor at Columbia S.C. is already in some gravesite. The saying ” HE IS TURNING OVER IN HIS GRAVE” would accurately apply to him last night after UGA’s win considering his whining. It is just so sweet to have actually achieved the East title despite the lost to the visor. I wonder how manny visors got trashed last night. LOL

  24. Chi-Town Dawg

    I’ve been critical of A. Ogletree’s play in the USC, KY and even FL games, but I’m with you Senator, he has looked great the past couple of weeks against Ole Miss and Auburn! I’m starting to get the feeling this team maybe showing signs of the 2007 team’s home stretch run when they peaked, so keeping my fingers and toes crossed. In terms of Chizek, I’d be surprised if he makes it thru the end of the season based on the team’s performance and as you pointed out the fans. The empty stands looked horrible on national TV and you could hear the UGA fans cheering like it was a home game because JHS was so empty.

  25. Surprise, looks like Coach’s like UGA better than Bama. UGA is 4th in USA today and Bama 5th. AP is however the reverse.

    • AusDawg85

      And really get ready to get your blood boiling…BCS has two team per conference rule. Assuming everything stays relatively the same, Bama gets the Sugar, and the WWL “experts” expect the Fiesta Bowl to pick the glamour and proximity of TAMU instead of the Dawgs.

      We really need to win the SECCG!

  26. Uglydawg

    The Auburn safety looked like a porpoise trying to tacke. He would dive at the runner without extending his arms. I felt like there was a subtle refererence (by the announcers) to the rumor that many of the AU players were mailing it in to get Chiz fired….some story about resentment over a security corp. that was hired to make sure they kept curfew…Whatever’s going on, I hope it continues. This is the price for “win at any cost”..

  27. Uglydawg

    From what I saw of Nicky’s post game interview, he gave little to no credit to A&M for the results of the game. A classy coach would have said something like…”we just got outplayed, give A&M the credit…they were better than us today”…

    • Cojones

      Instead he threw his players under the bus. I certainly concur with what he has been telling the media and his team corrections after every game props up his concern that they weren’t as good as the media painted them. He enjoyed the PR, but you could tell he was whistling thru the graveyard waiting for them to be good enough to fit the buildup that ESPN and the other talking heads convinced everyone how they belonged in “another tier” of excellence. Saban knew the truth and the loss should have been no shock to him, but he didn’t have to throw them in front of moving vehicles.

  28. The Lone Stranger

    Karmic Bitches be damned … I’m laying it all on the line (way early, I know) here: Dawgs knock out Bama by 10 points minimum.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Please don’t. Not yet. Noooooo…….

    • Cojones

      And the Stranger gets the Cojones award for speaking his mind truthfully, never mind the cuts he’s left himself open for. Kudos to your courage, sir. I’m with you in sentiment. Bama can not only be had, but now deserve to be had. The Dawgs look serenely like champions awaiting their moment. Three steps and we are there.