We're about 20 minutes from kickoff. A few early thoughts...
-- Mellow Yellow in the press box. Nice.
-- I know it's only 11 a.m. here, but this stadium is EMPTY. So much for the power of the blackout, Vandy.
-- I think this is the week Caleb King gets the start at tailback.
-- This environment doesn't exactly scream high energy, but the Dawgs looked really pumped up on the field for pregame warmups.
-- Odds we see Aaron Murray: 32 percent.
-- Seriously, there are significantly more Georgia fans than Vandy fans here.
-- The press box here is great. First off, you have to go through the bat cave to get to the elevators. Then, the writing area is all made of plywood and there are little cubby holes to put your bags and stuff in. It reminds me of kindergarten.
-- Went to see a friend of mine from Syracuse play at a bar last night. He's an awesome singer/songwriter who decided journalism was too risky so he went into the music bizz, where he had a better chance at a successful future. Check out some of his stuff if you're bored.
-- Seriously, I've been to high school games with significantly bigger crowds.
Two fun things...
First, here's a photo of the empty stands...
Second, I joked in my picks post this week that I wanted to drink a beer in every state and apparently I must have insulted South Dakotans. Here's a snippet from an email I got...
"South Dakota is a place everyone should aspire to visit: The Black Hills, The Badlands, Wind Cave, The vast grasslands of the central prairie. For gosh sakes, Wall Drug. Oh my. Laura Ingalls (Wilder). If you have never been to South Dakota, it is your loss. Oh yeah, you ever hear of Mt. Rushmore? And well, Wyoming. You have achieved idiot status with your lack of interest. Good grief. Yellowstone. Buffalo gawking. The Grand Tetons. Fly fishing. Laramie. Cowboys. World class Quarter horses and Appaloosas. What is wrong with you man? I am about to go "Old Faithful" here on you. If you never sleep in the largest log cabin in the world, it is again your most grievous loss. I'm not even going to tell you where it is. Hint: Something amazing happens right outside every ninety minutes. Idaho. Every hear of Sun Valley you looney? Oh Lord. Bass Lake. The deepest natural lake in the world.
Awesome, right? I never thought I'd have a chance to really anger South Dakotans, but the Internet is indeed a magical thing.
FIRST QUARTER, 8:48 REMAINING
-- Washaun Ealey actually gets the start at tailback. So I was wrong about Caleb, but I was right that there was a change. Ealey picks up two around the outside on his first carry.
-- Cox throws a quick out to Branden Smith, who drops it as he tries too quickly to get a start upfield. Third-and-8...
-- Caleb's in for third-and-8... Cox hits Mike Moore and he drops it, too. Man, they gotta bench this Cox guy. He's awful.
-- Not a great punt by Butler. Come on, Drew. You're the only silver lining! I've gotta have someone to write positive stories about!
-- Vandy starts at its own 28. Demarcus Dobbs nearly had his third career pick on first down.
-- And Prince Miller picks up his first pass-interference flag of the day. Over-under on those for today is three for Prince. First-and-10 for Vandy at its own 41.
-- Vandy runs a reverse, which might be a good play if you had any athletes on your squad. It loses 4.
-- Just an FYI we have not seen "more" of Baccari Rambo yet. It's been all Reshad and Byran Evans on this first defensive series. Larry Smith's pass falls incomplete on third down. By the way, Udom Umoh is an awesome name.
-- Prince Miller had a huge return and would have gone all the way if it weren't for a great tackle by Umoh. So, it's not just a clever name.
-- Cox went deep for Orson Charles and was nearly picked off. Casey Hayward caught the pass in the end zone but was out of bounds. It's being reviewed by the refs.
-- And the refs reviewed Cox's stats for the season and decided that, yes, this must be an interception. And the turnover margin gets even more embarrassing. Touchback for Vandy.
-- No harm done... other than to Cox's continually plummeting QB rating. Vandy punts and Georgia goes back to what it calls offense.
-- Back-to-back runs by King go nowhere. And we're up to a third-and-9. We might have sixteen combined possessions in the first quarter.
-- Interesting note, Mike Bobo is calling plays from the sideline today. Willie is on the sideline, too. Not sure who UGA has in the box.
-- Cox get thumped in the backfield and his pass on third-and-9 falls incomplete. So... two three-and-outs and an interception in the first 6 minutes of action for Georgia. Awesome.
UPDATE, FIRST QUARTER, 3:19 REMAINING
-- Larry Smith eludes 47 tackles and is tackled at the Vandy 48 by Boykin following a big gain.
-- Kade Weston sacks Smith in the backfield. See, you've just got to execute. Bottom line.
