After the Tennessee loss, lots of Georgia fans (including yours truly) worried that the 4-2 Dawgs were headed for another season of mediocrity. They silenced the doubters, of course, by running the table over the remaining seven games of the year and finishing in the top three in the country at season’s end.
I was curious if the turnaround was reflected in any of the team’s statistics. That is, did the team improve dramatically in any areas of performance from the first six games to the last seven?
After checking the data at cfbstats.com, I can say that the answer is yes in two areas. The biggest change came in turnover margin. Through the first six games, Georgia was -1; in the last seven, the Dawgs were +10.
The other significant gain came in the rushing game. On offense, Georgia went from averaging 160 yards a game in the first six to averaging 192 yards a game over the final seven. The improvement was even more impressive on defense. Georgia held its opponents to 92 yards rushing per game during the winning streak, which was almost 40 yards per game less than what the Dawgs were yielding in the first six games (130.83 ypg).
Tackles for loss yardage also saw an improvement of 15 yards per game in the second half of the year, which would indicate that the defense was more disruptive as the season wore on.
There was a modest improvement – about half a minute – in time of possession during the second half of the year.
Passing numbers, especially on defense, declined, which is not that surprising when you consider that Georgia played a number of teams in the second half that had excellent passing offenses, as well as the fact that several opponents had to play catch up in the fourth quarter of games where the Dawgs held significant leads.
I think much of this goes to reinforce my subjective opinion that Moreno and Curran were the catalysts for Georgia’s second half surge. The schemes Georgia deployed didn’t change much, but the weapons that Georgia had grew much more effective.