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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Live Blog: Georgia vs. South Carolina

PREGAME (6:50 p.m.):

-- Joe Cox was out warming up and didn't show any ill effects of the arm injury. Throwing a few 20-yard passes with plenty of zip on them.

-- I love that South Carolina's starting center is named Garrett Anderson. How he finds time to anchor the Gamecocks' line and still have a .312 on-base percentage for the Braves is beyond me.

-- I take full responsibility for calling out the Big Ten earlier today. Wisconsin did eek out a win. Meanwhile: Penn State 28, Syracuse 7. Has the Greg Paulus era been as exciting for you as it has been for me?

-- Lovely pregame welcome from the fans for their beloved Steve Spurrier. Does sarcasm come through in print?

-- Tavarres King gets the start at split end this week.

-- I know the Oklahoma State score looks bad for Georgia, but maybe -- just maybe -- it's a simple let-down game situation against a team that, despite not being a BCS power, does have a pretty potent offense. Oh, who am I kidding... it looks bad.

-- Quick note: The live blog will be limited tonight. I have an 11 p.m. deadline, so I need to be working on my game story during the game, which will cut into my blogging. I know, I know... who still reads the newspaper, right? Well, I'm a sucker for tradition.

(FIRST QUARTER, 5:58 left)

-- Hey, a touchback on the kickoff. What a novel concept!

-- Cornelius Washington with his first career sack. He got to Garcia in a hurry. None of Georgia's DEs had a sack in SEC play last year, but that's a nice start for Washington.

-- South Carolina covered the punt well and Georgia will begin its first drive on the 26. Contrary to popular reports, Joe Cox is in at QB. Shocking, I know.

-- Cox starts in the shotgun and goes deep down the near sideline for A.J. It was nearly picked off... but because it was overthrown, not underthrown. Not sure if that's a good sign.

-- Oh my... I have no idea what Green was thinking there. It looked like he was lateraling the ball to South Carolina. First-and-10 Cocks at the UGA 23. Just to keep you up to date: Georgia's turnover ratio this season is now 4 giveaways, no takeaways.

-- Nice coverage in the end zone by Boykin on a second-down pass. He's looked every bit as good as Asher did last year so far this season.

-- Garcia gets off a pass to pick up a first down inside the 5 on third-and-9. No one was home up the middle and Garcia was able to step up in the pocket and lob the pass for an easy completion.

-- And Michigan officially drives the dagger through Dr. Lou's heart. Wonder if Charlie Weis can get his old job back with the Patriots.

-- Garcia to Tori Gurley for a South Carolina touchdown. That may clinch the over for those of you who bet. South Carolina 7, Georgia 0, 9:51 left in 1st quarter.

-- Boykin the deep man for South Carolina's first kickoff and returns it the length of the field for a touchdown. He got in behind the wedge, broke one tackle, then had a caravan of three blockers to lead him the rest of the way. Hey, if the offense can't do it, somebody's got to. Georgia 7, South Carolina 7, 9:37 left in first.

-- The 100-yard kick return is the longest in school history. Thomas Brown and Lindsay Scott each had 99 yarders.

-- Gurley had Prince Miller beat by a mile for a TD, but an ineligible receiver flag overturns a TD for South Carolina. The scary part though: Stephen Garcia is carving up the UGA defense right now.

-- UGA honors Ashley Houts and Trey Thompkins on the field. Thompkins looks like he's slimmed down a good bit, which is a good sign. And Mark Fox is rocking a Tressel-style sweater vest. Interesting fashion choice.

-- Pass interference flag on Prince Miller -- though it looked like it was Marcus Washington who made contact. As good as the Dawgs looked against OSU's passing attack a week ago, that seems to have disappoeared this week. Garcia looks like a stud -- which is saying something.

-- Georgia's D has been on the field all but two plays so far. As exciting as Boykin's kick return was, it also put the defense right back on the field for essentially three straight series without an interuption.

-- Facemask on Vance Cuff sets SC up with a first down at the Georgia 15. Garcia is 7-of-10 passing so far.

