Georgia Tech Rewind: Now, does anybody here want to talk about Alabama?
Posted on Nov 24, 2012 by Murray Poole |
Well, does anybody here want to talk about Alabama?
It’s now safe to say Mark Richt got his team’s attention when the Georgia head coach wouldn’t talk about the SEC championship game this past week, saying he only wanted the Bulldogs to focus on beating the state rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
For third-ranked Georgia came out and swatted the Jackets hard and often, turning this one into a mismatch from the get-go. Blowing into a 28-3 halftime lead, the Bulldogs went on to bury Georgia Tech by 42-10 and finish the regular 2012 season with an 11-1 worksheet. Now, at long last, after handling the triple option offenses of Georgia Southern and Tech the past two weekends, Georgia can concentrate on beating the Alabama Crimson Tide in Saturday’s 4 p.m. SEC title game at the Georgia Dome, an upset win that would send the Bulldogs to the Jan. 7 BCS National Championship game in Miami.
“This was a game that everybody was worried about us looking ahead,” said a happy Richt, who’s taking his team to the SEC championship game for the 5th time in his 12 seasons at the UGA helm. “You don’t do that when you’re playing Georgia Tech. This game means a lot for us. Our coaches prepared hard, they were diligent, and the players took to the coaching, I thought we played a superb game. I’m so proud of everybody. I could not have asked for a better day than today. Our goal was to win every phase of the game, for every unit to win. I think we may have done that. That’s more than a coach can ask for really.
“Turnovers are huge when you play this team,” said Richt. “The time of possession was 40-20 in their favor and they look to control the clock and move the ball down the field methodically. When they hold it, it reduces your number of possessions. To end a possession for them with a turnover (Bacarri Rambo takeaway) was huge. Then to score, that was huge, too. Offensively, early on, we did whatever we wanted to do. It was a great job by everybody staying focused. They did about as well as you can do.”
Richt said the team will have a great challenge, in getting ready this week to play the defending national champion Crimson Tide.
“We’ll be grinding and working hard and coming up with the best plan possible as quickly as we can,” he said. “We know it’s going to be a battle. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to get back to that game, and it’s another chance for us to play well. That’s the goal.”
The Bulldogs received the opening kickoff and after Malcolm Mitchell raced 47 yards with it to the Tech 44, Georgia scored in just four plays, Todd Gurley going in from the 3-yard line. Murray had key completions to Gurley and Arthur Lynch and in the process, went over the 3,000-yard passing mark for the third consecutive season.
Georgia then pushed its lead to two touchdowns in a sudden momentum swing that startled both Bulldog and Jacket fans. When it appeared Georgia Tech was about to even the score at 7-7 after marching from its own 16-yard line, Bacarri Rambo stripped Jacket back Robert Godhigh of the ball while he was goalward bound at the Georgia 1-yard line and then returned it all the way to midfield. This time, the Bulldogs, behind Gurley’s running and a 16-yard Murray-to-Mitchell pass to the Tech 2, covered the distance in eight plays. Again, the Georgia freshman tailback notched the touchdown from one yard out. With Marshall Morgan’s kick, the Bulldogs now led 14-0, with still 6:14 left in the first quarter. The Jackets then drove again, this time getting points on a 38-yard Chris Tanner field goal with 13 seconds left in the period.
Then, on the final play of the quarter, after Mitchell returned the ensuing kickoff only to the Georgia 15, the Bulldogs hit the Jackets with another haymaker, Murray dropping back and throwing a 57-yard strike to a wide-open Mitchell. That put the ball at the Tech 28 and, in two plays, freshman tailback Keith Marshall took it in, going 13 on his first carry and then racing through the Jackets for 15 and the touchdown. Thus, with 14:39 remaining until halftime, Georgia sailed up by 21-3.
And there was more in the first half. After Rambo picked off a deep Vad Lee pass – his 16th career interception to tie former Bulldog great Jake Scott in the UGA record book – and returned it 27 yards to the Georgia 32, the Bulldogs used the running of Marshall and Gurley to quickly march 68 yards and push the lead to 28-3. After Marshall had a 15-yard run, Gurley zipped for gains of 21 and 22 yards and following a 5-yard penalty on the Dogs back to the Tech 11, Murray hit Rhett McGowan in the back left corner of the end zone for the touchdown. That came with 2:49 left until intermission and though Tech then hurried down to the Bulldogs’ 19, Tanner’s field goal attempt at the buzzer sailed wide right.
The Bulldogs then continued to pour it on in the second half, adding touchdowns on a 24-yard pass from Murray to tight end Jay Rome and a 17-yard run by Marshall. The Jackets wouldn’t get their only touchdown of the game until 7:25 remained when David Sims scored from nine yards out against a number of Georgia reserves.
Everything worked this afternoon … an offense that struck almost every time it had the ball in the first half, a defense that held Tech’s vaunted triple-option offense to just one touchdown, good special teams play and, most of all, a football team that refused to look ahead to bigger things and simply took care of business in likely the Bulldogs’ most complete game of the season.
What Didn’t Work
About the only thing that didn’t work was that the Georgia defense wanted to keep the Georgia Tech offense from scoring a single touchdown. “We didn’t want them to score at all,” said Jarvis Jones, “but, hey, those guys (backups) have got to get some playing time also.”
Let’s start with that Bulldog defense this time. Just like Georgia Southern last week, Georgia allowed the Jackets to get their 300 rushing yards (306 to be exact) but unlike last week when the Eagles tallied two touchdowns, Georgia Tech could manage only the one six-pointer in the last 7:25 of the game while being held to a season-low 10 points. Junior linebacker Alec Ogletree (15), senior linebacker Christian Robinson (13) and senior nose guard John Jenkins (11) all recorded career highs in tackles as the Jackets ran the ball 67 times. Then came junior All-America Jarvis Jones with nine stops and Ray Drew (also career high), Rambo and Garrison Smith, with eight tackles each. Rambo had two forced fumbles as well as his record-tying interception. Offensively, the Bulldogs were just as efficient. Behind Gurley’s 97 yards on 12 carries and two scores and Marshall’s 66 yards on just seven carries and also two touchdowns, Georgia rushed for 164 yards, and Murray was nearly perfect through the air as he completed 14-of-17 for 215 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions. Mitchell and Lynch showed three receptions each, Mitchell for 88 yards and Lynch for 36. Gurley and McGowan each had a pair of receptions with McGowan pulling in his touchdown catch.
For All the Marbles in the Dome
It’s finally here, 11-1 Georgia vs. 11-1 Alabama for the SEC championship and the opportunity to play for the big prize, the BCS National Championship in early January in Miami.
“I think we’ve been building momentum all year,” said offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, whose Georgia offense has now set a school record for points in a season with 456, breaking the old mark of 450 set by the 2002 team in 14 games. “Through the good and the bad every week, we’ve looked at the positives and came out and gotten better each week. And we’ve got to do that this week, come out and correct the mistakes and try to get better going into this championship game. I know our guys will be excited,” said Bobo. “We’re all excited about going back to Atlanta and trying to win the SEC championship. No question, it will be a great challenge for us. Alabama has arguably one of the best defenses in the country over the last four or five years. They know how to win, they know how to stop people and we’re going have to come out and execute. There are going to be times they stop us but we’ve got good confidence going into this game; we’re playing well all the way around and I’m excited about next week.”
Tagged: georgia football, georgia tech, mark richt, alabama crimson tide, aaron murray, todd gurley, keith marshall, malcolm mitchell, bacarri rambo, alec ogletree, john jenkins, christian robinson, keith marshall, rhett mcgowan, jay rome, mike bobo
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