Well that was a helluva game wasn't it? I mean I'd like to spend many, many, many paragraphs explaining why my keys to victory were spot on. How I nearly nailed the score (again). And even spend a little time talking about me being awesome in general.
not the time. There are more important things to discuss, so let's get to our recap.The Stats Say:
Alabama and Georgia played a nearly identical game offensively. We were almost dead even in passing, rushing, first downs, completions/attempts, total offense, net punting yards, etc. There are three glaring differences, though. We won the "battle" for penalties (nine for 71 yards) and won the "battle" for giving the ball away (two turnovers to their one).
Aside from bone-headed mistakes like ripping J.P. Wilson's head off or Stafford throwing off his back foot unnecessarily (again), we played a very solid and balanced offensive game. We had 40 rushes and 36 pass attempts
. However, I wouldn't say that we should get used to that kind of run/pass balance. We are dedicated to the ground game, but early on the run wasn't really working for us and we were forced to throw the ball. At least we found something that was working and exposed it.The Pros:Stafford's Poise:
I think we watched the maturation
of the leader of this team. Stafford has shown flashes of brilliance since last year with his talent alone, but last night was a night that he will never forget as a player. When things were going wrong, he wanted the ball and he wanted to share it with his offensive playmakers
. He wanted to be protected by that O-line, hand the ball off, and throw it downfield
because he had the utmost
confidence in our ability to win the game. That's not taking the world on your shoulders and making mistakes trying to get a win. That is managing the game as you see fit and getting the ball to the people who can score the points.Stafford with time to throw.WR Play:
The blocking downfield
was spot on again, and there was even a bit of meanness to those guys that we haven't seen in a while. Mo Mass absolutely rearranged Simeon Castille's
insides on a block and I guarantee you that Castille
didn't forget about that all night. On the "we should do this all the time" side of things, we caught the ball well, got some yards after catch (one great play by Sean Bailey in particular), and got open all night long. A solid effort by our WR
corps.In the bidness, we call this a "downfield shot."RB and O-line Play:
You might be wondering why I lumped these two groups together. Well, the main reason is because of one stat that isn't mentioned above: ZERO SACKS. The guys up front did a great job of containment and when Alabama did blitz, we picked it up to get Stafford enough time to try and make a play. Yes we did OK running the ball, but the most important thing to me is how we did not give up momentum by letting that Tide Defense gain some confidence. Great game by the youngsters.Defensive Play:
You know what I saw last night? Blitzing. You know how happy I was about that? Very. The stats say we never put J.P. Wilson on his ass for a sack, but I don't care. We got pressure and threw off the timing. There were plenty of balls thrown that were short and off target. I could've
hoped for a little bit better of a game from our Secondary coverage-wise, but overall, we did a great job of bringing different looks and blitz packages to throw off Alabama's offensive momentum. Also, props to Asher Allen for playing a great game and having some crucial pass breakups.The Cons:
Not to call Tripp Chandler out or anything, but the guy has never been that inconsistent catching the ball. I don't have an official count of how many drops he had, but I think it was in the area of about three or four. It wasn't a good night for the senior, but he did have a crucial catch to keep the chains moving before the last missed FG
. At least he redeemed himself some towards the end.FG Play:
I said in my preview that Coutu
was automatic and that he can be counted on for the clutch kick. I absolutely still stand by that statement. However, last night was a rough one for the senior from Lawrenceville
, GA. I don't know what got in his head and rattled his confidence, but don't expect it to become a trend. Even though UGA's
beloved kicker (one in a long line of many) struggled some, he'll get through it. It's what the guy does. Besides, let's not forget that he did make two crucial field goals to help us never surrender the lead.Stafford's Patience:
Look, I said he had a great game and played like a leader. I still stand by that, but he has got to work on knowing when to step up, take the damn hit, and throw off his front foot instead of his back one. I know at least one of those two INTs
last night happened because he could not put enough zip on the ball, so he has got to work on staying patient and true to his mechanics. There are better teams out there than Alabama. He's got to start stepping into his throws more. Period.Overall:
This is a signature win. Quite possibly the one that will define our season. Our little UGA
team that could went to T-town and put silence to the doubters. Last night's game was won with determination and an attitude of Us vs. Them. That's the kind of win that will rally this group and let them see the light at the end of the tunnel when they're struggling. It will also give them the confidence they need to face bigger and meaner opponents in SEC play.
Don't get me wrong. After nearly every big win, we have the tendency to over-hype ourselves and sleepwalk into the following games. I don't really see that happening this time around, though. I think this is the kind of win that gives a team focus and confidence. I think you saw the birth of a new attitude in Athens...one that really believes they can win championships.Let's hope the next time we see this it's in the Georgia Dome.
The momentum train is loading now. Better hop on while you can. Next stop: Ole Miss.
Until next time kids.
Be safe.*All pictures taken from Rivals.com.
Labels: College Football, Game Recaps, UGA Football