-- Garcia hits Brian Maddox wide open in the flat for an easy touchdown. The Gamecocks are feasting on those mid-range throws down the middle. South Carolina 14, Georgia 7, 5:58 to go in the first quarter.


-- Georgia's time of possession through the first 9:02 has been 30 seconds. Branden Smith in as the deep return man. Boykin probably deserves to catch a breath on the bench.

-- Garcia's numbers so far: 8-of-12 for 91 yards and 2 TDs.

-- Branden Smith fumbles the return without being touched and South Carolina will take over again at the Georgia 9-yard line. This could not be a worse start for the Bulldogs. The defense has to be dying right now.

-- Georgia's turnover margin so far this season: 5 giveaways, no takeaways.

-- I'm guessing Tony Ball can't pin that one on Shaun Chapas.

-- Hey, Auburn scored. A real barnburner on the Plains.

-- South Carolina has 25 yards rushing thus far -- or in other words, seven more than they had in the entire game a year ago.

-- Just a side note, Caleb King is in uniform tonight. Whether he plays or not? That's a mystery.

-- Big play by Demarcus Dobbs who breaks up a Garcia pass on third-and-goal. Lanning kicks a chip-shot field goal of 21 yards. South Carolina 17, Georgia 7, 5:07 left in the first.

-- While Caleb is in uniform, Nick Williams isn't. No clue why he's out.

-- Boykin was a shoestring tackle away from breaking another one, but returns it to the 48.

-- So much for Samuel going down on first contact. He just ran OVER two tacklers for an 11-yard gain. First down at the SC 37.

-- Cox hits Samuel for a 17-yard gain. Who didn't see this coming?

-- Samuel is running like he's a bit angry about all that criticism last week. Third-and-5 at the 15 for Georgia.

-- A pass interference flag keeps the drive alive and sets up first and goal for Georgia, and Samuel gets into the end zone on his second attempt. South Carolina 17, Georgia 14, 1:56 remaining in the first quarter.

-- This has got to be one of the longest quarters of football I've watched in a while. We're coming up on an hour of real time to play 13 minutes of game time.

-- Another touchback... come on, Fabris.... where's the challenge in that?

-- I hope Tennessee's loss motivates Lane to bring the crazy this week. He's been a bit too quiet lately.

-- Man, Georgia's opponents have had a lot of flags thrown against them in the past two weeks. This week it's cost Carolina some big plays. A 20-yard run by Garcia was just overturned, and in case you're keeping track, that's 23 flags that went Georgia's way in the past 5 quarters of football.

-- And finally the quarter comes to an end -- 59 minutes after it began. South Carolina 17, Georgia 14.


-- Congrats to Washington, which beat Idaho for its first win in 15 games. And congrats to Idaho for being, at best, the second best team in Idaho.

-- Dawgs D didn't look great on that series, but much improved after getting a minor breather. Fair catch at the 22 on the punt by Logan Gray.

-- Time of possession in the first quarter for Georgia: 3 minutes, 41 seconds. Dawgs should be thrilled to be down just three with the ball in their hands right now.

-- Orson Charles in the game and A.J. in motion. Cox throws a bit of a floater to Green who makes an amazing grab between two defenders for a 22-yard gain. Does it really matter who's playing QB when No. 8 is the intended target?

-- Branden Smith in on offense split out wide along with Carlton Thomas in the backfield. It's a reverse that works like a charm. Smith goes 61 yards on a brilliant bit of play calling by Mike Bobo. Where was this last week? Georgia 21, South Carolina 17, 14:04 left in the half.

-- Of note: This marks the first time either team has topped 20 points in this series in six years.

-- All three kickoffs have left SC starting at the 20 or better.

-- Interception by Brandon Boykin. I thought this was going to happen last week, but he got some air on that one. Quarterbacks are going to underestimate this kid's leaping ability all season. Dawgs set up at the SC 33.

-- Georgia's turnover ration this season is now a respectable 5 giveaways, 1 takeaway.

