-- ESPN's camera cranes that run up and down the walkway behind the hedges have flat-screen TVs on the side. That's classy.
-- So Colt McCoy tied David Greene's record for wins. This in the same season that Tim Tebow "broke" Herschel's SEC TD record. In the same season that Georgia had four losses sooner than any year since Mark Richt took over. I think the law of averages says things have to balance out by Georgia winning a national title next year.
-- I'm guessing no black uniforms today.
-- The Ole Miss thumping of Tennessee shakes up the bowl picture a bit for Georgia. If the Dawgs win tonight, that'll put them two games up in the standings over the Vols. Of course, UT has to winnable games to close out -- Kentucky and Vandy. If they win both, they'd be a game behind Georgia (assuming UGA wins tonight and beats Kentucky) which would make the choice for the SEC rep in the Outback Bowl an interesting one. The Dawgs would be higher in the standings, but the Vols would own the head-to-head in blowout fashion. Of course, all of that is a moot point if Georgia doesn't take care of business tonight.
-- A few pregame predictions for tonight: Caleb King finds the end zone; Reshad Jones has an INT; Joe Cox completes 60 percent of his passes; A.J. Green tops 100 yards; Uga considers biting an Auburn player but reconsiders and simply lays around listlessly instead.
-- Billy Payne was honored on the field for winning the Distinguished American Award by the National Football Foundation. That beats the heck out of my Distinguished Person In My Living Room Award that I presented myself with earlier today. I followed it with a nap.
-- Man, Florida is such a fraud. Seriously, how have they been any more impressive than TCU this season? By the way, I don't want to jinx it, but my picks are looking pretty good this week.
-- And if you're looking for a prediction for this game -- I'm on an absurdly tight deadline, which means this one will come down to the final drive.
UPDATE, START OF FIRST QUARTER
-- I liked South Carolina's uniforms today. All the players had names on the back of their uniforms signifying qualities that represent the U.S. armed forces. Classy. Plus it can only help South Carolina's players for fans not to be able to identify which players are to blame for bad plays.
-- I'd just like to point out that Georgia has been significantly worse since they changed the pregame intro music to Nickleback before last season. I hate Nickleback.
-- Yup, red jerseys. I would have gone with purple. Nothing gets you fired up like purple.
-- Potential update to the pregame intro.... "This Saturday is about Finishing the Drill".... "This Saturday is about representing the Bulldog Nation".... Umm... this Saturday is about becoming bowl eligible.
-- Garrison Hearst is the honorary captain tonight. I think he's going to slip into Richard Samuel's uniform and play a few series, too.
-- Georgia will kick off to open the game. Demond Washington returns it to the 26 where the Tigers will get set for their first drive.
-- Onterrio McCalebb is playing after all, and he takes the first carry of the game for a 3-yard gain. Nice tackle by Rennie on the play.
-- Chris Todd's first pass zips just passed a diving Bryan Evans for a sizeable gain close to the 45.
-- Ben Tate uses back-to-back runs to get into Georgia territory. Not an impressive start for the UGA D. Todd follows that by hitting Adams to the 26. Evans in coverage again. Guess Auburn's been watching the film.
-- Darvin Adams hauls in another reception over the middle of the field, finding a hole in the middle of the zone between Reshad and Evans to set up a first-and-goal at the 10. At this point, Willie should breathe a sigh of relief every time Auburn runs the ball.
-- Second flag of the game (the first was declined) on Georgia for offsides on Demarcus Dobbs. Second-and-goal at the 5.
-- Todd eludes pressure and finds a wide open Kodi Burns in the end zone for the touchdown. Prince Miller was in coverage... if you can call it that. Auburn 7, Georgia 0 (9-74-3:47)
-- Interesting note on that drive: Dobbs was flagged for offsides. He didn't come out of the game. Maybe Richt's rule only applies to offensive linemen.
-- Squib kick fielded by Justin Fields and returned to the 34. Brandon Boykin's reputation is starting to catch on, I guess.
