UPDATE Pregame, 6:20 p.m.
-- It is absolutely pouring, and has been for a while. The sidelines are looking particularly sloppy but the field doesn't seem to have any large puddles. The student section is crowded, but the rest of the stadium is empty right now. Word is if the players are out on the field by 6:25 for warmups, we should be starting on time.
UPDATE Pregame, 6:30 p.m.
-- We're supposed to be a half-hour from kickoff right now, but it looks like we'll be delayed by a bit. If the rain delay lasts any significant amount of time, the live blog will switch over to our regularly scheduled programming, which I believe will be "Sanford and Son" reruns.
-- Discussion: does this weather help ASU or Georgia more? You have to think Arizona hasn't seen this much rain combined in the past five years, but at the same time, a low-scoring game has to help ASU's chances.
-- Question: What are the odds ESPN paid for Florida's extra flight to Lexington in order to facilitate the "Tim Tebow overcomes the flu and leads the Gators to a big win over Kentucky" story? Of course, I don't understand if he is really sick, why doesn't he just heal himself?
-- Just in case you're wondering, if there's lightning, the game must be delayed a minimum of a half-hour from the last sighting.
UPDATE Pregame, 6:35 p.m.
-- Players have just come out onto the field for warmups. I'm guessing we'll start a little late, but we'll be starting for sure at this point.
-- One other note, despite Richt saying he might be available in an emergency, Vance Cuff is not dressed. Akeem Dent is also inactive.
UPDATE Pregame, 6:45 p.m.
-- This marks the earliest point in any game Stacy Searels has soaked through his sweatshirt.
-- You can see the water spraying up from the field as the players run some short sprints, but they seem to be able to stop and start without much problem so far.
-- Darius Dewberry is listed as the starting Sam LB for the game, with Darryl Gamble at Mike.
-- I have seen a few balls zip through players hands already during warmups.
-- The long snaps have been handled well during warmups, and Blair has connected on every kick from about 45 yards out.
-- Didn't see what happened, but trainers are looking at Demarcus Dobbs' left wrist right now. Doesn't appear too serious, but they have been working on him for a while.
UPDATE, FIRST QUARTER 9:31 remaining:
-- This is probably the most empty I've seen Sanford as the teams take the field, but we're actually starting (almost) on time, so I'm thrilled. Once again, deadline issues for Dave, so we'll keep up with the live blog for as long as we can, then call it a night and have notes posted afterward.
-- My picks this week were awful yet again, but kudos to me for not buying Cal or Miami. I can tell an overrated team when I see one.
-- That Sun Devil mascot costume is probably going to be awfully moldy by the time they get back to Tempe.
-- Georgia set to receive, Boykin deep... and here we go...
-- I owe Marc Weiszer a dollar now... I really thought Caleb would get the start. Instead Samuel takes the opening handoff for 2 yards.
-- Brandon McGee absolutely leveled Joe Cox on a third-and-5, and his pass for Branden Smith was nowhere close. Three-and-out for the Dawgs.
-- ASU QB Danny Sullivan is built like a righthanded Jared Lorenzen. His first pass should have been a completion, but the reciever lost his footing and his handle on the ball.
-- Nance picks up 9 yards on ASU's first run of the game. That was a wide open lane up the middle.
-- And a flag on Jeff Owens for offsides gives ASU a first down. Over-under on flags for UGA today? I say 11.
-- Nance finds another big hole, picking up a first down near midfield. So far, ASU has been able to run but not throw. Bizzaro Georgia D.
-- Georgia going with a three-man rush with only Tyson in at DT on third-and-11 and Sullivan simply gets rid of the ball. Fun side note, this is the first time ASU has ever played in an SEC stadium.
-- Tackle on that punt was by Keelan Johnson. Been a few years since a Keelan Johnson has made a tackle at Sanford Stadium.
UPDATE: First quarter, 3:23 remaining:
-- Samuel in for the second straight drive, and he still hasn't gotten much. Brings up a third-and-10 for the Dawgs.
-- Big catch by Shaun Chapas for a first down. Pretty sure in my "Grading the Game" post this week, I predicted a big day for Chapas.
-- Cox's pass for Moore was nowhere close on third-and-8, but a flag flies in from the other side of the field for a defensive hold to give UGA a first down.
-- Samuel: 5 carries for 5 yards so far, with a long of 2.
