Georgia vs. Buffalo Recap
If you are a Georgia fan and you enjoyed Saturday’s game for any reason outside of the mere return of the red and black to live-action meaningful competition then you must be Todd Gurley’s mother. There weren’t a whole lot of bright spots for the day outside of the freshman’s emergence and his claim of 1.8 points per touch.
WifeYouCrazy and I made the trip over to Athens but only got to stay for the first half as we had wedding festivities to attend, but from what we saw it was a good thing that the Dawgs were playing the Buffalo Bulls – not the Buffalo Bills. The defense allowed to many points, Aaron Murray misfired a number of times and play seemed generally sloppy. But, isn’t that to be expected from a team that is traditionally slow to start?
While far from pleased with the performance (I have since watched the game in its entirety on DVR), I didn’t see anything drastic to signal prolonged concern. The effort might or might not have been there, but the focus certainly was not. I think anybody with knowledge of the situation would be the first to tell you that most of the players (and possibly coaches) were looking ahead to Missouri – and I don’t blame them.
The defense gave up a number of big plays but showed up without a number of starters (Chase Vasser, Bacarri Rambo, Sanders Commings, Alec Ogletree, Malcolm Mitchell, etc) who may or may not be back next week. But, if you think that Grantham put a lot of effort into scheming for the Bulls and really laid a lot out on the field – from a strategic standpoint – you’re probably wrong. There isn’t much on tape from the Buffalo game that will help out Missouri. Very little pass rush, very few alignment shifts, etc.
Offensively Murray seemed to be long on most of his passes – a tradition dating back to his freshman season. But, I’ll continue to say that I’d prefer to see Murray overthrow Tavarres King than underthrow him and get picked off. Murray calmed down in the second half and seemed more in-tune with his receivers who all looked impressive. Murray is still one of those guys whose numbers seem to exceed what I see with my eyes. I would have guessed that he had an “OK” game statistically even as I watched it on TV, but his passer rating threatened 180 (179.1) and would rank as one of his fifth or sixth best games.
Todd Gurley will get the lion’s share of the praise out of the backfield – and deservingly so. During warmups I noticed that he just looks like an SEC back. Georgia has had several great backs come in and contribute as freshmen under Richt’s tenure, but his physique reminded me of Kregg Lumpkin – the last grown man to show up as a freshman running back in Athens. Gurley looks like he could play in LSU’s stable of backs – and that may be the ultimate compliment. But, Keith Marshal showed some elusiveness (10 carries for 46 yards) and Ken Malcome looks to be the power back that Richard Samuel has not yet appeared to be (6 carries for 32) – although Dick Sam also worked up 3 carries for 17 yards playing both half and full back.
The offensive line seemed spotty at best – and I hope that is a reflection moreso of a general lack of focus than a general lack of competency. But, most importantly, I hope that John Theus’ ankle injury is short-term.
The Special Teams units actually seemed largely improved – at least in the kickoff/punting game. Gurley had the tremendous return, but I also really liked Damien “Black” Swann as a punt returner (and for what it’s worth, I loved his physical play on defense – it stood out). Marshall Morgan is not Blair Walsh (at least not early-career Walsh), but recovered nicely from a kick that was badly missed and clearly affected by nerves (it was a pop-up). And, perhaps most interestingly, Georgia’s two-punter system worked splendidly. Adam Erickson tagged all three of his punts inside the 20 and Collin Barber had two punts for 102 yards.
In the end it certainly was not the Georgia game that many fans had hoped for, but it Georgia is going to show up with two or three lackluster performances this season (which they’ve done in each of the past few years) I’m glad this was one of them.
That’s all I got/