Game rewind: Georgia 27, Ole Miss 13
by Murray Poole
Photo by Rob Saye
On an afternoon when the Georgia offense struck early but
then sputtered nearly the entire second half, the Bulldogs’ defense
continued to make strides in a 27-13 SEC win over Ole
Miss Saturday in Oxford.
Todd Grantham’s defense surrendered just one touchdown
to the Rebels, that one coming on a 38-yard pass on a reverse, fleaflicker
Ole Miss’only other score came via an 81-yard punt return by the
Rebels’ Nick Brassell in the second quarter as the Bulldogs shut out the
home team in the second half while limiting Ole Miss to just 183 total
yards, only 34 yards net rushing and 149 passing. It was Georgia’s ninth
consecutive victory over the Rebels.
Now even on the season and SEC at 2-2 and 1-1, respectively, the
Bulldogs will return between the hedges Saturday for another key conference
battle with the other Dogs from Mississippi State.
“They (State) didn’t get a lot of offense going,” said Georgia coach
Mark Richt. “Our defense played strong, they were dominant in the second
half. They (Rebels) could have gotten one more score in the fourth
quarter which could have made things tight but our defense wouldn’t let
them do that.
“An SEC win on the road is always good and I’m happy Aaron Murray
could get one,” said Richt. “He was pretty solid overall. But the story
of the game was the way our defense played. Our offense moved the ball
in the first half and scored some points but we’ve got to correct problems
with our special teams.”
While the Georgia defense was putting the clamps on the Rebels, the
Bulldogs clicked for 475 yards of offense. Murray was 17-of-26 for 268
yards and two touchdowns and freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell, ripping
off one good gain after another in the early going, rushed for a careerhigh
147 yards on a whopping 30 carries.
“It was a good game for Isaiah, I didn’t realize he had 30 carries until
I looked at the stats,” said Richt. “But he secured the ball well and made
some nice runs, showed the stamina he’s building and gave our offensive
line the opportunity to pound a little. We did run the ball better, with
more physicality and our receivers blocked better today.”
Georgia bolted into a 17-0 lead on the strength of a one-yard sneak
by Murray, a 36-yard field goal by Blair Walsh and a two-yard leaping
touchdown catch by tight end Orson Charles from Murray, which capped
a sterling 99-yard, eight-play drive after the Rebels had punted Georgia
dead at the Bulldogs’ one-yard line. Big play of that march was a 69-yard
strike from Murray to freshman receiver Malcolm Mitchell who rambled
to the Ole Miss 4 before being tackled.
After the Rebels (1-3, 0-2) got on the board on the 38-yard pass
from Randall Mackey to a wide-open Donte Moncrief with five minutes
left in the first half, the Bulldogs struck right back on a 35-yard Murrayto-
Aron White touchdown pass. The score, which lifted Georgia up by
24-7, came following one of Bacarri Rambo’s two interceptions in the
game. But Ole Miss would also get on the board, with only 49 seconds
in the half, when Brassell took a reverse handoff following a Drew Butler
punt and sped 81 yards down the sidelines. When the Rebels misfired
on the PAT kick due a faulty snap, Georgia clung to its 24-13 halftime
And although Walsh inexplicably missed three consecutive field
goals in the second half, he tallied the only points over the final two quarters
with 4:16 to play when he split the uprights from 43 yards.
Obviously, as mentioned, the Bulldog defense worked the day long
with the exception of the Rebels’ trick pass play from Mackey to Moncrief,
which completely caught the Georgia secondary napping. Of course, the
Georgia offense both ran and passed the ball well but couldn’t sustain
consistency in the final two quarters when the Bulldogs made the game
tighter than it should have been due to their failure to score touchdowns.
What Didn’t Work
That lack of firepower down the stretch after putting up 24 points
before intermission is certainly something the Bulldogs will have to remedy
before running into Mississippi State and Tennessee the next two
weekends. And then, of course, was the shoddy special teams play as the
Bulldogs not only surrendered nearly the field-long punt return by Brassell
but also allowed the Rebels to recover an onside kick minutes after
Ole Miss had scored on Moncrief’s touchdown late in the second period.
There were Crowell, Murray and Mitchell’s (3 catches, 93 yards)
performances on offense as well as the Bulldog O-line which paved the
way for Georgia to rush for 207 yards. Charles and White had their
touchdown catches with Charles snaring five passes for 59 yards and
White showing three receptions for 53 yards. And, defensively, junior inside
linebacker Michael Gilliard led Georgia in tackles for a second consecutive
game with seven. Freshman inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera
followed with six stops. Rambo picked off two Ole Miss passes while
senior punter Drew Butler averaged 55 yards on four kicks.