Intentional grounding. Penalties. Play calling. Field Goals. What do they have in common? Well, come to the campus of the University of Georgia and you will see that this entire week has been all about those four statements. Last Saturday, the Georgia Bulldogs lost a tough one in Columbia, South Carolina, 38-35, to the Gamecocks. This was a Gamecock team that has had Georgia’s number as of late, winning four of the last five meetings. There were two plays that continue to linger in the back of heads of the Bulldawg faithful. The first was a 54-yard touchdown run by Heisman candidate Todd Gurley in the first quarter in which Brandon Kublanow was called for a holding penalty. After further reviewing the play, SEC officials still have yet to confirm that there was an actual holding offense on the play. On the other hand,SEC officials have confirmed that quarterback Hutson Mason committed an intentional grounding infraction late in the 4th quarter of Saturday’s ball game. Mason faked a toss sweep to Todd Gurley, rolled out the opposite direction, received pressure instantly from a South Carolina defender, and happened to throw the ball off of the defender. The hard part about this call is the fact that the ball hit the defender which in most cases would negate an intentional grounding call. Next, Bulldog fans believe the refs should have never received the chance to let officials decided the game.
Let’s flashback to 1982. John Lastinger under center. Hershel Walker in the backfield. I failed to mention that we are at the 4-yard line in the fourth quarter. It would be hard to think that the ball would even be put in the air unless after a touchdown celebration. As a defender of this situation, I would expect nothing but smash mouth football. Better yet, I would expect four consecutive runs with the best back in the country in my front view mirror. Now, we can come back to reality. Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo chose a play action pass in the very same situation with #3 in the backfield. Granted, say if using Gurley as a decoy actually worked, and UGA scored, Bobo would be looked upon right now as a genius. However, that’s the nature of sports as a coach. If it works, you’re a king; if not, there’s no love in the world for you. The obvious and safe play call in this situation was of course to hand the ball off to Mr. Gurley.
Seeing that things did not work out the way UGA fans hoped, including myself, the stigma on campus is that UGA is still just UGA. You get the feeling that the fans are yearning for us to get over the hump, for Richt to get that big early season victory, and for us to get stops on defensive side of the ball. Troy University comes to play between the hedges on Saturday and I’m sure it will be close to capacity. Georgia fans love their Georgia football. After four years here at the university, I can tell that people are tired of the same results. The sad thing about the game last Saturday was that it lined up right behind last year’s Auburn game and the SEC Championship game against Alabama. The fashion in which the Dawgs lose parallels greatly to the way their entire season proceeds: so close, yet so far. The measuring stick and the football to determine the first down near midfield on Saturday proved the luck of Georgia. The fans are waiting for the luck to fall their way just once and see their loyalty rewarded. Luck disappeared even when we had the hottest kicker in the country instantly become a lone soldier.
So in conclusion, the fans here at Georgia are expecting to see the defense improve and ultimately use our Heisman-like running back when its his time yet do not kill him. If Georgia can win out against the likes of Auburn and a couple sneaky away games, the Carolina lost will be forgotten, especially if Carolina follows suit of the past few years where they lose control of their own destiny. The most positive thing about the Georgia-South Carolina matchup for Georgia fans specifically is since 2009, the winner of the matchup has not reached the conference title game. All in all, it’s time for Georgia to handle business once again and see what type of winning streak they can put together.