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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Post-Game Notes: Celebration Flag Sets Up Late Collapse

You can read my game story HERE at and Tyler Estep has an additional feature on Washaun Ealey's appearance during the game HERE.

And here are the notes from the game...

The flag was on A.J. Green, but even he had no idea what happened.

The sophomore receiver had just hauled in a go-ahead touchdown with 69 seconds to play, and the celebration that ensued in the end zone was hardly a surprise. But the referees decided a gesture Green made toward the raucous crowd crossed the line of decorum, throwing a flag for excessive celebration.

The 15-yard flag backed up Georgia’s ensuing kickoff, and LSU made the Bulldogs pay – returning the kick 40 yards and scoring two plays later to seal a 20-13 win.

“Obviously there’s a fine line between celebration and excessive celebration, and I guess we crossed it,” quarterback Joe Cox said.

It was one of three flags for excessive celebration thrown in the game, two of which went against Georgia.

The third came following LSU’s final touchdown, a small measure of redemption for the dazed Bulldogs.

Green said he had no idea why the flag was thrown, but said he thought it was fair given the penalty on LSU.

Cox, on the other hand, wasn’t quite so understanding.

“I don’t think it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “Football is an emotional game, and a game that’s supposed to be played with passion. I understand there’s a lot of things that should be penalized – taunting and things that are unsportsmanlike. But when you’re celebrating with your teammates after a big play, I don’t see why you’d penalize a team for getting excited about having a successful play.”

With Georgia leading by just a point, the short kickoff and long return put LSU in range for a long field goal before the cheers from the Georgia crowd had even died down following Green’s catch.

As it turned out, it didn’t matter much. Charles Scott, who tallied 95 yards on the ground for LSU, rumbled 33 yards for a score two plays later. Despite the adverse situation, it was Scott’s run, not the flag, that proved to be the difference, cornerback Brandon Boykin said.

“As a defense, it’s our job to defend the field and we went out there with the mind-set that we were going to stop them,” he said.

Georgia was flagged for seven penalties in the game – all in the second half.


Georgia converted 7-of-17 third-down opportunities in the game, but it was never easy. Problems in the running game left the Bulldogs’ offense sputtering, and nearly every possession seemed to end with a third-and-long.

Georgia mustered just one first down in the first half and trailed at the break 6-0. The Bulldogs didn’t dent the scoreboard until the fourth quarter for the first time since 2006.
The problems began on first and second down, however, as the Bulldogs needed six yards or more on third down on 14 of their 17 chances.

“That’s just not being good on first and second down,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “They kept us in third-and-long, and that’s hard to get. You’re not going to get many first downs when you’re in third-and-long the whole game.”


Georgia entered Saturday’s game with just five sacks on the season – among the worst totals in the SEC. But the Bulldogs’ defense ran roughshod over the LSU offensive line, and when the dust settled, they had racked up six sacks of Tigers’ quarterback Jordan Jefferson.

Defensive end Justin Houston, the reigning SEC lineman of the week, recorded two sacks, while six other players chipped in with at least half-a-sack.

Still, on LSU’s final two possessions, Georgia came up just short, missing tackles on Jefferson as he picked up big chunks of yardage to keep drives alive and eventually secure the victory.

“I thought we got pressure on them,” defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. “That’s why we decided to go with our four-man front a lot of the time. We were playing solid until the second-to-last drive. We had opportunities to get off the field on third down and we didn’t.”


Linebacker Rennie Curran seemed to be involved in every Georgia defensive play.
When the dust settled, the junior was credited a career-high 16 tackles.

But the one that got away was heavy in Curran’s mind.

Curran said he had the chance to tackle LSU tailback Charles Scott, but couldn’t bring him down on the game clinching 33-yard touchdown run.

“I had him by the legs, just didn’t do a good job of wrapping him and taking him to the ground,” Curran said. “Its all a game of inches you know. If I was a step over or if the safety could have gotten off a block, it’s all about that, the ifs. We’ve got to make those ifs into reality. We’ve got to make that happen.”

Scott officially broke two tackles on the run, but was touched by numerous Georgia defenders.

“Just came down to us not wrapping up, there’s no other way to put it,” Curran said. “He made a great run, not taking anything away from him, but at the same time we had guys that we just have to wrap up, put him on the ground and wrap up.”

Curran’s 16 tackles are the most compiled by an individual in an SEC game this season. He leads the conference with 56 takedowns.


Sophomore kicker Blair Walsh missed his first field goal of the year in the third quarter versus LSU.

Previously 8-of-8 on the season, Walsh pushed the 32-yard chip shot.

“Yeah I just didn’t want to hit it the way I wanted to hit it,” Walsh said. I sort of tried to aim it through the uprights instead of hitting it the right way.”

Walsh missed a similar kick, again to the right, in pregame warm-ups. But the kicker insisted no correlation between the two misses or fundamental problems. He just missed the kick.

“But that’s all it really is,” he said. “I mean it had to come some time. I guess it’s good to get it out of the way now and I’ll get back on track next week.”

