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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Live Blog: Georgia vs. Central Michigan

FOURTH QUARTER UPDATE: That Knowshon for Heisman campaign is really looking a lot more impressive than the LeFevour for Heisman campaign now. Moreno followed an A.J. Green reception with 21-yard run for his third touchdown of the day. I don't have words to describe how good this kid is, and really, why bother trying?

The defense has looked much better the past two CMU drives. Logan Gray got his first shot at a punt return -- though he didn't get far.

Richard Samuel earned the first touchown of his career -- making him, I'm sure, one of the few 17-year olds with a touchdown currently playing in the SEC. The run also put the Bulldogs over 500 yards of offense for the second straight game.

We're at the five-minute mark, so I'm going to head for the locker room. I'll have some post game material in about two hours, and some follow-up thoughts along with Richt's Sunday comments tomorrow.

Central Michigan's offense seems to be finding its groove a bit, which certainly won't sit well with Georgia's defense. For the third straight drive, CMU has driven deep into Georgia territory, ending its first drive of the third with a touchdown pass from LeFevour to Jean Pitts, who beat Prince Miller badly down the far sideline. If not for DeMarcus Dobbs' interception return, this could very well be a 21-21 game right now.

If Georgia had gotten flat during the CMU run, it's not surprising that it was Knowshon who woke the Dawgs up. He took a handoff from Stafford and went around the end for 52 yards and a score. Moreno is up to 117 yards rushing for the game. Blair Walsh's kick went out of bounds on the ensuing kickoff, giving CMU the ball at the 40. This has been an ugly game for Walsh.

For the fourth straight drive, the Chippewas are in UGA territory -- though that wasn't a huge chore considering where they started the drive. The more concerning issue is how wide open their receivers have been. UGA's secondary is getting burned repeatedly. LeFevour is 8-of-11 so far this quarter for 102 yards. Georgia's D did manage to hold the Chips to a 30-yard FG, which was a minor victory.

Georgia showed off its big-play potential again with Stafford hitting Massaquoi in stride for a 54-yard TD. Georgia had 14 plays last week 14 yards or longer, nine of which were more than 20 yards. So far this game, Georgia has seven of more than 14 and five of more than 20. We're less than halfway through the third quarter and we've already seen 24 points added to the scoreboard, which really helps out a buddy of mine who had the over in today's game.

Five straight drives into Georgia territory for Central Michigan. The way the defense has played for the past 20 minutes or so (of game time) has to be very concerning. Football is a game of adjustments, and while the D has looked strong each of the past two weeks to start games, they haven't seemed to have adjusted as well as the opposition as the game has gone along. That will be a problem against teams that won't allow UGA's offense to run up and down the field the way GaSo and CMU have.

Stafford hasn't been sacked in this game, but he has seen some pressure. Not exactly what you wanted to see from an O-line that was supposed to take a big step forward with the return of Clint Boling. Stafford did get Georgia out of a nasty third-and-nine backed up against their own goal with a 24-yard run. Richard Samuel also saw his first action of the game late in the third quarter, picking up 8 yards on his first carry. You've got to love that kid's strength. He runs as hard as anyone, and he's built like a truck. Of course, when Knowshon returned to the game, he rumbled 29 yards on a third-and-14, hurdling a defender along the way. Amazing.

SCORE: Georgia 42, Central Michigan 17.

THIRD QUARTER UPDATE: Central Michigan's offense seems to be finding its groove a bit, which certainly won't sit well with Georgia's defense. For the third straight drive, CMU has driven deep into Georgia territory, ending its first drive of the third with a touchdown pass from LeFevour to Jean Pitts, who beat Prince Miller badly down the far sideline. If not for DeMarcus Dobbs' interception return, this could very well be a 21-21 game right now.

SECOND QUARTER UPDATE: Walsh's second kick was a bit better than his first, but CMU still starts with decent field position on its first full drive of the quarter. Georgia's tackling has been nearly perfect so far, completely frustrating CMU's spread. The Chippewas lost yardage on their third drive, their second straight three-and-out. So far, Georgia has had the prescription for LeFevour (get it... Le-Fevour, fever, prescription... that's gold, Jerry. Gold).

Ben Jones got in the game for the first time with about nine minutes to play in the half. Chris Davis moved to left guard spelling Vince Vance. Not sure if this is related or not, but it was a three-and-out for Georgia, clearly the Dawgs' worst drive of the game.

Third straight three-and-out for CMU. This has been a statement by the Georgia D after receiving criticism for allowing 21 to GaSo last week. Let's see if they can keep it up for the full 60 minutes though.

Michael Moore was the big receiver on Georgia's fifth drive of the game, catching two passes for 28 yards. Moore has made the most of his chances in the first two games of the year. That's a perfect example of just how much depth this receiving corps has.