-- Baccari Rambo is in on this drive. Doesn't really matter as Vandy essentially stops itself on offense. The Commies are punting again. If you had the over on total punts, you may have already covered.
-- Probably worth noting on Cox's INT... Orson was covered by a corner on a straight go route. How is that a matchup you want to exploit?
-- And following a time out, Georgia ONCE AGAIN gets fooled on a fake punt. Look at the field position and you don't see that coming? You have got to be kidding. I have to think this is either Blair Walsh or Logan Gray's fault. When is the last time Georgia stopped a fake punt? Anyone remember?
-- This is exactly the opposite of the game Georgia needed to have.
-- Bradford hurt again in the Texas-Oklahoma game, eh? Also, why the heck is that game starting at 11 a.m. local time? What's wrong with the Big 12? Why would you put your marquee game on before most people are even awake?
-- Reshad Jones picks off Larry Smith giving Georgia's offense another opportunity to run 43 seconds off the clock before punting.
-- Apparenlty I made someone mad by joking that I had to have someone to write positive stories about after Butler's first punt. Here's the comment: "Your contempt for your readers is getting more obvious every day. Such a shame. You'll be gone before Willie Martinez."
So, please remember folks, I spend 12 hours a day working on stories for the paper and this blog because I hate you. Please be aware of my contempt. It's really more like boiling rage.
Of course, the part about being gone before Willie Martinez does at least show that the commenter has a keen understanding of the newspaper business. We may not even be publishing still by the time this game is over.
-- A.J. Green takes a quick pass from Cox and runs 65 yards for a touchdown. I think that may have been a 65-yard TD with a 70-yard YAC. That's how much work Green did on that score.
When I come up with some stats next week to support Joe Cox, remind me that he doesn't deserve those numbers from this pass.
And by the way, that's a record long for a TD for both Green and Cox. Georgia 7, Vandy 0 (2-73-0:53).
UPDATED, END OF FIRST QUARTER
-- Christian Robinson on for Rennie Curran. I still haven't gotten a reasonable answer for why Curran seems to be off the field so often, particularly after big plays for Georgia. Similar situation last week after Rambo's TD.
-- Logan Gray is in to field the punt. He catches it over his head at the 20. And he tries to return it. I thought this was never supposed to happen? A few flags come in, possibly just because the refs are confused as to why Georgia continues to use this personnel. But hey, at least Vandy didn't fake it again.
-- Let's just take a minute here while the refs figure this out to discuss how awesome A.J. Green is. It's something special when you don't even need to have a quarterback do anything more than simply toss the ball to you at the line of scrimmage.
-- Flag goes against Bryan Evans, backing Georgia up to its own 9.
-- Pass to Fred Munzenmaier is nearly picked off by Vandy. I can find at least three things wrong with that sentence.
-- Cox throws a screen to Munzenmaier, who dances along the sideline and appears to have the first down. Gain of 9 to the 20.
-- Ealey is tackled for no gain by Adam Smotherman. Man, Vandy has a lot of good names on their roster.
-- For a quarter that had one big play and virtually nothing else happen, it sure has taken a long time to play. We're at about 50 minutes so far.
-- On third-and-9, it's a draw to Ealey. It gains four.
-- Vandy calls its second timeout, forcing Georgia to punt into the wind. Man, those smart kids are crafty.
-- Says the ref: "There are difficulties with the play clock." Seriously, why is it so hard to get functioning play clocks? It's 2009! I can Google the Wikipedia page for Dexy's Midnight Runners from my cell phone and find out how many weeks "Come On Eileen" was in the top 40 while driving down I-85, but they can't get a play clock to work consistently?
-- Butler's punt is 51 yards, Commies return it 11 yards. They'll start at their own 36.
-- Smith hits Norman for a 24-yard gain. Someone in the press box yells "Crompton."
-- That'll do it for the first quarter. Georgia 7, Vandy 0.
UPDATED, SECOND QUARTER, 9:48 REMAINING
-- Comment from Prince Lightfoot: "More technical difficulties this week from the Static Eclipses Coverage Network. Next up: Steve Harvey!"
-- First quarter numbers: Vandy has 63 yards and four first downs. Georgia has 91 yards (65 of which came on A.J.'s run) and two first downs. I guess you could say that the Dawgs are Munzen-mired in a bad slump right now.
-- Warren Norman has a good ring to it, too. Just one of those great running back names like Leon Washington and Madison Hedgecock.
-- Georgia holds on third down and Vandy boots a 41-yard field goal. Georgia 7, Vandy 3 (7-40-2:06).
-- Fun fact: Richard Samuel had an 80-yard run in the second quarter vs. Arkansas. Since then, he's carried the ball 26 times and has just 71 yards.
