From The Sidelines – A Program Defining Win?

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From The Sidelines – A Program Defining Win?

Isaiah McKenzie (16) with a spectacular catch - Kirby Smart with a spectacular sympathy leap
Isaiah McKenzie (16) with a spectacular catch – Kirby Smart with a spectacular sympathy leap

 
 
A team must learn to win. Yesterday, Kirby Smart’s team gained a collective lesson in winning on a chilly November day in Athens. No championship hung in the balance, but these Dawgs didn’t care – simply winning a game against a hated rival was enough. They played hard-nosed football and not only took the win, but became winners in a more permanent sense. They grew up as a unit. It was a program defining win.
 
 

Kirby Smart, “a close game, we’re going to win”

Uploaded by Bulldawg Illustrated on 2016-11-13.


 
 
To say that Georgia’s offensive line has had its problems in 2016 is to understate the obvious. However, against Auburn, last night, the line played with an unrivaled physicality. Auburn has a good defense but the Dawgs went toe-to-toe with them. The line’s performance, in the final minutes as Georgia was able to grind out first downs and force Auburn to use it time-outs, preserved the victory.
 
 
Mel Tucker’s defense has played well enough to win every game this year. I know, Ole Miss was a blow-out, but one might argue that had the offense held and moved the ball letting the defense get off the field, that outcome may have been different. The offense was less than spectacular against Auburn but it made first downs at critical points and allowed the defense to “stay on the sideline drinking Powerade”, as Kirby said during his post game presser.
 
 

A sea of red and black in Sanford Stadium - Georgia vs Auburn 12-Nov-2016
A sea of red and black in Sanford Stadium
Georgia vs Auburn 12-Nov-2016

 
 
DawgNation did its part in the victory, as well. Sanford Stadium was rocking. Did the team and its coach notice and feed off of the atmosphere? Yo0u bet they did.
 
 

“That was more than team-wide, it was university-wide and fan-wide. The crowd noise at the end impacted the game. With less than two minutes, they could not convert and that was helped by the noise. These kids don’t have any quit in them. They fight.”

 
 
They do fight, Coach Smart. They have fought all year, but against Auburn they seemed to know there was a “W” at the end of the bout. There was no panic, no one flinched. The Georgia Bulldogs knew what they wanted and they took it. Murray Poole is right, Bill Stanfill and Erk Russell would have been proud…”

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.