-- Cox hits Green deep down the near sideline. Green does a nice stop-and-go at the 11 to juke the one defender in his way, then waltzes into the end zone for the Bulldogs' first score. What are the odds he ends up with 150 yards in the first half again this year? That one went for 56. Georgia 7, Arizona State 0 (6-79-2:46)
-- The UGA softball team was honored at the 20-yard-line. They were mostly decked out in some lovely dresses that were probably not looking quite so lovely by the time they walked off the field. I also enjoyed the number of women rocking the black high heels and yellow ponchos look. Aren't those Tech colors, ladies?
-- Sullivan hits Kyle Williams for a 30-yard gain past Reshad Jones. Hmm... where have we seen this before. Something tells me someone didn't execute. Bottom line.
-- Brandon Wood won't be redshirting this year. He's in the game right now. That's his first action this season. How unexpected was this? He's not even listed on Georgia's roster for the game.
-- Baccari Rambo falls down on third-and-10, but the pass is still out of reach for the ASU receiver in the end zone. Bobby Wenzig, the true freshman walk-on kicker, comes on and connects on a 43-yard field goal. Georgia 7, Arizona State 3 (8-40-3:13).
UPDATE, END OF FIRST QUARTER
-- Something tells me the Dawgs are better off with the kickoff in Boykin's hands than Chapas. Someone might want to remind Shaun of that.
-- Cox hits White for a 16-yard gain to midfield, then goes to Green who picks up about 14 after the catch for another 15-yard reception. Green is now 79 yards short of matching last year's first-half total.
-- Caleb King in the game now. Cox looks his way as he rolls out of the pocket to avoid pressure, but the pass goes out of bounds.
-- Nice block by OchoDos helps Tavarres King pick up seven on second down. I'm going on record as saying Mike Moore is the most underrated player on this team. And to have time to go out and make liberal documentaries on top of it? Well, I just don't know how he does it.
-- Arizona State's defense of Orson Charles? Just push him down. Pass interference flag sets UGA up with a first down at the 12.
-- Caleb King sheds three tackles around right end and down to the 2. He lowered his shoulder at the end of that run, and you could tell how much he wanted the end zone. First and goal at the 2.
-- Fred Munzenmaier -- three career carries, three career touchdowns. The dream lives! And if I'm not mistaken, his TD last year also came against ASU. Georgia 14, Arizona State 3 (6-66-2:25).
-- Georgia finally gets to Nance in the backfield. Geno Atkins brings him down for a two-yard loss at the 26, which will do it for the first quarter.
UPDATE, Second quarter 8:10 remaining:
-- The difference so far: Georgia 5-of-8 passing for 108 yards. ASU 2-of-7 for 33 yards.
-- Boykin leaps into about the sixth row to tip Sullivan's pass out of bounds on third-and-4. Man that kid is impressive. Georgia gets the ball back at the 20.
-- That Branden Smith end-around has gained a total of about 5 yards total this season with the exception of that 61-yarder. But I guess you gotta keep going to it. Anyway, a holding flag on that play pushes Georgia back to the 9.
-- A screen pass to Caleb on third-and-18 falls incomplete, and Drew Butler will come on to try to up his average.
-- Actually it's a 54-yarder, which is right at his average.
-- ASU is actually running the ball pretty well in this game. Nance has 52 yards on 10 carries.
-- Wow, Prince Miller. Got to make that pick. He looked a little like he didn't want to get his uniform dirty and let the ball bounce in front of him.
-- Some good news for UGA fans: Kentucky held Florida scoreless in the second quarter. Of course, the Gators still lead 31-7. Oh, and those scrappy Tennessee Volunteers who really showed they were closing in on championship caliber by losing last week, is now tied at home with Ohio. Hooray for moral victories!
-- Prince Miller nearly bobbles away another turnover on a punt, but corrals the ball just before being buried at the 22.
UPDATE, End of Second Quarter
-- Richard Samuel back in the game and picks up 8 yards on a first-down carry. A false start moves the Dawgs back 5, however. That's flag No. 3 of the half for Georgia.
-- Whoops... make that No. 5. Another false start moves Georgia back another 5, setting up a second-and-12. I think some rain got into the speaker system though. The ref announcements come out sounding like Charlie Brown's teachers.
-- Rantavious Wooten with a beautiful grab falling out of bounds. That was A.J. Green-like. It picks up 27 yards and a first down. That was impressive.
-- Wooten gets a handoff and goes to midfield. The chant from the crowd? Woooooooot! I love it.
-- Wait, wait... I was supposed to do this... "Wooten the ball carrier! Wooten around end! Wooten!"