Walsh also didn’t have a successful day kicking off, as LSU averaged 44 yards a return.
On his final kickoff, Walsh was forced to kick from the 15-yard-line after an excessive celebration penalty. LSU return man Trindon Holliday returned a short kick to the Georgia 43.

“It’s not fun kicking off from your own 15-yard-line,” Walsh said. “Obviously it affected us. That’s all I can say right now. It’s disappointing.”


Georgia punter Drew Butler continued his impressive kicking, averaging 49 yards on seven punts against LSU.

Butler entered the contest leading the nation in average, a title he’ll retain after his performance Saturday.

“He’s been, I hate to say spectacular, but he really has to this point,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt. “I don’t want him to get too pumped up but he’s done a beautiful job.”

Butler, a sophomore, had a long of 53, placing one of his kicks inside the 20. Georgia’s offense struggled for the majority of the contest, relying on Butler to help create field position.

“Even when he has a missed hit, they tend to roll in the right direction,” Richt said.


-- Fullback Justin Fields got the first start of his career.

-- Senior Kade Weston started over Geno Atkins at defensive tackle for the second straight week.

-- Brandon Boykin hauled in an interception in the first quarter, the second of the season for him and the third of the year for Georgia.

-- Green finished one-yard shy of cracking the 100-yard receiving mark for a third straight game.

-- Georgia’s 18-play drive that was capped with a Shaun Chapas touchdown reception was its longest in terms of plays since 1988.

*Fletcher Page contributed to these notes.


Unknown said...

I love the defense for owning up to mistakes, but they played one heck of a game tonight. The truth is, when Chris Fowler, Lou Holtz, and even Mark May (who I think we can all agree hates UGA) all agree that not only was that a terrible call on the excessive celebration, but that the rule needs to be changed because of that call, there was obviously a problem with the officiating.

As a team, UGA has several issues to deal with, but tonight our defense was not one of them.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain to me why the 2 pt conversion after UGA's go ahead TD w/ 1:09 to play was taken from the 18 AND we kicked from the 15 yd line? Did we get 2 penalties?
When the ref was explaining the excessive celebration penalty, he said it would be assessed on the kickoff. Then, I swear, I look and UGA is taking the 2 pt conversion from the 18!! What's up?? Anyone, Bueller, Bueller???

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure the conversion was from the 3 like normal.

Anonymous said...

The playing calling (1) and the
(2) execution were the reasons we lost this game. We are a second rate team when it comes to offense in the SEC. Thus we should expect to lose against the better teams in the SEC.

Schlagdawg said...

Defense definitely stepped up tonight. Yes, they did give up the final two TD's, but given the field position in the first half, it's a miracle we were only down 6-0 at halftime.
Loss has to be blamed on offense. Running game was non-existent in the first half. 1 first down in the first half? Unacceptable, especially compared to LSU's 12. Cox looked very shaky in the first half, almost scared.
Green tried to win the game for us, but he can't do it all...

Cool Cal said...

You guys are in la-la land. The defense did play great - for 3 quarters and 10 minutes - and then they gave the game away. The offense minus AJ was terrible, yet with one minute left to play, we were ahead. Cue Willie's defense. the article, Willie mentions only rushing 4 because of good pressure. When the hell do we ever do anything else? Game on the line AJ makes the play...the defense utterly collapses.

Anonymous said...

I think we had one first down at half and they had 12 first downs but only 6 points. If you do not score points, you do not win games. Once again our offense was out coached.

Blue Gill said...

Damn. I wondered who would be the first loon to come out of the woodwork and spit on the defense.

It was a heartbreaking loss to the #4 team in the country but I feel better than I have felt after some wins.

Ealey looked good. The defense was outstanding. We have a lot to look forward to.

Quit you damn bitching and start getting ready for Tennessee.

Mark Bradley is a hack said...

SEC refs are the worst officials at any sport, at any level.

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with the rule, it was applied idiotically. AJ did not taunt, did not remove his headgear, did not draw undue attention to himself, he went stright to his teammates which is allowed. The SEC has the worst officials in all of CFB, and has for over 10 years (probably whenever Gaston and his cronies took over.)

David, find another sport son, you know NOTHING about football. You have an agenda and apply it whether it fits or not. Be a man and admit your smallness, or switch to bowling, it's much less complicated.

Muckbeast said...

> Game on the line AJ
> makes the play...the
> defense utterly
> collapses.

That sums it up.

Both our DC and OC need to go. They are bush league, stubborn, inflexible, and just a hot mess.

It is such a shame, because we have great players with a lot of skill, heart, and dedication. Their enormous efforts are wasted on these coaches.

Muckbeast said...

Defense is about more than just sacks and points. It is also about getting off the field so your offense can have the ball in good field position and you aren't tired when it matters most.

This is elementary for people who know football, as David appears to..... "anonymous."

Anonymous said...

