- Thursday, 19 September 2013 02:00
- Author: Murray Poole
Photo: Rob Saye/BI
It was just a complete team effort that won this game for the University of Georgia. An offense that was relentless the game long and an Kenarious Gates-led O-line that limited the great Jadeveon Clowney to just one sack and three total tackles, a defense that allowed the Cocks only that one second-half score, a fan base and student body that made things tough for South Carolina every time it had the ball, and a Bulldog coaching staff that had the perfect game plan to knock off the No. 6-ranked team in the country … it all had to come together in this crucial SEC opener and, come together it all did. And, also, what about the Bulldogs cutting down their penalties, from 84 yards in the Clemson loss to just a measly 16 yards in this game?
What Didn’t Work
Yes, the defense gave up too many big plays and allowed too much yardage to Shaw, Davis and the Gamecock offense but, bottom line, Todd Grantham’s unit just allowing the six points in the second half, along with the brilliant goal-line stand, was a big reason why the Dogs are now 1-0 in the SEC.
Let’s see, there was Todd Gurley with his 132 yards rushing on the 30 totes, there were Keith Marshall, Brendan Douglas and Quayvon Hicks complementing No. 3 perfectly in the running game, there was Aaron Murray atoning for his Clemson mistakes with the 309-yard, four touchdown passing night while making the plays in the clutch, there was Justin ScottWesley snaring three passes for 116 yards including the 85-yard haymaker, and there were Michael Bennett, Arthur Lynch and Marshall all stepping up with key receptions. Defensively, Amarlo Herrera was again at the top of the tackle list with 12 total stops, his big tackle on the goal-line stand and his forced fumble by Gamecock QB Connor Shaw. Sophomore end Sterling Bailey followed closely with 10 tackles including one sack and one tackle-for-loss. Then came linebacker Ramik Wilson with eight stops. Making his playing debut after last week’s suspension, Josh Harvey-Clemons recorded five tackles and had the clutch fumble recovery. And don’t forget steady sophomore kicker Patrick Beless who again converted all five of his extra points and the field goals of 22 and 37 yards.
Kevin Butler’s Players of the Game
Kevin Butler, former University of Georgia legendary kicker and a member of the Georgia radio broadcast team, will each week during the 2013 football season select his offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week for Bulldawg Illustrated. Here are Butler’s selections and reasons why for the Bulldogs’ 41-30 win over South Carolina on Sept. 7.
OFFENSE – Senior quarterback Aaron Murray, who completed 17-of-23 passing attempts (with three on-target passes dropped) for 309 yards and four touchdowns while directing a Georgia offensive attack that totaled 536 yards against the Gamecock defense.
“Aaron is a competitor, a leader and a performer and he was all of those Saturday,” said Butler. “Aaron had a great performance after many people had said he can’t have those type performances against top 10 teams. Seventeen-of-23 positioned himself back in the Heisman race and positioned his team back in the top 10. This was a big win for Aaron but he has bigger ones that he is pursuing now.”
DEFENSE – Junior linebacker Amarlo Herrera, who led the Bulldog defense with 12 total tackles and teamed with Ramik Wilson for the tackle on Mike Davis in the brilliant goal-line stand in the final quarter when South Carolina had the ball fourth-and-goal at Georgia’s one-foot line. Herrera also separated Gamecock quarterback Connor Shaw from the ball in the third quarter, which Josh Harvey-Clemons recovered at the Bulldog 25 … likely the turning point of the game.
“Amarlo had the 12 tackles, a forced fumble and the goalline stand,” said Butler. “Amarlo led the team again by tenacious play and giving 110 percent every play. Amarlo is stepping up to be a consistent leader on a young defense that will get better every week.”
SPECIAL TEAMS – The entire Georgia kickoff coverage team, which continually pinned the South Carolina kick returners back and gave the Gamecocks poor field position after the Bulldogs had scored.
“I know it’s early in the year,” said Butler, “but I’m going with a unit. The kickoff coverage unit might be one of the most improved areas of this Georgia team. They have consistently held our opponent inside the 25 and have taken up the slack of our kicker being suspended and we having Collin Barber kicking off. The coaches should challenge this group and do away with any type of a pooch kick the rest of the year.”