-- Quick out to A.J. is read immediately and goes for a loss back to the 29. Wow, so this is what happens if you watch film, know what's coming, and the opposition does the same things they always do?
-- Flag... Josh Davis for false start... And Vince Vance goes out to replace him but turns aorudn and trots back off the field as Georgia was nearly whistled for too many men on the field. Now THAT would have been funny. Man, Georgia can't even get the punishment for the penalties right.
-- Another flag following the third screen in three plays. This time it's offsides on the defense, however, which gives Georgia a chance to run a fourth ineffective screen.
-- Ben Jones nearly sails the snap over Cox's head. Cox leaps, hauls it in and runs forward for a 2-yard gain. The boos come early. Not good.
UPDATE, FIRST QUARTER, 9:12 REMAINING
-- Nice play by Prince Miller who sniffs out a screen to McCalebb and drops him for a 3-yard loss to the 15.
-- Rennie loses his helmet on the next play. Wonder if he's doing his Brandon Spikes impression. Third-and-seven.
-- And we have another flag. Delay of game on Auburn this time. Richt sends in a replacement for Chris Todd, too.
-- McCalebb takes a shuffle pass and picks up the first down easily. Georgia's D looks like its stands no chance against this Auburn offense.
-- On another third-and-7, Todd laces a pass to Adams, who was covered by Boykin. The coverage wasn't awful, but Todd placed it perfectly.
-- Kade Weston barrels into the backfield and tackles McCalebb for a 10-yard loss. That's the first time the pressure has really been effective.
-- Boykin misses a tackle on Ben Tate, who picks up 10 to set up a third-and-10. Wonder what will happen here.
-- Quick screen to Mario Fannin who goes around the left side and eludes three tackles for the third straight third-and-long conversion for Auburn. What a disaster.
-- Todd hits a wide open Terrell Zachery in the end zone. I won't even bother to comment on the play except that we just discussed whether Willie would be fired at halftime or last until the third quarter. Yikes. Auburn 14, Georgia 0. (11-82-5:57)
-- Hey, at least Gordon Beckham is here.
UPDATE, FIRST QUARTER, 3:15 REMAINING
-- Hey, more flags. These come on the kickoff and one hits the line judge in the back of the head. Good times. And the result... a personal foul on Georgia -- Montez Robinson -- pushes them back to the 14-yard line.
-- Toss sweep to Branden Smith who goes nowhere. Really making things happen here.
-- And it's time to punt again. What about having Willie and Bobo switch jobs for the rest of the game? I mean, when Willie's involved, the scoreboard lights up. When Bobo's calling plays, it's punt city. It makes sense.
-- Washington returns this punt to the Georgia 44, which means a three-and-out for the Dawgs. And by that I mean three plays before Auburn scores.
-- Total yardage so far: Auburn 156, Georgia -2. See what I mean about swapping Willie and Bobo?
-- Third-and-12 results in a huge sack by Geno Atkins. A flag comes in, but it actually goes on Auburn. Maybe the tide has turned. Perhaps Georgia just needed to get down big to inspire the troops... it's the like the scoreboard equivalent of a black jersey.
-- Last play of the quarter for Georgia... and Caleb King actually has a nice run, picking up seven yards to the Georgia 20. But it's still another first quarter without a first down and without a point. In Georgia's four losses this season, they have a combined seven points and 13 first downs. Today: Zero and zero.
UPDATE, START OF SECOND QUARTER
-- Well at least the Redcoat Band is keeping the energy high. "Smooth Criminal" is definitely my favorite Michael Jackson song.
-- And a nice cheer for Caleb who picks up the Dawgs' first first down of the game to the 26.
-- A.J. goes in motion and literally hides behind the right tackle, then jumps out into the flat as Cox roles out and connects for a 12-yard gain. Good stuff.
-- Another quick out to A.J. at the line of scrimmage and Green dashes down the sideline with a stiffarm to midfield for another first down. This kid has a chance to be good.
