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.
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.