OXFORD, Miss. – What can you say? Saturday’s 45-14 beat down by the Ole Miss Rebels – and it wasn’t that close – was one of the Bulldogs’ poorest total showings within memory. Georgia simply didn’t do anything right on either side of the football as Chad Kelly and the Rebels buried the Bulldogs in a 31-0 first half and were never really pushed by a Georgia team that – believe it or not – entered this game with a No. 12 national ranking.
The battered Bulldogs (3-1 and 1-1 SEC) must now somehow regroup to face the Tennessee Vols in an SEC East Division skirmish this coming Saturday in Sanford Stadium. Tennessee will come between the hedges riding high after erasing a 21-0 deficit and ending its 11-game losing streak to Florida, topping the Gators 38-28.
Looking at this week’s STATS THAT MATTER, one can quickly see why Georgia suffered though such a dismal afternoon in northern Mississippi in a game where Ole Miss compiled 510 yards of offense – 330 of that passing – and checked the Bulldog offense to 396 yards (most of that coming late) and no points until Brian Herrien hit paydirt on a 10-yard run with five minutes left in the third quarter. No question, both players and coaches have to take the blame for a debacle that truly has Bulldawg Nation scratching its collective head.
Plays of 20 plus yards, offense and defense
En route to its 17-0 first quarter lead, the Rebels had four pass plays for 23, 33, 37 and 20 yards, the 37-yarder coming off a halfback pass and leading to Ole Miss’ second touchdown. Ole Miss then reeled off additional gains of 26, 55, 23 and 41 in the game, the 55-yard being a touchdown pass when Kelly scrambled away from the Georgia defense and hurled a strike to DaMarkus Lodge in the end zone. Then, adding insult to injury in the second half, Kelly tallied that 41-yard score on a keeper right up the heart of the Bulldogs’ defense. So, count ‘em. That’s eight plays of 20 yards or more for the Rebels against a Bulldog defense that never showed up to play. The Bulldogs, in contrast, had one measly play of at least 20 yards and that came on a fake punt, when Marshall Long passed 29 yards to Sony Michel.
Untimely mistakes (turnovers, penalties, clock management miscues, etc.)
Malkom Parrish committed a defensive holding penalty after an incomplete Kelly pass at the Georgia 12 on the Rebels’ first possession. The half-the-distance penalty enabled Ole Miss to take an early 3-0 lead on a 24-yard field goal. There was also a face-mask call against Juwuan Briscoe, a holding call on tackle Greg Pyke and then a block in the back by the Bulldogs on a kickoff return as Georgia committed eight penalties for 52 yards. Jacob Eason threw a pick-six in the opening quarter when Derrick Jones returned it 52 yards for the Rebels’ first touchdown.
Special teams wins vs. miscues
Seems it doesn’t matter who’s trying field goals for the Bulldogs. This time, instead of William Ham doing the kicking, it was Rodrigo Blankenship who missed a 35-yard attempt in the second quarter. On the positive side, Reggie Davis did have a 40-yard kickoff return for Georgia.
Who could keep count as the Bulldogs continually whiffed on Rebel receivers after the catch as well as on Ole Miss ball carriers on inside runs. And, the Bulldog defenders were completely fooled on Kelly’s 41-yard untouched run in the third quarter.
Yards after contact
Nick Chubb, who didn’t play the second half due to an ankle sprain, along with Sony Michel and Herrien, all gained additional yardage by breaking first hits but there just wasn’t any continuity to speak of in this category, at least in the first half when it counted. Freshman Elijah Holyfield did acquit himself well with 27 yards on just four carries in the final quarter.
The Bulldogs had the costly 52-yard interception return for a touchdown in the early going, Derrick Jones picking off Eason at his own 48-yard line and sprinting down the sidelines to score in the left end zone corner. And Georgia fumbled twice but only lost one of them. The Rebels didn’t lose any fumbles and the only interception, picked by Aaron Davis, was thrown not by Kelly but by Jason Pellerin.
Red Zone (offense/defense)
Ole Miss was a perfect 4-of-4 scoring inside the Red Zone while the Bulldogs drove inside the 20 only three times on the day, getting points on two of the excursions.
Third down conversions
Pitiful, pitiful for the Bulldogs in this category as they were just 4-of-16 converting third down chances. Meantime, the Rebels were only 2-of-9 themselves but then, they were completing long bombs all afternoon.
Run/pass attempts (total plays)
Georgia ran 81 total plays on the day while the Rebels ran just 61 plays. It just comes down to being successful at what you do … Ole Miss 45, Georgia 14 is the bottom line.