-- And another third-and-long for Georgia. I dunno... I'd go to Green here. Just a thought.
-- Ah, what do I know? Cox hits Wooten deep down the sideline, brought down at the 25. Wooten understandably celebrates the rare Georgia first down, so of course a flag comes in for excessive celebration. But come on refs... Wooten was da ball carriah... he could go... he could go!
-- Cox has Tavarres King open along the far sideline but threw behind him. One play later, however, he hits A.J. for a 14-yard gain.
-- Cox launches one just over a Vandy defender and caught by Orson Charles at the 6-yard line. Gain of 21 and this marks Georgia's first trip into the red zone since the LSU game.
-- Pitch to Caleb who takes it to the 2. On the next play, he takes the handoff and plows into the end zone for the score. Georgia 14, Vandy 3 (8-64-3:24)
-- That was easily the most impressive sustained drive Georgia has had since the first quarter against Arizona State.
UPDATED, END OF SECOND QUARTER
-- Justin Houston picks up another sack, dropping Smith for a loss of 6. You know, I probably wasn't entirely fair in joking that Butler is the Dawgs' lone silver lining. Justin Houston really has played very well since returning.
-- Another sack of Smith, this time by Demarcus Dobbs. Smith fumbles and Caleb Welchans for a huge loss. Vandy punts and Georgia will take over at its own 30 hoping to keep some much-needed offensive momentum going.
-- Worth noting again, Rennie was not on the field on those last few plays by Vandy. Christian Robinson was in at linebacker again.
-- If you look from the press box across the field to the stands on the opposite side, you'd swear this was a Georgia home game. It's all red. Today's attendance 38,740.
-- Cox hits Aron White for a first down. I think the TEs have already been targeted more today than they had been in the past two games combined.
-- Greg Billinger sacks Joe Cox on third down. That's the first sack of Cox since the Arkansas game. Interesting observation: Billinger throws his towel in the air to celebrate the play and, of course, draws no flag.
-- The Figthin' Dabos are taking it to Wake Forest... 30-3. UConn also beating up on Louisville. I was curious to see what Nashville was all about because I have a longstanding theory that I don't ever want to live anywhere that ends in "ville." So far, I give it a thumbs up. My "ville" list goes: 1.) Margaritaville, 2.) Nashville, 3.) Louisville, 4.) Jacksonville, 106.) Gainesville.
-- Cox & Smith are a combined 11-for-28 passing so far. Fun 'N Gun!
-- Vandy is moving the ball down the field quickly. Three big throws by Smith and a long run by Zac Stacy has the Commies at the UGA 35.
-- Stacy just had a huge hole and got tripped up by his shoelaces by Jeff Owens. That saved a touchdown.
-- Smith has gone deep for Umoh twice and Boykin has had perfect coverage both times.
-- Larry Smith is Georgia's best defensive back.
-- Houston tackles Smith on a QB run on fourth down to halt a nice Vandy drive and turn the ball over on downs. Georgia's offense has 1:19 to work with. I say throw to Green.
-- Do yourselves a favor and read THIS STORY. Go ahead... we'll wait.
-- Quick pass to Carlton Thomas goes for 11. Imagine, getting the ball to Thomas in space works. I like it. Let's try it again.
-- Cox overthrows Aron White on second-and-11. A flag comes in for illegal formation following Georgia's timeout. Think about that for a second. Also the ref failed to turn off his mic before blowing his whistle. I'm awake now.
-- Cox hits A.J. for another first down. Georgia sets up at the Vandy 48 with 38 seconds to play.
-- Cox hits Munzenmaier who rumbles up to the 39 but he doesn't get out of bounds forcing Georgia to spend its last timeout of the half. Twenty-eight seconds to go. Anyone predicting a debacle getting the kicking team on the field?
-- This would be a 56-yarder right now, but the wind is with Walsh. It's certainly worth trying if need be. A long pass to King goes incomplete bringing up a third-and-2.
-- Aron White drops what should have been a first down and set Walsh up in much more manageable range. But out trots Walsh anway. This'll be just inside 57 yards from the left hashmark. The kick gets blocked, but there's a flag. Personal foul for leaping on the defense moves the ball to the 25. Flag for leaping. That's like getting arrested for emerging from an alley.
-- Rather than trot the offense out for one more shot at the end zone, Georgia has Walsh boot another one. This time he connects on a 42-yarder. Georgia 17, Vandy 3 (8-48-1:12).
-- Kick goes out of bounds. Vandy will get seven seconds from its own 40.
-- Smith's pass goes out of bounds, and that'll do it for the first half. Georgia 17, Vandy 3.
