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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Live Blog: UGA vs. Tennessee

-- Blair Walsh connects on a 41-yard field goal to put Georgia up 23-14. At this point, that's really nothing to be too excited about. Georgia has missed a ton of opportunities today.

-- No Zack Renner sightings today. That makes me sad. I'm rooting for punts by Tennessee now just for that.

-- The Tennessee running game has gone nowhere today. 15 carries, 1 yard on the ground for the Vols today. It's Renner time!

-- Impressive 3-point win for Georgia Tech today.
Triple option, baby!

-- Some quick offensive numbers to this point: Georgia has run 62 plays, Tennessee has run 34. UGA has 383 yards, UT has 157. Georgia has held the ball for 30 minutes, the Vols for 16. Georgia has 93 yards rushing, Tennessee has 1. How is this a nine-point game?

-- Knowshon finally breaks off another good run, this one for 11 yards. It has really been all or nothing for Moreno today.

-- Stafford has thrown 36 times so far. I just don't think Georgia is going to beat good teams with Stafford chucking the ball 35+ times. On the other hand, Green, Massaquoi and Goodman have had nice games.

-- Moreno picks up 6 between the tackles, but boy did he work for those yards. He carried again for a first down on the next play, taking a big hit from Eric Berry that appeared to knock the wind out of him. That does put Knowshon over 100 for the game though.

-- Interesting to note that the tight ends do not have a catch in this game for Georgia. In fact, best of my recollection, they haven't even been targeted by Stafford in the game.

-- Stafford converts a third-and-1 on a keeper. Georgia is 9-of-15 on third-down conversions today.

-- Chapas carries to the 5. He really needs the TD here. He's had too good of a game.

-- Nothin' doing. Blair Walsh gets another field goal. I'm headed to the sideline. More after the game.

-- Richard Samuel back deep again --- and has a nice return. Samuel said Ramarcus Brown was dinged up against Alabama, which is why he got his first return chance of the year. Wonder if that is still the case... haven't heard any mention of an injury, but who knows.

-- Stafford to A.J. Green on a third-and-10 that came up just short. Looked like Green had the ball, but the referees have had any number of inexplicable calls so far, so who am I to argue.

-- After a dreadful game against Alabama, Brian Mimbs' first punt of the game was a beauty -- 52 yards with plenty of hangtime.

-- Outside of Moreno's three good runs, he's averaging less than 2 yards per carry so far. That's concerning, though Tenn's run defense has been very good this year.

-- Rennie Curran quickly stopped a screen pass on third down for Tennessee. The Vols are 1-for-6 so far on third down.

-- It never ceases to amaze me the utter satisfaction fans have when correctly identifying which order of fries Uga VII is hiding behind on the jumbotron.

-- Figure on a 12:30 kickoff next week. Vandy lost to Mississippi State 17-14. Remind me to send Sly Croom a thank-you card for preserving my deadline.

-- Stafford to Massaquoi for 32 yards to the 7. Mass's stats so far: 5 for 103 and a TD.

-- Aron White and Bruce Figgins have split time today, but the Bulldogs have used Figgins exclusively in the red zone. Jay Adams said he thought White had a body type similar to Kellen Winslow. I added that there was
one major difference.

-- Robert Ayers just laid out Stafford on a QB draw that failed to gain, bringing up third-and-goal. There's a reason Tennessee only had allowed one rushing TD this year.

-- Stafford followed that up by throwing his second red-zone INT of the game, which Eric Berry returned 54 yards. Stafford had the tackle, too.

-- CJ Byrd tipped a Stephens' pass that Gerald Jones managed to corral. First-and-10 Tenn at the UGA30. Another tipped pass on first fell incomplete and Georgia's run D once again does a great job of persuing sideline to sideline. Tenn's running game so far: 13 carries for 7 yards.

-- Stephens completes a third-down conversion to Taylor for a gain of 15. First-and-10 for the Vols at the UGA 15. Tennessee has no business being in this game, but Georgia has made some costly mistakes that have kept the Vols alive. Stephens had plenty of time on third down once again and found Taylor wide open in the back of the end zone. SCORE: 20-14 Georgia.

-- Trips to red zone: Tennessee: 2 (both TDs). Georgia: 6 (with as many INTs as TDs).

-- A personal foul starts Georgia at its own 11. Stafford narrowly avoided a sack (and a possible safety) on first down, while Moreno was able to find some yards on second down around left end. Again, there has been nothing between the tackles for the running game. Demiko Goodman continued his strong game with an 11-yard reception for a first down that was followed by a personal foul against the Vols. Tenn's penalty count is a Georgia-like 8 for 87 yards.

-- Of course, the Bulldogs followed that up with flags on consecutive plays (false start, illegal receiver) which gives them 8 penalties for the game, too. I'm assuming some gassers will be run Monday.