-- Cox throws a laser to Orson Charles to the 13 for a 29-yard gain. So much for those arm troubles, eh?

-- Quote from the press box: "I think this was a basketball timeout by Spurrier. He needs to halt the momentum."

-- I could be wrong but I still haven't seen Marlon Brown or Rantavious Wooten on the field.

-- TK's doing a little Knowshon dancing in the huddle. Umm... it's maybe a little more Mark Madsen than Knowshon Moreno, but it's a nice touch nevertheless.

-- A chop block flag moves Georgia back to the 28 to set up 2nd and 28.

-- TK picks up Georgia's 4th non-AJ reception by a WR this season.

-- Blair nails another kick of 50-plus.... connects on a 50-yarder. Georgia 24, South Carolina 17, 12:31 left in the half.

-- Georgia's D line was dominant on that series, forcing a three-and-out.

-- Well, make that a three-and-fake punt. Lanning keeps it and runs for a first down. When's the last time Georgia didn't fall for the fake punt? SC starts with a first down at its 36.

-- Couple scores of interest from the ACC: Jax St 9, FSU 7; TCU 30, Virginia 14; James Madison 28, Maryland 21. If JMU holds on, we're looking at a 3-0 record for the Colonial against the ACC.

-- Garcia has looked good so far, but he just had Moe Brown wide open for an easy TD and threw behind him.

-- Last year, SC had a Smelley. This year, a Gurley. Nice. I wish former Detroit Lion Mike Furrey had played there.

-- Garcia connects with Moore to the 22 to bring up fourth down, and SC is going for it... or not. A timeout is called and Lanning comes out and boots a 34-yarder. The fake punt costs Georgia 3 points. Georgia 24, South Carolina 20, 8:21 remaining in the half.

-- The 20 points for South Carolina is their highest output against Georgia since 2000. Another TD for the Gamecocks would give them 27 for the first time sinec 1979.

-- After looking great on Georgia's last TD drive, Richard Samuel hasn't touched the ball. He doesn't look hurt, but it's odd that he hasn't been in. Even on a third-and-4 now.

-- Bad snap to Cox forces the Dawgs to punt. Why would Samuel not be seeing action?

-- Offensive plays so far: South Carolina 41, Georgia 19.


-- Some bad tackling by Georgia and Reshad Jones gets another personal foul flag after hauling Giles out of bounds by his shoulder pads?

-- The defense holds on third-and-6 and SC sends in the kicking team again for another chip shot. Not the prettiest series for Georgia's D, but those guys have got to be getting winded at this point. Cocks have dominated time of possession. Georgia 24, South Carolina 23, 2:29 remaining in the half.

-- Georgia has run 19 plays to Carolina's 49 so far. Time of possession: 20:11 for SC, 7:20 for UGA.

-- Samuel is wandering around the sideline like he's healthy. Guess a successful drive warrants bench duty for two series to follow.

-- Branden Smith returns the kick to the South Carolina 40 and easily could have gone all the way but tripped up. Special teams are carrying the Bulldogs tonight.

-- Still no Richard Samuel. Carlton Thomas takes the toss sweep and picks up 4 after a rather pedestrian block by Cox.

-- Samuel finally returns... seriously, what the heck?

-- And he goes for 11 yards and rumbles over a few defenders. But yeah, didn't need him in the game.

-- A holding call on Ben Jones gives that all back plus negates a big play by Tavarres King. First and 20 at the SC 35.

-- Cox doesn't need a big arm when South Carolina is going to tip the ball and add a few more yards to the throw. Michael Moore picks up 19 and Richard Samuel absolutely leveled Alonzo Winfield after Moore came down with the ball. Just inches shy of the first down.

-- Cox sneaks for the first down. Georgia sets up with a 1st-and-10 just inside the 15 with 37 seconds.

-- Still no Marlon Brown. Seems like a red-zone look might be worthwhile. And wasn't Logan Gray supposed to see time in the red zone? Ah well.

-- Georgia takes its last time out with 16 seconds left, third-and-5 at the 9 yard line.