-- Georgia has 214 yards of offense today. That puts the Dawgs just 28 yards shy of their total from a week ago.
-- Joe Cox and Larry Smith combined: 17-of-40 for 275 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs.
-- Josh Davis got the start today at right tackle. Boling moved in to right guard.
-- Vandy ranks 90th nationally in rushing defense, allowing 170 yards per game on the ground. Georgia has 27 yards on 14 carries today. No one is averaging more than 3.1 yards per carry.
-- Green has three catches for 95 yards. That's more receiving yards than Vandy has as a team.
UPDATED, THIRD QUARTER, 10:45 REMAINING
-- Walsh boots the kickoff to start the second half and it goes for a touchback. I like the strategy.
-- For those of you who have asked: I haven't the foggiest idea why Bobo decided to coach from the sideline today, but I will find out after the game for sure. I believe Jancek and Ball are the only two coaches in the box today.
-- Larry Smith on a keeper runs for a 21-yard gain to the Vandy 43. Norman follows that up with another strong run and the Commies have a first down at Georgia's 46.
-- Vandy is hammering it on the ground and moving the ball nicely. Another first down to the Georgia 35. The score looks good for Georgia, but is this really a well-played defensive effort? Doesn't feel like it.
-- Two short runs set Vandy up with a third-and-8 from the 33. I'd throw to A.J. here. Oh, wait... wrong team.
-- Smith hits Collin Ashley for a first down to the 8-yard line for a first-and-goal. Bryan Evans in coverage on that one.
-- Vandy's two backup QBs look like they're playing charades on the sideline sending in plays... umm... two words! sounds like? .... A play-action pass! And it's good as Smith throws a bullet to Brandon Barden between two Georgia defenders for the touchdown. Georgia 17, Vanderbilt 10 (11-80-4:16).
-- Vandy's offense is brutal -- I mean awful -- and just went 11 plays and 80 yards for a touchdown to start the half. In fact, it was officially the longest TD drive of the season for Vandy. That includes games against Rice and Army. Poor Willie.
UPDATED, THIRD QUARTER, 4:17 REMAINING
-- Georgia gets some nice field position to start its drive, setting up shop at its own 39.
-- Samuel gets his first run of the game. He picks up four.
-- Great comment from Dawg '85: "I'd like to buy a scooter for Bryan Evans... or put him in a microwave... oh, somebody's already tried that."
Actually, I think Evans should be allowed to play on one of those Segways. It'd give him a small height advantage and it would give him a leg up in case he ends up working as a mall cop one day.
-- Samuel runs for the third straight time. Georgia is into Vandy territory.
-- Third-and-5 and Cox goes to the air for the first time on the drive. He hits Aron White on a crossing pattern over the middle and he gets right around the first down marker.
-- Munzenmaier picks up his third reception of the day, tying him with Green for the team high. He's on Munzen-fire!
-- Nice run by Caleb King. His numbers don't look pretty -- five carries for 13 yards -- but he actually has run pretty hard. There just hasn't been much there.
-- Cox goes back to Branden Smith again and he bobbles the ball yet again. This time he holds on but is upended after a 4-yard gain. This has all the makings of a 15-play drive in which no play goes for more than 7 or 8 yards.
-- Samuel runs and fumbles. Ball goes out of bounds though, and a flag comes in. It's a hold on Boling, backing Georgia up to the Vandy 33. Second-and-16.
-- Cox goes deep for Moore in the end zone, but it's not close. That'll bring up fourth down and Blair Walsh comes in for the kick. It's good from 44 yards out. Georgia 20, Vandy 10 (12-35-6:27).
-- Look at those drive totals again: Twelve plays for thirty-five yards! That's impressive. Also, Georgia remains a stellar one-for-one in red zone chances in the past two games.
UPDATED, END OF THIRD QUARTER
-- Two things: 1.) They're playing "Jump" by Van Halen. Hopefully that helps those of you with "Come on Eileen" stuck in your heads. Personally I prefer "Panama" though. 2.) I got yelled at for spelling Mello Yello "Mellow Yellow" earlier in this post. I was just trying to add a few 'Ws' for Georgia.
-- Vandy has really done a decent job running the ball. No really huge plays but they've been incredibly consistant. No real wasted plays.
-- Rambo was awfully close to picking off his third pass of the year. Regardless, he forces a Vandy punt. Even with the Segway, I'm not sure Evans makes that play.
-- After the long drive by Georgia, this was a great defensive stand. Keep the Commies' D on the field and get 'em worn out. Now the offense needs to put this one in the end zone and put this game to bed. They'll take over at their own 44.