-- Stafford hit Shaun Chapas for a 24 yard gain and a first down. Again, Chapas had one man to beat and got tripped up. Poor guy needs a TD at some point this season. Stafford his Kenneth Harris for a first down three plays later, Georgia's seventh conversion of the game. The Dawgs are moving the ball on this drive, but the play calling has been brutal -- they've been in third-and-long repeatedly. The quick pass into the flat just ain't working, Mr. Bobo.

-- Knowshon picked up some good yardage on a third-and-16, but it brings up a fourth-and-4 and Blair Walsh's third FG attempt. Georgia will look to go up 9 to start the fourth, but they should be up at least 30 at this point.

-- I was living in Lexington last year when Gardner-Webb upset the Kentucky basketball team. I'm living in Georgia now, and Tech is only up 3 on The Webb in the third quarter. I think I should be on G-W's payroll.

-- Miss St is up 3 on Vandy. I'm not sure how Georgia fans are supposed to feel about that. Is it better to have a bigger game next week or to have the SEC East leader lose a game?

-- The final drive of the half was Georgia's third of 90+ yards this season.

-- Tennessee's penalties -- 6-57-- have killed any shot the Vols have of winning this game and could very well be the final nail in Phil Fulmer's extra-large coffin. Georgia's been very good, but Tennessee has provided plenty of help.

-- The Vince Vance injury is a bad one for the Dawgs, but it could be worse. Georgia may actually be better with Boling at LT (I've thought this all year), but Cordy Glenn has not shown he can handle a full workload at guard yet. More importantly, with Trinton Sturdivant out and Kiante Tripp moved to TE, the depth on the O line is very thin now. Essentially, Tanner Strickland is the only available guy off the bench at this point.

-- For Georgia: 25 passes, 19 runs. Tennessee has basically had one big play on offense. Outside of Stephens' 60-yard completion to Moore, the Vols have just 49 yards of offense so far. The Dawgs have nearly a 7 minute edge in time of possession.

-- First half, Georgia threw six of 10 times on first down. Second half, Georgia ran six of nine times.

-- Georgia isn't exactly establishing the run. Moreno has 35 yards on three of his carries, 22 on his other 11.

-- My favorite part of every home game is when they announce teaching award winners between the first and second quarter. They discuss a long and impressive -- yet, for me, completely incoherent -- resume, hand the professors their awards, then pan to drunk shirtless fans in the crowd. Good times. This week, they gave some student comments about the teachers, like "students have called his class the best experience of their academic career." I thought they should have at least included one quote from someone who said, "I always slept through his class, but people told me it was good."

-- I haven't heard "Rocky Top" in a while. Wait... why am I jinxing myself?

-- Beautiful catch by Massaquoi for 28 yards on a third-and-9. Mass had to stretch for it and hold on as he hit the ground. That's exactly the type of play that would have been dropped two weeks ago. Georgia just has all the momentum going for them right now.

-- Pass on third-and-goal went to Mass, with a flag on the play for holding to give UGA another shot from the 3. Southerland in at fullback with Figgins in at TE. Looks like Richt doesn't exactly trust Aron White's blocking in goal line situations just yet. The play was another fade to the end zone and again, it fell incomplete. Blair Walsh booted a 20-yard FG. SCORE: Georgia 13, Tennessee 0.

-- A special prize for the first person who can explain to me why the holding call in the end zone on Tenn wasn't a first down automatically for Georgia.

-- Haven't seen Richard Samuel, Caleb King, Tavarres King or Kiante Tripp in the game yet.

-- On 10 first downs for UGA in the first quarter, Georgia threw on six of them. Two others were toss sweeps.

-- Kicking into the wind, Walsh gives the ball back to UT at its own 38.

-- A screen picks up a first down for Tenn. Georgia seems to have problems adjusting on the fly -- they are especially vulnerable to the screen and the quick outs, recognizing the play and getting off blocks.

-- Prince Miller with a great tackle to stop Tennessee on third down. The Vols are 0-for-4 on third down so far.

-- Moreno had 22 yards on his first two carries. He has 15 on his next eight rushes.

-- That's what I get for speaking out of turn -- 13-yard run for Knowshon around the right end. Still, it's discouraging how little there has been running lanes up the middle. This has been an ongoing problem.

-- Caleb King makes his first appearance taking a toss sweep for 2 yards.

-- Vince Vance was shaken up on the play. This could be ugly. With Kiante Tripp moved to tight end, there's isn't a clear back-up plan at left tackle. Josh Davis is the primary backup, although Clint Boling could move over there with Cordy Glenn coming in at right guard. Vance is being helped off the field. This does not look good at all.

-- Boling in at LT, Glenn in at RG. Figgins back in the game at TE.

-- Stafford hit a wide open Demiko Goodman to the UT14 on third-and-five. Tavarres King is dressed, but he's the only receiver who hasn't been on the field today.