Walsh's leg is progressing. Kick No. 4 reached the end zone -- barely -- and was returned to the 22 by CMU. Interesting CMU side note -- I was looking for their section of fans but couldn't find any in the normal corner of the end zone. Turns out they're gathered in section 609 -- all 20-or-so of them -- about as far from the field as possible. I figure that's probably as adequate a simulation as possible of what it's like to be from Michigan.

Fourth consecutive three-and-out for Central Michigan. This game is reminding me a lot of when Boise State came to Athens a few years ago, and everyone lauded the Broncos' high-flying offense and underrated QB. Georgia went out and forced six turnovers, outgaining Boise State 574-293 and won 48-13. Other than the turnovers, this game looks awfully similar. So far, Georgia has outgained CMU 204-36, with 3:16 left in the half.

CMU finally had a drive going before DeMarcus Dobbs picked off a deflected LeFevour pass and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown. Get the oxygen tanks ready! (Actually, Knowshon is standing on the bench fanning Dobbs --- then led the crowd and team in a sideline cheering session. It is LOUD in here.)

Yikes... Walsh's kick (granted, from the 15 after an excessive celebration penalty) was brutal. CMU starts its drive at Georgia's 40 with 1:02 left. Jarius Wynn came off the field limping after a CMU first down with 40 seconds left. LeFevour completes a pass for a touchdown with 27 seconds left. Blame the penalty and poor kickoff for that one.

Georgia attempted a 56-yarder FG as time ran out on the half. Walsh had the leg for it, but was wide right.

Two interesting notes from the first half: It may just be me, but it seems like Georgia has been checking out of plays at the line far more often than usual today. It's also been surprising that it's been CMU's defense that has looked decent so far, while the Chippewas' O has done next to nothing. That's basically the opposite of what everyone was expecting.

Key halftime numbers: Knowshon has 14 carries for 65 yards -- six more carries than he had all last week. Stafford is 14-of-22 for 134 yards passing. Georgia has outgained CMU 222-134 for the half (including an 88-27 edge on the ground). The Bulldogs are 7-of-10 on third down, which would be encouraging if they hadn't started 4-of-4. The Dawgs have done a great job of keeping CMU's offense off the field, boasting a 19:21 to 10:39 edge in time of possession. One other note of concern -- after racking up 11 penalties last week, Georgia has six in the first half this week.

SCORE: 28-7 Georgia.

MORENO UPDATE: Knowshon is back in the game after sitting out the final three plays of Georgia's last drive.

INJURY UPDATE (MORENO): One play into the second quarter, and Knowshon has already matched his carries from last week. He did it in style with a 28-yard run on a draw. Two plays later, however, Moreno came up lame after a block. He looked fine on the sideline, but Caleb King was in to finish off the drive. King came up short on his first run, but plowed through on third-and-1 for his first career TD.

FIRST QUARTER UPDATE: Georgia's first drive was exactly what coaches were looking for. The Dawgs wanted to have long, time-consuming drives to keep CMU's offense off the field. This one took 11 plays and nearly six minutes. Matthew Stafford said the Dawgs had to be better on third down this week. They were 3-for-3 on third-down conversions on the drive. Knowshon Moreno only had eight carries last week. He had five on Georgia's first drive against CMU. And Stafford looked as poised as ever, routinely adjusting at the line of scrimmage, handling a fumbled snap and getting rid of the ball quickly and he found open receivers every time he looked for one, including Mo Massaquoi, who made a nifty move to extend a play and get open in the end zone.

On the freshman watch: Caleb King got in the game earlier than last week -- rushing for 7 yards on his only carry -- just four minutes into the ballgame. He finished with three carries for 20 yards in the quarter. A.J. Green had another nice catch to convert a third down on Georgia's first drive. Richt complained this week about Blair Walsh's poor kickoffs, and it showed after UGA's first score. Walsh came up short when trying to kick deep, allowing CMU to return the ball to the 32, and got an earful from coaches afterward.

On Georgia's second drive, the Dawgs ran several plays with both King and Moreno in the backfield. That drive stalled near midfield when Green failed to haul in a pass from Stafford, who had made a nice play to get out of the pocket and get the throw off. Looked like King may have missed a block on that play that allowed the pressure on Stafford. That was Georgia's first failed third-down conversion in five chances.

One other note -- Georgia's defense has looked supurb up the middle. CMU hasn't been able to run the ball straight ahead at all. That's got to be a good sign without Jeff Owens on the field.

SCORE: Georgia 7, CMU 0.

We're about 10 minutes away from kickoff. Ohio U tried to do Georgia a favor this afternoon, but faded down the stretch against Ohio State. We'll see if the Dawgs can look a bit better against another MAC team.

I'll have full updates at the conclusion of each quarter, along with breaking news updates throughout should anything important happen during the game.

Please feel free to post your comments, thoughts and opinions on the game here, too. If you notice anything you'd like me to investigate further post game, let me know, and I'll be happy to look into it.

Enjoy the game.

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