-- A flag sets up a third-and-15. Cox then hits Orson Charles for a huge gain. So, of course, another flag comes in. Thank goodness Georgia loves a challenge.
-- Fernando Velasco is watching the game from the sideline. Do you think anyone would notice if Georgia slipped him secretly into Chris Davis' jersey and sent him out on the field? Third-and-30 coming up.
-- So that important drive where Georgia could put a dagger through Vandy's heart and put the game to rest? That drive was three plays, two penalties and went backwards 20 yards.
-- Drew Butler, you're back in the "positive stories" club. Congrats. We had missed you. The key to the minibar is on the night stand. Try the pistachios, they're excellent.
-- I think there has been a flag on five of the past six plays.
-- Vandy's starting left tackle Thomas Welsh is helped off the field.
-- Umoh hauls in a catch for a gain of five to bring up a third-and-nine. That'll do it for the third quarter. Georgia 20, Vandy 10.
UPDATED, FOURTH QUARTER, 11:45 REMAINING
-- Question posed by anonymous commenter: "One more question for you David. If UGA has Stafford and Knowshon against Tennesse last week do they win. I say no."
I'm inclined to agree, but man, if Georgia had been able to run the ball at all early in that game, things might have gone a lot different. Plus, if Stafford doesn't throw the picks that Cox did, I dunno. It wouldn't have been an embarrassment I don't think, but then again, neither Stafford nor Moreno play defense.
-- Kudos to Vandy for making Georgia's offense look good by comparison.
-- Prince Miller returns another punt a long ways... 40 yards to the Vandy 30. The Commie fans start booing, which is just precious. Umm... you're Vandy. At what point has it gotten so bad that you finally start booing? Really? The punt return? OK.
-- Washaun Ealey comes in and picks up a first down on third-and-short. I'm honestly trying to think of the last time Georgia converted a third-and-short with a run. Can't remember.
-- Myron Lewis breaks up a bomb to A.J. Green in the end zone. Nice play by Lewis, but I'm not sure Green could have come down in bounds anyway. Although, nothing A.J. does would surprise me.
-- Third quarter stats: UGA is up to 258 yards of offense. Ugly, but not as bad as last week. Cox is 15-of-29 for 205 yards. Run-pass balance: 29 throws, 20 runs.
-- Cox hits King on a screen and King sprints into the end zone for the touchdown. Beautifully called and executed play. Where has this been all year? Georgia 27, Vandy 10 (6-30-2:55).
UPDATED, FOURTH QUARTER, 6:24 REMAINING
-- Many thanks to all of you who have commented on the live blog today. I credit the Mello Yello for the creative juices. Although, I still think my live blog from last year's SEC title game was my best, mostly due to the immense material Tebow provides, but hey, I'll take compliments wherever I can get 'em.
-- Just a heads up, I have to go down to the field with 6 mins left to play or I'll be stuck in the press box for an extra 10 minutes after the game, so we'll have to cut things a bit short.
-- Demarcus Dobbs is shaken up. That's an injury Georgia really can't afford. Someone wake up Kiante Tripp.
-- Solid defensive effort overall by Georgia, but a couple of stats that don't exactly support the score: Georgia has only outgained Vandy by about 40 yards so far. Vandy has twice as many rushing yards -- 124-62. Have to wonder how much different this would be if the Commies had any type of an effective passing attack.
-- Speaking of, Vandy can't move the ball at all and punts yet again. Georgia takes over at its own 32.
-- Washaun Ealey finally breaks a big one, picking up 33 yards to the Vandy 34 yard line. Interesting fact: That's Georgia's longest run since 1983. What? No? They had an 80-yarder earlier this season? Wow, seems like it's been longer.
-- It's official: Ohio State lost to Purdue! Love it! Ah, the Big Ten. I'll look forward to seeing Iowa get blown out in the Rose Bowl this year.
-- That run by Ealey was actually just the third of more than 20 yards all season. The other two: Branden Smith's reverse and Samuel's 80-yarder.
-- Here's the thing about this game: Georgia wanted a dominant performance, and I'm not sure this constitutes dominant. The Dawgs showed many of the same mistakes they had all year. But it was a strong performance, and most importantly, it was a win (or at least it should be in about six minutes). The criticism will die down a bit, the confidence will go up a bit, and they've got two weeks to prep for Florida. Early thoughts on the spread for that game? I'm thinking Florida -17 or so.
-- OK, that'll do it for me. I'll have post-game notes up in a few hours. Thanks, as always, for reading and for the great comments. Sorry I couldn't stay with you through this Georgia drive, but duty calls. Enjoy the final few minutes and a Saturday afternoon with a win under your belts.