-- Stafford tried to hit Goodman in traffic near the line of scrimmage on another quick out, but it was picked off by Robert Ayers. Georgia has dominated this game, but plays like that can come back to bite you.

-- Trainers are working on Vance's right knee. He's on crutches now, heading back to the locker room with an air cast around his knee. He's struggling to hobble off the sideline even with the crutches. Not good.

-- Stephens hit Denarius Moore for 60 yards to set UT up with a first-and-goal at the 4. If UT scores, this is effectively a 14-point swing thanks to Stafford's pick (though, to his credit, it was just his second in 163 attempts).

-- Good penetration from the Dawgs on first and second down, but Stephens hit Gerald Jones at the goal line for a TD on third down -- the Vols' first third-down conversion of the game. SCORE: Georgia 13, Tenn 7. (This is a blueprint for how you lose a game you have no business losing.)

-- Richard Samuel is the deep man on Tennessee's first kickoff. He utterly misplayed the ball, had it bounce through his legs then had to backtrack to recover it at the 3. I'm assuming we'll see Ramarcus Brown again on the next kickoff.

-- Knowshon is finding nothing up the middle. Two runs, two yards.

-- Stafford converts a third-and-8 to keep a drive alive and -- more importantly -- keep the Tenn offense off the field before halftime. BTW, Cordy is at LG, Chris Davis at RG.

-- Stafford hit Massaquoi on second down along the sideline, but Mo was leveled and lost the ball. UT was flagged for helmet-to-helmet contact, however, giving Georgia the ball near midfield.

-- INJURY UPDATE: Vance officially out for game. I'm guessing, out for the season.

-- If you ever needed to know what kind of a player Mo Massaquoi is, here's all you need as evidence: He had to be held back by coaches from running back on to the field on the next play following the hit.

-- Richard Samuel had no yardage along the sideline, but forced the ball back inside, forcing Georgia to take a time out. That's just a freshman mistake -- but possibly a costly one. Is it too late for me to take back my "Richard Samuel find the end zone" prediction?

-- Huge play by Goodman catching a pass over the middle, getting out of bounds at the 31, then drawing a late-hit flag that moves Georgia to the 16. Penalty count so far: Georgia 4-20. Tenn 6-57.

-- Stafford had Goodman for an easy six, but Goodman turned for the ball a split second too late. A.J. Green followed by grabbing a reception inside the 10. Tennessee has really helped UGA on this drive, but it has been an impressive running of the two-minute drill nevertheless.

-- Stafford to Massaquoi, TD Georgia. That was a huge drive following the Tennessee TD. Georgia has dominated this game, but looking back, regardless of what the final score is, I think this drive will have been the key to a Dawgs' win. SCORE: Georgia 20, Tennessee 7. (Drive: 9-97-2:08 -- wow.)

-- Not sure if this means anything, but all three of Blair Walsh's touchbacks this season have come on the opening kickoff.

-- First play, no pressure, wide open receiver, 25-yard gain for UT. This seems familiar.

-- The pressure came from up the middle on third-and-long, and Corvey Irvin came up with the sack. That's encouraging, but would be more so if the ends were getting in the backfield.

-- Prince Miller was Georgia's deep man on the punt, but called for the fair catch. The problem on punt returns has been that three of UGA's best options -- Reshad Jones, Prince Miller and Asher Allen -- are all defensive starters, which doesn't give them much turnaround time going from defense to punt formation. Outside of Knowshon, however, there doesn't seem to be anyone on offense who can handle the job.

-- Georgia opens with a quick out to A.J. Green. Throwing on first down -- particularly to open games -- has been a calling card for the Dawgs this year. Knowshon followed that up by going around the left side for 12 yards. Another calling card for the Dawgs: the big runs don't come between the tackles.

-- Brannan Southerland gets his first work on offense, and he drops a Matthew Stafford pass. He did get a little chippy with the Tenn defender after the play though, which is always good to see. Moreno follows that up by following Southerland around the right end for 10 yards. Establishing the run early is a great sign for Georgia -- but why always throwing on first down?

-- Georgia went four-wide on third-and-five, and Stafford hit Kenneth Harris, who fell down just inches short of the marker. Surprisingly, the crowd didn't want to punt. This is where they Dawgs had really missed Southerland, but it was Stafford who converted by going straight up the middle. After Moreno's two runs going around the ends, UGA's interior line got a good push on the fourth-down play.

-- Moreno runs for three on first down -- the first time Georgia ran the ball on first.

-- Poor Shaun Chapas. The guy wants a TD so bad, and he's had so many chances. He got tripped up at the 3 against CMU, fell down against Arizona State then came up short on two runs inside the 1, then was tackled at the 1 after a long screen pass. Southerland finished off the drive to give Georgia the early lead. SCORE: Georgia 7, Tenn 0. 12 plays, 79 yards, 5:36.