Had I not seen Bobo in the booth I would not believe he showed up..when he seems dazed or merely using his five play game plan, why doesn't the man, CMR, who bears the ultimate responsibility simply override him? Afraid to hurt his feeling? And Searles gets no more free passes either..the O line was terrible..thought they'd be outstanding once the season go underway..not so!! I can now accept it..we're not a first rate team...just a group of somewhat talented ballplaers..I won't start on Joe Cox alone..I was with him thr the first four games but can't excuse his hesitancy and seemingly indecision..where is the cool, talented fifth year senior..AND where was Logan Gray??

Anonymous said...

Both bobo and cwm are too inconsistent! take notes from alabama and florida on how to coach and win games

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is rebuilding year in many ways. Our offense is incredibly bad so we might as well play the freshman as the starters are not performing well. But why does it take a group of folks to state the obvious when coaches making several million a year can not.

finlo23 said...

I dont care what they say!The refs took the game from us..Theyve been jiving us the whole year!Week 1 Horrible personal flag on jones for a great hit!Week 2 No Flag call on South Carolina for taking AJs head off!Week 4 They ripp off Aj off on his 2nd td grab of the day...those zebras reviewed it and still didnt make the right call.After todays game its obvious that the zebras still have that 2007 Cocktail dance on their mind.CMR needs to toughn up and let it be known that its unfair!At least it would make dawg nation feel better.It seems like its politics cause of the lsu/fla game next week!They must really want the ratings.Im not happy with WM or bobo.If CMR dosnt wanna fire them at least demote them or something.Whats the reason why we hired CMR for? Cause of his playcalling skills.I didnt like bobo as a player for us and i really dont like him as a playcaller either.King and Samuel are not what we are looking for as rbs..Ealy comes in and all of a sudden we have a running game.That was the only positive thing today.

burke said...

Are you guys SERIOUSLY blaming this loss on the defense? Our offense had 49 total yards and one 1st down at halftime.

you want to hone in on the celebration penalty and conveniently overlook the impotent 1st half Offensive play. Ok...

So I'll pretend Joe Cox wasn't inept in the first half. Let's go to the celebration penalty then: why did the special teams allow Holliday to run the ball all the way down to our side of the field? Martinez caused that?

Why did special teams allow LSU to begin the critical drive already in FG range? Martinez again? Don't even try the excuse that Holliday ran it a mile "because we got a celebration penalty that forced a deep kick-off" cause guess what? LSU got the same penalty and their special team guys DID NOT allow UGA to go flying down the field.

Then after LSU scored in that "defense collapse" the dawgs still had a chance. What happened there guys? Here, let me help you: JOE COX THREW AN INTERCEPTION.

I think Martinez is incompetent but give the devil his due: he did coach a good game this game.

The UGA football team needs to make some very serious coaching changes after EOS. Will they? I could bet good money they won't, and I'd win a million.

Personally, I'd like to see Bobo, Martinez, Fabris, and Jancek fired after the season is over. Instead, I expect Richt to give them all payraises again like he did early part of this year.

Anonymous said...

I think the SEC clearly needs to refine what it considers excessive celebration because there is NO consistency.. granted it is judgment call anyway. but, for example, specifically for Green, after his first touchdown against Arizona State, he popped up from the ground and looked up at the crowd in a way that certainly could be argued calling attention to himself, but there was no call. So, now he thinks what he did there is OK and his look up into the stands while being mobbed by his teammates in the LSU gam just seems wrong from drawing the penalty and is clearly inconsistent with how this stupid penalty should be called in the first place. I think the backjudge in every game should meet with each team before the game and explain what his interpretation is of the rule, because frankly, his is the ONLY one that matters. What the SEC says before or after means nothing.

Alas, our ineptitude in the first half on offense sealed our fate here. Pretty hard to believe that we could muster only one first down. And while the defense played lights out through the whole game, frankly, they blew it when it mattered most (must give LSU some credit). And once again, special teams screws up and it is worth noting on Holliday's return at the end he went to the side of the kicker where we only had 3 guys covering.... and just to make that screwup more insulting, that is actually a PENALTY.. no judgment had to be applied on that one. Please change up the special teams coaching

And by the way, Go Dawgs and lay one on Tennessee next weekend.

Unknown said...

Maybe a few down years for UGA would do some good, shake off these fair weather ticks and others would appreciate what we have. Our coaches had nothing to do with this loss.

Cox was off the entire first half, plain & simple. Same goes for Samuel and King, they had no life in their runs. Play-calling was not the problem. Credit goes to whoever decided it was time to give Ealey a shot.

The defense was outstanding. They were on the field all day again. 6 sacks...please STFU with the fire Willie talk....

I'd pay $20 just to hear a ref rationalize the flags on AJ, Charles, or even Scott (though Scott’s pointing at the crowd was the most flagrant display by far).

I second Blue Gill's thought; let's focus some hate on UT!

Anonymous said...

Simpl_matter, we had 4 walk ons and our 2nd string QB on the final kickoff team. Now, please say again our coaches had nothing to do with the loss???

Anonymous said...

why was Rennie off the field for much of LSU's first possession of the second half?