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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.


rbubp said...

DH, I have always thought Tim Brando was something of a blustery phony, but his anger at the SEC's celebration calls in the CBS wrap-up--

--has me intrigued. He says that "the league doesn't wanting us having a deeper conversation about why these flags are being thrown." What's he talking about?


rbubp said...

mitchellpreacher said...

I was the anon 9:06 on the previous blog post, rbubp.

I just want to reiterate the difficulty I find with not coming to the conclusion that a conspiracy is in the works concerning UGA and other teams in the SEC that are not the media darlings.

As a UGA of course I am going to make the assumption that these things are happening to UGA first and foremost. I am not so naive to think that they do not occur to other teams. With that said I do believe to a certain degree that the "fix is in."

We have complained about the dour officiating for a long time. We can see it and we can point to specific calls in multiple seasons against multiple teams where one may draw the conclusion there is a conspiracy.

The comments by Tim Brando really solidified this with me. He sees it. I think that this bodes well because he has seen numerous SEC games with these type questionable calls over the course of many years at CBS.

There would be three questions I would like answered in order to move from conspiracy theory to conspiracy fact. 1. Which team is considered the media darling in each season? 2. Have there been these game changing calls which effected the outcome of the game in which the media darlings were the victors? 3. Are there "make-up" calls in these games masking the bias of the refs?

Anonymous said...

Putting the officiating aside for a moment -- we've got some serious issues on different sides of the ball. First, our offensive line is just not getting it done, especially in the middle (C and Gs). Second, our safeties seem to me to get lost at certain times. Check out LSU's winning TD run and watch Evans (angle is simply wrong), and earlier in the game, Jones is completely out of position on a long pass play. Finally, special teams, especially kick off coverage and KO return, are terrible.

On the excessive penalty, it looks to me like AJG pounds his chest when looking in the stands. This is not the first time I've seen this called as a penalty. I don't agree with it, but its the rule and the officials are enforcing it. My question: why can't our coaches stop this type of thing? Charles was called earlier for a similar move, so it is almost like our coaches don't have any control over it. There is too much of a need for individual attention from certain players on this team, and CMR should have gotten it under control some time ago. It's the same type attitude that Boykin has in returning the interception from deep in the end zone (which, if you watch, leads to 3 points for LSU due to poor field position he left the O in). We don't have the horsepower on this team to recover from those mistakes, and I think that attitude led to the L today.

mitchellpreacher said...

are you serious about the Orson Charles call? There is no way that was a penalty.

If you watch the WIS and MIN game then you will see a player scoring a TD and then chopping wood. To your surprise there is no penalty.

AJ Green did not pound his chest with his fist. I watched it again to see if he did and he did nothing. Pure junk call.

AJ Green deserves the individual attention. He needs to win the Heisman. So certainly we need to give him that.

Your argument about personal attention is nonsensical. There was nothing there about personal attention. Tebow gets more personal attention when he scores by shouting and pounding his chest but he is not called for any penalty. If you don't have a better argument then don't respond.

The rule is designed to be subjective. As a result it can be abused. Here in this instance it was abused. There is no argument you can make that allows this call to be correct.

I am tired of people excusing these calls because they want to point out the coach or players. Yeah they could have done better. But if you are going to be critical of them then be critical of the refs.

This does not matter to my argument but it was interesting second hand information. I was told that the NFL does not recruit refs from the SEC like they do from every other conference. I found that surprising but maybe it makes sense when we see the disparity between the SEC and all other conferences. I am going to have to check that out.

rbubp said...

Mitchellpreacher, re: the kickoff as per the other thread...

In that situation we should have just kicked out of bounds and let them have it at their 40. But that is way too much thinking and situational awareness for us.

uncle um said...


Because of the "celebration" penalty, they would have gotten the ball on OUR 45 if we kicked the ball out of bounds.

rbubp said...

I see you're right, um. I didn't know the rule.

Anonymous said...

Folks Brando is talking about racism being involved in celebration calls. That's why he's being cryptic.

Drew Ditzel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.