This may very well be my favorite college football quote of 2009:
“I wanted to run on the field and jump up and down, but I was kind of tired,” said linebacker Ram Vela, who had an interception and fumble recovery. “We’d done it before and we went into this game not really placing as much emphasis or too much importance on it. We just treated it like another game.”
That makes three losses for the Irish, including one to a 5-5 Michigan squad with its own problems now. With road games left against Pittsburgh and Stanford, it’s looking likely that the once BCS-bound (ha!) team will struggle mightily to avoid a fourth loss.
Darn shame, I say.
UPDATE: Angst is blinding this blogger. “Because there is not a COACH IN THE WORLD worse for ND than Urban Meyer. NOT ONE. Not Weis. Not anyone.” (h/t Doc Saturday)
One good thing about waxing a Tennessee Tech is that it gives a team a chance to repair some statistical shortcomings, and Georgia took advantage of the situation. The Dawgs are no longer last in the SEC in any team defensive rankings. Woo hoo!
I wonder when the last time was that Georgia and Auburn played each other ranked tenth and twelfth in the conference in scoring defense.
Sorry, LSU fans, but I have no sympathy for you about this. None.
How does that shoe on the other foot fit?
On a picture perfect day, Georgia settled in and, for once, dominated an opponent it should have dominated.
It would be churlish on my part to do a good-bad-ugly breakdown for a game that went 38-0, so I’ll just settle for a few bullet points.
- The non-football stuff. The weather couldn’t have been better. The crowd was larger than many people thought it might be and was generally supportive, if not rabidly enthusiastic (to be fair, it wasn’t that kind of game). And with a 1:00 PM start and no TV, it was like doing the time warp and watching a game as if it was in the eighties – efficiently pleasant.
- The shutout. Yeah, it was Tennessee Tech and that was a pitiful offensive line that the Dawg defense went up against yesterday. But any time the other team doesn’t cross midfield, you’re doing something right. Six sacks, fifteen tackles for loss, negative rushing yardage on the day – that’s a Grade A performance in my book. And Martinez had the good sense not to crow about it. Bring that level of excellence this Saturday, and we’ll talk.
- Logan Gray. I don’t know whether it’s the player or the coaching, but, man, that was one underwhelming performance yesterday. Everything – and I do mean everything – about the interception was horrid, except that it came on a part of the field where it didn’t leave the defense in a hole. But for Gray to look less than impressive against a less than impressive opponent isn’t a good thing. You look at schools like Cincinnati which can trot a backup out after the starter goes down and can’t help but wonder what’s the problem in Athens. There’s a reason why Cox is the starter. And next year looks a little scarier, to be honest.
- The penalties. You can’t blame this one on the coaches. Eleven penalties in a game that was in control from the first series? Five false start penalties? That’s a focus problem, big time.
- The tight ends. I heart Orson and Aron. They’re only going to improve, especially as they become better blockers.
- Washaun Ealey. Given the limits of the offensive line’s ability to run block, he’s clearly Georgia’s best option at running back. It’s not that Caleb King is a bad back, but his style is such that he tends to wait for the blocking to develop, which is not part of the standard equipment right now. Ealey is much more decisive hitting the hole, which is what fits best.
- Turnover margin. If you wind up going -1 in a game like that, it’s hopeless. I had to look, and, yes, Georgia is still 119th nationally in TO margin. And dead last in takeaways. But, hey, at least Joe Cox ended his interception streak!