Georgia lost two bullets out of its offensive gun in the second half, with season-ending injuries to Hutson Mason and Michael Bennett. Brice Ramsey threw a pick on his first play of the game. It didn’t take a genius to realize that John Lilly was going to rely heavily on the running game to get the Dawgs across the finish line.
And Todd Grantham’s no dummy. He proceeded to load the box up with eight and nine defenders to slow Georgia’s offense down. It didn’t matter. Georgia’s first score of the third quarter came on a 97-yard drive that consisted of three running plays. By the fourth quarter, Georgia simply countered by doing its own version of loading, running out of a single wideout I-formation set that mashed the Louisville defense.
Georgia wound up running the ball for 299 yards. It was the most rushing yardage Louisville had yielded in a game in more than six years.
You know what it reminded me of? The second half of the 2012 SECCG, when Nick Saban decided the best way to neutralize a Grantham-coached defense was to run the ball down its throat. Maybe it’s another part of the Alabama process that Mark Richt has taken to heart. Remember what he said about his offensive coordinator search:
“We’re gonna continue to do what we do offensively,” Richt said. “As far as we’re gonna be very serious about running the football, we’re gonna be very serious about play-action pass…”
Serious is a good way to describe what I saw last night.
We used to bitch a lot about the days when Richt had a finesse offense, one that was willing to settle for field goals in the red zone because it lacked the punch to overwhelm defenses with touchdown scores down there. No more. There’s plenty to criticize about Georgia’s 2014 season, but finding an offensive identity isn’t one of them anymore.