-- Georgia has 204 KO return yards today. That's a new record. The previous high was 196 in a shutout loss to Kentucky in 1977.

-- Now that was a pretty pass by Cox. He hits A.J. Green in the back of the end zone -- a little reminiscent of the Stafford-to-Green combo against Kentucky last year -- for six. Just a brilliantly executed drive by Cox. Georgia 31, South Carolina 23, 9 seconds remaining in the half.


-- After Georgia leaves the field, the officials call them back out while the final play -- a long Carolina run after catch -- is under review. Cocks have a first down at the 40, but is there any time left on the clock? No, no there's not, but we needed to delay things a little longer to ensure I don't make deadline. Thanks, guys!

(UPDATED THIRD QUARTER, 5:30 remaining)

-- Cox underthrew Green by a touch on third-and-short, but a flag followed for pass interference. The 15-yard penalty gives Georgia a first down at the SC 42. Cox hasn't been Stafford today by any means, but he's shown a lot more zip on his passes than he did a week ago.

-- Cox hits Green who sheds a tackler and picks up 34 yards to the 5. There definitely should have been a flag following that, too, but no matter. It's first and goal.

-- Some first half stats: Cox 10-of-16 for 113 yards and a TD; Samuel 6 touches for 51 yards and a TD; Green 3 catches for 38 yards and a TD; Boykin 2 returns for 148 yards; Reshad Jones with six tackles; Garcia is 17-of-30 passing for 178 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT plus another 35 yards rushing on six carries; South Carolina 7 flags for 58 yards, Georgia 9 flags for 80; TOP SC 20:11, Georgia 9:40.

-- Cox to a wide open Michael Moore at the goal line on third-and-4. There was nobody over the middle and Moore just fell backward into the end zone. Georgia 38, South Carolina 23, 9:04 left in the third quarter.

-- The 38 points are the most by Georgia in this series since a 42-23 win in 1995.

-- Couple interesting notes via Twitter: MikeinValdosta says SC fans were getting arrested at the concessions. Hope that wasn't my buddy, Ken. ChuckWestbrook says Samuel wasn't in the game for a while because he's actually a linebacker and the coaches were prepping him to go in on D. Good stuff, guys.

-- The South Carolina mascot looks an awful lot like the Stanford Tree only red and with a beak.

-- Cocks get their own big return to set up their first drive of the second half.

-- The tackling really hasn't been great by Georgia in this game, but I've got to imagine the D is exhausted after spending so much time on the field so far. Weslye Saunders just picks up his seventh reception of the game for a 13-yard gain.

-- Oh, yes, it's the Uga VII hiding behind the frech fries game. I say it's two. ... ... And I was right! Also, it's amazing how many people could follow that after tailgating all day.

-- One more halftime note: It's good to know the hot dogs are just as awful this year as ever. But hey, free is free.

-- SC is going for it on fourth-and-1 from the 21 and Maddox has no trouble picking it up. If there's one really troubling thing for Georgia from a defensive standpoint it's been the inability to get to Garcia or keep him from picking up key yards with his feet. His 7 yards on third down were crucial.

-- Three straight incompletions brings in the field-goal unit. Lanning drills home a 35-yarder. Georgia 38, South Carolina 26, 5:30 remaining in the third.

-- I gotta start some serious work on my game story, so minimal blogging from here on out. I'll have notes after the game though.


ChicagoDawg said...

Admittedly, I have never been a believer in Samuel at RB, but in that drive he showed something we have not seen. It was Tim Worley-esqe. Encouraging.

AC in Boulder said...

thanks D! loving this game and checked in on your live blog to relive first half! keep up the good work! it's appreciated

ChicagoDawg said...

David -- Could you please do mankind a huge favor and go slap Craig James and liberally apply duct tape? Clearly, he is the dumbest man on the planet. Sadly, all of his original thoughts, to the extent there are any, are original because they were hatched in a lobotomized brain. Maybe I am being unfair and he is suffering from a diving accident induced closed head trauma that was not publicized?