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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cap One Bowl Action

No live blog today... sorry. I will try to add updates of key plays, stats and news at least once per quarter though.

Couple quick pregame notes:

-- The wind is going to be a factor in this game. If Blair Walsh is going to turn around his late-season woes, it won't be easy.

-- I'd say the stadium is about 3/5ths Georgia fans, but considering the travel distance, there's a lot of MSU fans here.

-- Having said that, with about 20 minutes left until kickoff, the stadium has a lot of empty seats. Tickets were going on Craigslist for half of face value, and there was almost no energy or excitement outsiide the stadium. Of course, it is pretty early after many fans had late nights last night.

-- Rod Battle has been scratched from the starting lineup. No explanation as to why, but either Demarcus Dobbs or Jeremy Lomax will get the nod.

-- Josh Davis is, as expected, getting the start at right tackle. Jarius Wynn will start at the other DE spot.

-- Captains today are Matthew Stafford, Mo Massaquoi, Asher Allen and Corvey Irvin.


-- Two turnovers for Georgia in the first quarter. Nothing like giving life to an overmatched opponent.

-- Stafford's INT came off a tipped pass, but for the life of me, I can't figure out why he was throwing it in the first place. He overthrew a receiver in the end zone, too.

-- Durham, Moore, Goodman and Knowshon have been Stafford's only targets. Thought for sure we'd see a little more of AJ and Mo.

-- Blair Walsh didn't seem too bothered by the wind on his first FG of the day. His kickoffs haven't been deep, but at least they haven't gone out of bounds.

-- Gotta be happy with how the defense has played so far. OK, the roughing the passer flag was bad, but it didn't cost them (shockingly). The stand the Dawgs made inside the 3 after the Stafford INT was a great sign of how far the unit has come. For a long stretch there, the D simply gave up in those situations.


-- First off, there is a group of about a dozen female MSU fans in green shorts and sports bras sitting just in front of the press box. There is also a MSU fan roaming the concourse dressed as a Spartan -- helmet, cape and a speedo. That's it.

-- Some interesting stats early on: It took nine passing attempts by Stafford before either Green or Mo Mass was targeted. When he finally did look to Mo, it was well overthrown. Quote of the day so far: Stafford looks like he's already playing for the Lions.

-- Knowshon is averaging 2.6 ypc. Of course, Michigan State has just 13 yards rushing so far.

-- Would you believe the Spartans have run 17 passing plays already? Didn't see that coming. Both of these offenses look like the coaching staff tried to get way too cute with all the extra time to prepare.

-- I mentioned that the wind might affect the kicking game. Didn't anticipate that would mean bungling a long snap to Brian Mimbs on a punt that effectively served as Georgia's third turnover of the game.

-- Bryan Evans is getting some PT and has looked pretty good, chipping in with two tackles.


-- 6-3 Michigan State at the half. Raise your hand if you had that in your Capital One office pool. Yikes. This was definitely not worth the drive from Athens.

-- 14 passes thrown by Stafford so far. Two have gone to A.J. or Mo. Neither has a catch. I'm not sure how much Terrence Edwards is paying Staff to keep his name in the record books as UGA's only 1,000-yard receiver, but it must be a lot.

-- Knowshon has 24 yards on 9 carries. Stafford is 6-of-14. Not exactly an audition tape for the NFL.

-- No sign of Richard Samuel on kickoffs or at tailback. Perhaps that injury was a bit more serious than the coaches let on.

-- This game looks a lot like the South Carolina game, actually. I know fans were worried about the defense, but Willie Martinez's crew has been great today. Only 14 yards rushing for MSU, and the unit has forced three field goals -- something they couldn't seem to do over the final five weeks of the season.

-- Don't quote me on these stats because it's too hard for me to believe their accuracy, but four sacks for Georgia so far today -- one each by Wynn, Ellerbe and Asher, while Dobbs and Houston shared the fourth. It's like Bizarro Georgia.


-- Georgia finally found the end zone, Stafford to Michael Moore. Moore has five catches for 89 yards today. Meanwhile, Green and Mo Mass have totaled two catches.

-- Josh Davis has a shoulder injury and is out for the game. Bean Anderson is in at RT.

-- Georgia's first TD drive was its 4th of 90+ yards this season.

-- A fine Prince Miller punt return and a personal foul flag against MSU sets Georgia up for an easy score -- Stafford to Aron White on the first play from scrimmage.

-- I wonder how many apologies will go out to Willie Martinez. The defense looks spectacular today and has executed the game plan of shutting down Ringer perfectly. Add to that five sacks and it's been a really impressive performance so far. My guess, however, is that most of the Willie haters will chalk this up as Georgia stopping an inferior offense they were supposed to beat anyway.

-- Dannell Ellerbe had to sit out a few plays after being shaken up, but Georgia's linebacker corps is so depleted, Nick Williams was pretty much the only player available. Williams looked thoroughly confused, but Ellerbe was able to return after just three plays.

-- Stafford's two TDs give him 24 on the year, tying the UGA single season record held by D.J. Shockley (05) and Eric Zeier (93, 94).


Jason said...

Once again - wanted to say thanks for everything you've done this year in covering the team. While I'm sure it's fun, I'm fairly certain it can be grinding at times as well. So thanks alot...

That being said, I have two questions that are way off topic from this post relating to Nick Williams and Massaquoi. Did the coaches burn a redshirt on Williams or has he played at other times this year? I honestly don't remember him playing at all and was surprised to see him on the field yesterday. And was Massaquoi hurt towards the end of the game? He didn't seem to even be in the rotation much less getting passes thrown his way.

Thanks again for your efforts...

David Hale said...

Grinding indeed... But still lots of fun to do.

Nick Williams played a lot on special teams this year, but I cannot recall another time he was used on D other than the three plays against MSU Thursday. Whether that was worth burning a redshirt, I don't know. I wonder, too, how much coaches wish they had saved Richard Samuel's RS, too.

Richt didn't mention anything about Mo Mass being hurt, but Mass didn't stick around for interviews afterward either -- first time all season. That usually only happens if the guy has an injury, so he may have been banged up.

Richt hasn't met with media since the game, but hopefully he will Sunday or Monday, and I'll look into that further.