-- This game has really fallen into a bit of a lull. Georgia has a nice lead on the scoreboard, but outside of a couple nice plays by A.J. Green, it really hasn't felt like they've played better than Arizona State. Meanwhile, Dimitri Nance continues to run pretty successfully against the Dawgs' front seven.
-- Another nice hit by Reshad Jones dislodges a pass from Jovon Williams. In a delightful change of pace, no flag comes in following the hit.
-- Georgia nearly had Sullivan behind the line of scrimmage, but he hits Nance who jukes Rennie out of his shoes and moves the chains all the way up to the ASU 47. You won't see Rennie look that bad very often.
-- This time they get to Sullivan. Marcus Dowtin has the sack, but there's a flag. And the call is a defensive hold agains the Dawgs. Boy, this game has all the makings of an ugly ending. ASU keeps hanging around, running the ball well, and Georgia just doesn't seem to want to make that big play to crush their spirits.
-- Baccari Rambo picks off a pass from Sullivan for his first career interception. Cornelius Washington had a ton of pressure on Sullivan to force the errant pass. There's a perfect example of why those two guys need to be playing a lot more often.
-- If Georgia can pick up points on this drive, that's a great sign. If they don't, you have to think this first half was a lot less than it could have been.
-- And on that note, King is wrapped up in the backfield on third-and-1 and Butler will come on to punt.
-- Ty Frix's snap wasn't on point, and the punt wasn't great from Butler. The result is a first-and-10 for ASU at their own 45. So that INT amounted to about a minute-and-a-half off the play clock and backed ASU up by 10 yards.
-- Justin Houston records his first sack of the season, absolutely blazing his way through the line and dropping Sullivan. Center Thomas Altieri had to be helped off the field afterward for Arizona State.
-- Jeff Owens stands Nance up in the backfield and that'll do it for the half. Georgia 14, Arizona State 3. I gotta go do some writing, and we'll be back for the third quarter.
-- The band played from the stands so as to not mess up the field any more than it already is, but it appears it has actually stopped raining. We'll see if that makes any difference for the offenses here as we get set to kick off the second half.
-- Some interesting halftime numbers: ASU actually has 10 first downs to Georgia's 8, and the total yards aren't vastly different -- 168-128 in favor of the Dawgs. Penalties for Georgia so far: six for 45 yards. ASU has four for 41. ASU is just 1-of-5 on third down. They've outgained Georgia on the ground 59-36, but the Bulldogs are dominating through the air, 132 yards to 69. ASU has held the ball for an extra 4:30 so far, and gets the ball to start the half.
UPDATE, Third quarter, 6:39 remaining:
-- Sullivan hits Kyle Williams as Georgia brought the blitz on third-and-5 for a gain of 9. Two plays later, Nance runs up the middle for a 22-yard gain. Nance is up to 93 yards rushing in this game, and Georgia has been dismal up the middle. The pressure comes from the edge -- and Justin Houston is playing well -- but there's no push up the middle and Nance has been running between the tackles all night.
-- Georgia rushed three on third-and-8, and just as I criticize the DTs, Atkins gets the pressure to disrupt Sullivan's pass, which falls incomplete. ASU forced to punt.
-- Uga VII is hiding behind french fries... I think it's going to be No. 3... Woo! Woo! Woo! Man, I'm good at this game.
-- Caleb King with another nice run, this one picking up 13 yards.
-- Syracuse is losing to Maine. Seriously. America East football baby!
-- King gets another run and coughs up the football. Arizona State recovers. Well, I guess that at least means fewer complaints about Richard Samuel, right? Arizona State takes over at the UGA 37. Georgia turnover ratio now: 10 giveaways, 3 takeaways.
-- Nance picks up 8 on first down to put him over 100 yards for the day.
-- Dowtin continues his strong game, wrapping up Nance in the backfield on second down.
-- So all three of Georgia's tailbacks -- Samuel, King and Thomas -- have a fumble so far this season. You'd love to establish the run more, particularly in a game like this, but man it has to be a hold-your-breath moment every time one of those guys touches the ball.
-- Bryan Evans saves a touchdown as Sullivan hits Nance, who darts down the sideline to set up a first-and-goal at the 9. Nance has 140 total yards already. I'm really not sure if Georgia's D is playing any better this week or if Arizona State just isn't nearly as good as Arkansas, but either way, I definitely expected better results for the Dawgs.
-- ASU has a third-and-goal from the six. Sullivan telegraphs a pass to Nance out in the flat with absolutely no one around him. He dives ahead into the end zone for the score. Georgia 14, Arizona State 10. (8-37-3:57)
-- Well, at least Richt and Willie can say this TD also came following a turnover in Georgia territory. Just gotta execute better.
