A Dark Day Between the Hedges

Georgia played a great game against South Carolina, but the Bulldog nation bailed early.

As I'm sure all of you are aware, . Now, even though Georgia lost, no one can say that they played a bad game. Their performance was leaps and bounds better than last week’s pathetic showing against Boise State. Georgia genuinely played a solid four quarters of football, and while a good portion of the fans gave up on them (more on that later) they played all out until the very end.

I’m sure that there are more people calling for Mark Richt’s head after last night, but he really can’t be blamed for the game. The play calling was great, what messed Georgia up was just clumsiness. There are two plays that stick out in my mind -- the messed up handoff where South Carolina picked up that fumble and ran it in and then the fumble where Murray couldn’t hold on to the ball after being hit so close to the Gamecock's end zone.

That last fumble turned the tide in South Carolina's favor. I firmly believe that Georgia outplayed South Carolina. Georgia’s defense was on top of Garcia the entire game, they really didn’t have many huge plays, and Georgia was able to keep them controlled for the most part. Our offense on the other hand got off to a really slow start. Three times in the first quarter we made it either into the red zone or dang close and then we were forced to kick a field goal, making two of the first three attempts. For anyone that watched, you know as well as I do that the game was a back and forth struggle. There were a couple times when South Carolina got back to back touchdowns and looked like they were going to pull away, but Georgia stayed right there with them until the very end.

Georgia was ahead roughly midway through the 4th quarter, 35-31. It was looking great for the dogs, and then South Carolina scored putting them up 38-35. No big deal right? Only three points, hardly seemed a problem for an offense that really was able to start moving the ball efficiently later on in the game. Then that second fumble near our end zone happened and South Carolina went up 45-35.

Now, there was still about four minutes left in the game. More than enough time to catch back up. Here’s the part that gets my goat -- a large portion of the Dawg nation got up and left. Now, I don’t know about y’all but if I’m a football player and I see a HUGE portion of the fans flooding out of the gates, do I really have any incentive to keep playing? I feel like us in the student section (excluding very few people) were the only ones who stayed to watch Georgia make an AMAZING touchdown comeback to 42-45.

Now I’m not going to say that we lost the game due to all those fans leaving, but the fact stands that there was a noticeable change in the presence of supporters for UGA. Ninety percent of the game, the crowd noise was deafening and you could really see there were times it really made it hard for South Carolina to perform. I would say there’s a good chance that if we had a full crowd supporting the dogs on the onside kick, we might have had a better chance getting it back. We know the Dawgs can do it, they had an onside kick earlier that was called back due to an offsides penalty so we’re more than capable of it, and they just need the support of the fans.

This is the part where I put my two cents in, Georgia went 42-45 against the team that is projected to win the SEC east. I fully believe that Georgia is more than capable of winning the rest of their season, they just need to play ball all four quarters and actually have fans that support them. Please, all of you reading this do me a favor. Don’t buy a ticket if you plan on leaving as soon as things start looking bad, there might be an actual fan who will support their team the entire game who needs it.

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Mary K. September 12, 2011 at 03:07 PM
Well, those who left early missed some great football. Their loss!! Thankfully, the awesome season ticket holders around us in section 118 didn't head out. : ) You definitely owe it to your team to stick it out. But I do hope that the players aren't paying any attention to what the fans are doing during the game. Their attention needs to be on the field. That said.....great playing by UGA. Ultimately, just wasn't our day. GO DAWGS!!! Thanks, Alex, for the article.
MJ September 12, 2011 at 07:36 PM
If the players are looking anywhere but toward the field at that point in the games we're in more trouble than I thought.
Alexander Reed September 14, 2011 at 12:56 AM
My point is, Sanford Stadium is huge. When there is a visible change in the crowd it's going to kill the morale of the players and believe me, even someone down on the field focused on the game would have a hard time missing the fans leaving in droves.
Bill Caputi September 14, 2011 at 02:33 PM
My, oh my! Have you ever played football? Fumbles, missed assignments, sloppy play, even inattention, are all signs of poor coaching. A coach of mine repeated over and over, "the team that makes the least mistakes will win". I believe that is still the case... Just because a team plays a more competitive game against a lesser team doesn't make it a better team. Case in point... watch the Dawgs this Saturday... betcha' they look like BCS contenders.
Alexander Reed September 16, 2011 at 09:55 PM
Yes, I played football for a brief period but we're not talking about High School ball or Youth league. We're talking about college football, SEC football to be exact. These boys should have more than enough experience playing ball to be able to perform a simple hand off. That's not something they should be learning by the time they're already on a college team, they should have that mastered by now. You can't blame the UGA coaching staff for that. Playcalling? Sure, by all means blame the coaches but when a player messes up the blame is all on them.


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