Before anyone hyperventilates about how yesterday’s game wasn’t the exercise in total domination that he or she expected (and, believe me, that was a sentiment I heard expressed regularly at the game and on the call-in shows afterwards), take a look at this:
|Georgia at 15:00||GSU||GA|
|Blair Walsh kickoff for 70 yards for a touchback.||0||0|
|Georgia Southern at 14:57||GSU||GA|
|1st and 10 at GSU 20||Lee Chapple pass incomplete to Tim Camp.||0||0|
|2nd and 10 at GSU 20||Lee Chapple pass incomplete to Samair Baker.|
|3rd and 10 at GSU 20||Lee Chapple pass complete to Darell Norman for a loss of 4 yards to the GeoSo 16.|
|4th and 14 at GSU 16||Charlie Edwards punt for 50 yards, returned by Asher Allen for 9 yards to the Geo 43.|
|DRIVE TOTALS: GeoSo drive: 3 plays -4 yards, 00:56 GeoSo PUNT|
|Georgia at 14:04||GSU||GA|
|1st and 10 at GA 43||Matthew Stafford pass complete to Kris Durham for 4 yards to the Geo 47.||0||0|
|2nd and 6 at GA 47||Knowshon Moreno rush for 14 yards to the GeoSo 39 for a 1ST down.|
|1st and 10 at GSU 39||Knowshon Moreno rush for 1 yard to the GeoSo 38.|
|2nd and 9 at GSU 38||Matthew Stafford pass complete to A.J. Green for 36 yards to the GeoSo 2 for a 1ST down.|
|1st and Goal at GSU 2||Knowshon Moreno rush for 2 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.||0||6|
|Blair Walsh extra point GOOD.||0||7|
That’s about as pure a start as a team can have, isn’t it?
Now, let’s go to the next offensive series, which gets capped with this:
|4th and 5 at GSU 36||Blair Walsh 52 yard field goal GOOD.||0||10|
That’s right, the true freshman kicker with his first collegiate attempt flat out nailed a 52 yard field goal that easily would have been good from another five yards out.
At that point in time, Mark Richt decided to treat the game as a glorified scrimmage.
|Georgia at 3:22||GSU||GA|
|1st and 10 at GA 20||Joe Cox pass incomplete to Mohamed Massaquoi.||0||10|
|2nd and 10 at GA 20||Joe Cox pass complete to Knowshon Moreno for 16 yards to the Geo 36 for a 1ST down.|
|1st and 10 at GA 36||Richard Samuel rush for a loss of 1 yard, fumbled, recovered by GeoSo Chris Covington at the Geo 35.|
Yep – Matt Stafford received a breather before the first quarter was over.
Georgia, the #1 ranked team in the nation, played ten true freshman: three defensive backs (Williams, Boykin and Commings), a running back (Samuel), a linebacker (Dowtin), a placekicker (Walsh), two offensive lineman (Jones and Glenn), a defensive lineman (Tyson) and a wideout (Green).
There were four first time starters on the offensive line. Despite that, Georgia racked up 535 yards on a mere 59 offensive plays (9.1 ypp). Was it a little sloppy at times? Sure, except for Moreno, who managed three rushing touchdowns on only eight rushing attempts – the third of which came on a carry to the outside when he scored while being hobbled with cramps – and is absolute money on screens.
It was 38-0 midway through the third quarter. GSU racked up 185 of its 290 total yards after that point in the game.
It was a rerun of last year’s Troy game.
So, in all deference to Quinton, whose observations about the game I’m in general agreement with, the question isn’t whether the Dawgs looked like the number one team in the country yesterday. It’s whether the Dawgs performed in a way to indicate that this isn’t a team that’s worthy of being considered a legitimate national title contender over the course of the season. I didn’t see anything to suggest that’s the case. Relax, people. Things will settle in.