Well, it’s officially the Christmas season. Some folks start earlier in the year (like September), but even the biggest Grinches have to admit that it’s time to put on Christmas music and watch some Christmas movies. I don’t think that there is a more analogous movie to UGA’s season than A Christmas Story.
Coach Smart is the dad, the leader, the breadwinner, and the guy that gets it done. The mom is the Georgia defense. She is the backbone of the family, working behind the scenes keeping it all together. The fans, of course, are Ralphie… trying not to shoot our eyes out hoping for a Red Ryder National Championship. UF fans are the Aunt that sent the pink bunny costume. Our offense is… F-R-A-G-I-L-E.
Dawgs started the season with the wins over Vandy, Murray State, and Arkansas State. The UGA offense looked solid, compiling a 75% completion, 10 YPA, 7 TDs, with just one Stetson Bennett INT. The rushing attack looked elite. UGA rushers racked up 860 yards, 7.6 YPA, 11 TDs and gain 1st downs on nearly 40% of attempts. UGA looked ready to host the nation for one of their biggest home games in recent memory against Notre Dame.
The Dawgs would hang on at home to win against the Irish. A huge win, but a lot of pundits questioned the offensive production against a team that was allowing over 200 YPG. UGA ground out 152 yards with 4.6 YPA. Dawgs kicked a late FG that brought into question some late-game decisions. All in all, it was a Dawgs’ win, but Ralphie’s C+ is kind of what this win looks like knowing the offensive struggles that were to come.
Dawgs now are “Major Award Winners” and leave Knoxville 5-0 after trouncing the Vols 43-14. UGA goes over 500 yards of offense and averaged 7.5 yards per play. This is the high watermark for the Dawgs’ Offense against Power 5 Opponents. So the Dawgs headed home to play the Gamecocks.
All Georgia had to do was hold the lug nuts… but a pick 6 near the end of the first half changed all of that. Again, the defense held up and gave the Dawgs a chance to win it, but 90 plays, 4 TOs, 2 OTs, and a missed FG was just too much and UGA’s season was on the brink.
UGA just hasn’t been the same on offense since that game.
But Georgia did rally and would win big in Jacksonville. Dawgs were awesome on 3rd down, which they needed thanks to inefficiency on early downs.
That was been the exception rather than the rule for UGA of late, though. The Bulldogs are averaging just 1.5 yards per carry on 3rd down since the Carolina game and converting 35% of 3rd downplays.
But here the University of Georgia is. Just one week away from the SEC Championship Game. Our western neighbors have a pack of dogs ready to eat our Christmas turkey, but maybe our offense can summon up Ralphie’s strength for the fight that is to come.
Oh yeah, we’ve got Tech tomorrow. Here’s a stat for you. Tuck Fech…