-- Holy cow... Israel Troupe wide open down the sideline and Cox connects for the touchdown. I can't blame Auburn for being surprised. Seriously, Troupe? It went for 50 yards. Auburn 14, Georgia 7. (5-87-1:51)
-- Bad news... A.J. is being taken to the locker room. Looked like he was holding his left arm. Yikes. The good news doesn't last long.
UPDATE, SECOND QUARTER, 13:04
-- Hey we can add another example to our awful kickoff list... A directional kick after a key TD and Auburn returns it to the 39.
-- Third-and-eight and -- wait, you'll be shocked by this -- Todd dumps a screen pass to Tate who does down the middle of the field like it was Moses parting the Red Sea and is brought down at the Georgia 40. Awful. Just awful. That's four third-and-longs converted by Auburn already.
-- Third-and-six for the Tigers. I'd call for a screen here. Instead, Todd looks deep, finds no one and keeps it himself. Cornelius Washington brings him down at the 36. The Tigers pooch punt and give UGA the ball at the 3.
-- Update on A.J.: Injured shoulder and the press box announcement is that he is "out for now." Umm... yeah? Wait... what about now? Or to quote "Spaceballs"... When will then be now? Soon!
-- Back-to-back runs by Ealey takes the ball across the 15 for the first down. I don't understand why Bobo didn't run the ball more early. Set the tempo. Auburn's run defense is awful. Why get cute right off the bat?
-- Nick Fairley gets around Clint Boling and dumps Cox for a 15-yard loss at the 1. Hey, at least it wasn't a safety. Or a fumble.
-- Third-and-12 and Cox's pass to Tavarres King is broken up by Neiko Thorpe, who either timed his hit perfectly or should have been flagged. It was close. Butler's punt hits Branden Smith and rolls out of bounds at the Auburn 45.
UPDATED, SECOND QUARTER, 6:34 REMAINING
-- Todd goes over the middle and hits a sliding Mario Fannin for a 26-yard gain to the Georgia 44. Georgia's pass defense is brutal. I know Ben Tate's good and all, but why even bother running at this point if you're Auburn?
-- Todd's pass to Adams in the end zone falls incomplete. Nice effort by Adams, who nearly hauled in a one-handed grab. Adams was shaken up on that play, too. Looks like his elbow. Third-and-8... screen time!
-- Just a stat update: Todd 13-of-15 for 162 and 2 TDs. Somewhere Jonathan Crompton is nodding and smiling and malevelontly stroking his moustache.
-- Flag for holding on Auburn sets up a third-and-16. Todd's arm is hit as he throws by Dobbs and Brandon Boykin intercepts the wobbler. The best part? When Boykin came off the field, Willie accidentally hit him in the face with his hand as he half-heartedly attempted a high five. I'm not even going to make a joke about that.
-- Georgia takes over at its own 25. Cox under pressure again and is sacked at the 19. He had Caleb on a screen but didn't throw it, and the blocking couldn't hold up. It's a loss of six.
-- Another incompletion by Cox and a run on third-and-16 that goes nowhere draws a huge round of boos from the fans. I'd make a joke about all the recruits being here, but I think they might be booing that play call, too.
-- Washington boots the punt and, in pure Richt fashion, the ball just doesn't bounce Georgia's way, skipping past a Georgia defender and rolling out of bounds. Auburn takes over at its own 39.
-- Third-and-4 and for some inexplicable reason, Auburn runs. Rennie & Jeff Owens make the stop and the Tigers are now mulling over what to do on four down, eventually sending out the punt team before being flagged for a delay of game. For an "up tempo" team, Auburn sure does get called for delay of game a lot.
-- Brandon Wood was a fingertip away from blocking that punt, but instead it goes out of bounds at the 3. Georgia will have 85 seconds to go 97 yards.
-- A.J. update: Left shoulder sprain, and he's out for the game. Not exactly the news you wanted to hear, I'm sure.
