So now we know. These Dawgs are still a trifle cheesed over the perception that they’re nothing without Todd Gurley. How do you get the pundits’ attention? What kind of two-by-four do you whomp up side their heads? How about going from playing one of the most complete road games we’ve seen a Richt-coached team to playing an even more dominating half of football on the road?
The whole game reeked of “we’re just tired of that shit”. (I hope they’ve got some of that stuff bottled for later use.)
Yeah, I got your bullet points right here.
- The game opened the way we’ve seen more than once, with an opponent’s perfectly executed scripted scoring drive. However, whatever wind the Ray Drew-blocked extra point didn’t take out of the Hogs’ sails, Bobo’s playcalling on Georgia’s first drive did. That was as good a job of in your face calls and execution as I’ve seen since that 2010 game against Georgia Tech, when Bobo kept calling for throws to AJ Green over and over again. Bobo clearly saw something in Arkansas’ secondary he was sure he could exploit, and damned if he didn’t do just that. The other great call in the game came on Georgia’s last score. The playcalling had been so conservative over the second half that nobody in the joint was expecting the deep ball then, and it sent a message that Bobo knew he could collect on that play any time he needed it.
- Thirty more carries for Nick Chubb, and over 130 more yards than Alabama rushed for against Arky’s defense. I am officially not worried about next year’s running game.
- Great to see a big game out of Chris Conley. It’s weird, but that’s the first payoff from Malcolm Mitchell back on the field.
- Offensive line was, again, a mixed bag. Dominant at times, but also confused on some of Arkansas blitzes. And Theus got burned on a speed rush that turned into a sack.
- Great blocking from the fullbacks, though.
- Mason has shaken the uncertainty from his game. He is still not being asked to do too much, but he’s giving them everything they need from him. His throw on that last touchdown was as pretty as any college quarterback could make.
- Pruitt said after the South Carolina game that he was done playing soft. He wasn’t kidding. Georgia was aggressive with its blitzes throughout the first half, and that paid off big time.
- Another big day on the turnover margin front. Some of that obviously comes from the offense being careful, but the defense continues to improve in being alert and around the ball. Mauger is much improved in pass coverage from last season. And Swann’s confidence has grown remarkably over the last three games. You can see how all the defensive backs are feeding off the pressure being generated from the front six/seven.
- The only bummer on the day was the continued inability to cover the intermediate pass over the middle. Arkansas’ tight ends feasted on the coverage. Unfortunately, that situation is what it is.
- Special teams were, shall we say, consistent with what we’ve seen of late. Punting wasn’t anything special, although there two landed inside the twenty. McKenzie flashed again in the return game. Morgan was perfect with his extra points and field goal, also knocking out a bunch of touchbacks on kickoffs. And none of the kickoff returns really threatened.
- The officiating was strange. Tons of flags thrown in the second half helped Arkansas hang around. At least a few of the calls were questionable, especially the last PI call Bowman drew, as it looked like the receiver pushed off big time. And Arkansas got away with a ton of holding. (I know, forget it, it’s the SEC… but, still.)
You can complain about the foot coming off the gas in the second half, I suppose. But, really, that game was done when they walked off after the first half ended. And I doubt the coaches expected that the players would relax a bit, too. Given how balls out they’d played over their last three halves of football, it’s somewhat understandable.
In any event, this team is showing that there’s something to its emotional and mental makeup that we haven’t seen from Georgia in a while. I bet most of them would prefer not to have a bye week coming up. For me, not so much. It’ll be good to see if they can get some players healthier and see the resolution to the Gurley suspension.
About all that, can you imagine what Florida will be thinking if the Dawgs get Gurley, Marshall and Michel back in time for the Cocktail Party?