UPDATE: End of third quarter.
-- As a tip o' the cap to "Flash Forward," I think if everyone in the stadium were to suddenly black out and get a glimpse of their future, it would look an awful lot like last year's Auburn game in which Georgia sweats out a last-second drive by a clearly inferior offensive team in a game they should have put away a long time ago. And by the way, I thought "Flash Forward" was OK, but I was hardly blown away by it. A little too "Lost"-like, particularly the opening scene.
-- Aside from Samuel's 8-yard run, he's picked up just 7 yards on 6 carries tonight.
-- Well, this has officially gotten ugly. Cox tosses up a duck, which is picked off by Jarrell Holman, who jukes all 11 guys the Bulldogs have on the field and walks into the end zone on a 47-yard return. That's Cox's second pick-six of the season, and the boos are starting to come from the fans. Arizona State 17, Georgia 14.
-- Georgia's turnover ratio now: 11 giveaways, 3 takeaways. When Mark Richt said that's not sustainable, this is exactly what he meant.
-- Hey, Arizona State kicks off out of bounds. I'm guessing their special teams coach likes the challenge.
-- Opponents have now scored 50 points off Georgia's 11 turnovers, including 10 tonight. That doesn't include the safety. That alone accounts for 42 percent of the scoring Georgia has allowed.
-- A.J. Green finds a hole in the zone and picks up 19 yards. Once again, Green is the go-to guy in a situation in which Georgia needs a big play.
-- Caleb King gets back to work with a 16-yard run. His fumble aside, he needs to be Georgia's primary ball carrier. In the past two games, Samuel has carries of 80 and 8 and has averaged just 1.5 yards per carry on 23 runs. Meanwhile, King is averaging six yards a carry.
-- Logan Gray in on second down for Georgia. He goes nowhere, but ASU is flagged for offsides.
-- And the dream is dead -- Munzenmaier picks up a first down but gets just inside the 1. He gets it again one play later, and again he doesn't get in. So much for perfection, Fred.
-- Toss sweep to Samuel loses five yards. That play was broken from the beginning. I think my grandmother saw that coming. We'll start the fourth quarter with a third-and-goal from the 5.
-- Wow, just read Tebow was taken to the hospital after a hit to the head in the second half of Florida's game against Kentucky.
-- Wasted opportunity that close to the end zone. Blair Walsh again hits a field goal, keeping him perfect for the season to tie the score at 17.
-- The defense turned up the juice, absolutely demolishing the ASU offense deep in its own territory. After a slow start, Geno Atkins has put together a nice game, and he's been in Sullivan's face often in the second half.
-- Wow... that was a booming punt by Arizona State's Trevor Hankins at an absolutely crucial time. It goes 64 yards, but Prince Miller fields the kick and returns it to the Georgia 48. Crucial drive here for Cox & Co. At least they only have to go 2 yards to avoid a turnover in their own territory.
-- A.J. and TK are really leading the on-field dancing this year. Knowshon would be proud. Meanwhile the entire secondary is doing their own moves on the bench. Justin Houston's dancing could use some work. He looks like me after nine Jack-and-Cokes when I'm only on the dance floor to make my girlfriend happy.
-- Cox had Green open but the pass was defended by Holman. A late flag flies in, however, and ASU gets called for pass interference. That's a big one. Georgia sets up with a first down at the ASU 37.
-- Another holding call on Georgia on what would have been a decent gain by Caleb King. The flags are absolutely ridiculous at this point. That's eight in the game, and sets up a second-and-22.
-- Cox zooms a pass through the hands of Vontaze Burfict and into the chest of A.J. Green who gains 19. Third-and-2. Green goes over 100 yards for the second straight game -- the first time he's done that in his career.
-- King runs and comes up just a few inches short of the first down, but the Dawgs are going for it. Gutsy call if they follow through with it, as ASU calls a time out.
-- Burfict comes up and throws the referee into the offensive line. A flag was thrown, but apparently the refs didn't think it warranted an actually penalty. Or maybe there's nothing in the rule book about throwing a ref. Either way, UGA is going for it on fourth-and-inches.
-- Munzenmaier got the carry and was stopped short. I just don't know what to say. What happened to Georgia's dominant offensive line? ASU takes over with the game still tied at 17. I gotta run and write my gamer. I'll have notes postgame.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
UPDATE Pregame, 6:20 p.m.