-- Congrats to Blair Walsh -- a second touchback. As the wise and occasionally attentive Jay Adams mentioned, however, the wind is with him.

-- Demarcus Dobbs had Stephens dead to rights but whiffed on him in the backfield. Akeem Dent nearly picked the ball off, but bobbled it. No harm done, however, as Dobbs batted away Stephens third-down pass. The ends aren't getting great penetration, but it's been enough to disrupt the Tennessee passing game (save the first play of the game).

-- Logan Gray took the second punt of the game for a minimal return. Over/under on different punt returners today is 4.

-- Congratulations to Al Groh, who surprisingly may be able to keep his job longer than Phil Fulmer keeps his. And good for Toledo, too, by the way -- but all these crap teams winning at the Big House sort of takes the luster off of Appy St's win last year.

-- Georgia opened up drive No. 2 the exact same way they opened their first drive -- a quick pass out to A.J. Green. This one met with a bit more success. Stafford throws again on first down and hits Mo Mass over the midde for a gain of 20. I can't say I love the play calling, but Georgia is shredding the UT defense thus far.

-- Well, I'm sad to say Mark Richt lied to me. He said he didn't expect to see the fullbacks line up at tight end -- but that's exactly what Brannan Southerland is doing. I like the idea though. Southerland is a great blocker and has the hands to be a threat in the passing game. Not coincidentally, Georgia has run to his side twice in a row now.

-- A.J. Green just dropped a wide open touchdown reception. Between that and the fumble against Alabama, we've seen at least some proof that the kid really is a freshman.

-- Green and DeAngelo Willingham got tangled up on a third-down pass, which bring Blair Walsh in for a 34-yard field goal. Walsh has been money inside 50 this year. SCORE: 10-o, Georgia. (Drive: 8-49-3:00)

-- No touchback this time for Blair Walsh, but a good kickoff none the less. The Albany Herald's Paul Dehner believes coaches may have put flubber in Walsh's shoe before the game.

-- Georgia's interior line has been exceptional thus far. Geno Atkins stopped a run on first down, but the majority of Georgia's pressure has also come up the middle.

-- Georgia brought the blitz and it worked to perfection. Prince Miller came in off the edge untouched to bring down Nick Stephens. Tennessee can't get anything going on offensively. Miller then followed his third-down heroics by returning a poor punt to the UT36. Prince Miller has the early nod for player of the game honors.

-- The scoreboard has been showing fans with great mustaches. Sadly, Tom Selleck is not in attendance.

-- Stafford tossed his third out of the game to A.J. Green -- this one went nowhere. Is it just me, or does Bobo have a tendency to go to the well a bit too often on some plays?

-- END OF FIRST QUARTER, Georgia 10, Tenn. 0.

Greetings from Sanford Stadium, folks. Been too long since we've had a game to talk about. The bye week was definitely a nice break for myself and, I'm sure, the team. But it's good be back at the stadium.

The UT band is already annoying the heck out of me with repeated playings of "Rocky Top," though the UGA sound system managed to drown them out with Poison's "Nothin' but a Good Time." God bless, Brett Michaels. Still, it's an hour before kickoff and I've heard "Rocky Top" twice. My over/under is 604 total playings.

I must say, coming into the stadium today, there didn't seem to be the same energy (re: drunkenness?) among fans for today's game. Maybe it's Tennessee's record, maybe it's the weather or the earlier kickoff. Regardless of the reason, fans need to realize they may not ever have another chance to boo Phil Fulmer, so they really need to take advantage.

A few predictions for the game:

-- Rennie Curran makes at least 12 tackles and has a sack.
-- Knowshon's line: 22 carries, 113 yards, 2 TDs.
-- Richard Samuel finds the end zone today.
-- Georgia has a big special teams play.
-- Number of hot dogs I eat at halftime: 3
-- The secondary has two picks for UGA.
-- Arian Foster has a crucial first-half fumble.
-- Number of jokes I make about Phil Fulmer: 104
-- Matthew Stafford's line: 12-of-21 for 170 yards and 1 TD.
-- Total penalties for Georgia: 7 for 55 yards... which still earns the team a few gassers.
-- Total times I complain about "Rocky Top": 53

Side note: I know Mark Richt was in a movie and all, but he's so clearly reading off a cue card in his pregame scoreboard address to the fans. He should really work on that during the offseason.

Starting lineup notes: Jeremy Lomax and Jarius Wynn are getting the starts at DE today --- replacing Justin Houston and Demarcus Dobbs who started against Alabama. It'll be interesting to see how much Rod Battle plays today -- if at all. No changes on the O line. Aron White gets the start at tight end, although Bruce Figgins is dressed on the side line. Shaun Chapas gets the start at fullback despite Brannan Southerland being active for this game.

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