-- And Georgia decides to simply let the clock run out. They had three timeouts, so they could have still run the ball out from the goal line, but instead they'll be happy to go to the locker room with a 14-7 defecit, getting the ball to start the second half.
UPDATED, START OF THIRD QUARTER
-- The blogging will need to be a little sparse this half as I've got to get my game notes and game story written ASAP thanks to our 11 p.m. deadline in Macon. You see, the philosophy here is simple: If we limit our coverage by making deadlines super early, people will obviously buy more newspapers and therefore the industry will be rejuvenated and that Internet fad will go the way of the electric car and good albums by The Killers.
-- Third-and-1 for Georgia from the 38. Caleb King goes up the middle for the first down.
-- Wooten in the game for Georgia. Cox goes deep down the other side of the field where Tavarres King has man coverage. The throw is placed well but King can't haul it in.
-- King takes the delayed handoff up to midfield to bring up a third-and-4. Three wide for Georgia with King in the backfield. Cox keeps it, goes straight down the middle and out toward the sideline for a 17-yard gain. See, Joe wasn't kidding about running more. Auburn D -- you just got a visit from the Ginger Ninja!
-- Auburn has a linebacker named Eltoro Freeman. I've now decided I'll be naming my first born Eltoro Hale. It's got a real ring to it.
-- Cox pass to Branden Smith isn't particularly well placed and Smith can't haul it in. That brings up third-and-9. Cox goes deep again for King -- same play as earlier -- and the ball was perfectly thrown but slips through King's outstretched hands in the end zone. That should have been six, but instead, Walsh comes in to attempt a 51-yarder.
-- And it's good... that's 5-of-5 by Walsh on 50-plus yard kicks. Auburn 14, Georgia 10 (9-38-3:45)
UPDATED, THIRD QUARTER, 10:10 REMAINING
-- On second down, Bryan Evans had an easy shot at an interception but couldn't come down with it. On third down, Justin Houston barreled through the line of scrimmage and sacked Todd for a 7-yard loss. Credit should go to Willie, I guess. The defense has improved dramatically since the first two drives. This sure doesn't feel like a 14-10 game, but that's the score and Georgia sets up at the 18 with a chance to take the lead.
-- Back-to-back runs by Ealey go nowhere. I won't criticize since I was just criticizing the lack of runs in the play calling. It does, however, bring up a third-and-8.
-- Joe Cox just threw one of the ugliest passes he's thrown all season. The ball should have been picked off by Auburn's Josh Bynes, but instead it tipped off his hands and was hauled in by Orson Charles for a 34-yard gain. That might be the first time the ball really has bounced Georgia's way all season. Wow.
-- Wooten and Ealey have back-to-back runs down to the Auburn 30. Branden Smith's presence seemed to throw the Tigers on that one. Good play call.
-- An Ealey run and an offsides call on Auburn gives Georgia a first down just inside the 20. This drive pretty much has to end with six.
-- And it does... Ealey goes around left end and no one is home for Auburn. He's dumped right at the goal line and the refs call for a review. Ealey had a nifty little spin move around the 2 and looked like he might have stepped out with the ball at the 1.
-- It's a 19-yard gain for Ealey, but not a score. Georgia sets up with a first-and-goal at the 1.
-- Ealey works his way into the end zone on the next play. He was hit behind the line but fought and dove forward to get in. Man, you have to wonder what might have happened if Ealey had been looking this good right out of fall camp. He's been exceptional for the better part of a month now. Georgia 17, Auburn 14 (8-82-4:33)
-- Not only did he score the go-ahead touchdown, but Washaun estutely identified Uga VII hiding behind Box of Fries No. 1 on the Jumbotron. The guy is just money.
-- Darius Dewberry being taken to the locker room now, too. Not sure when he got hurt.
UPDATED, THIRD QUARTER, 4:51 REMAINING
-- It suddenly smells very bad in here. I'm going to go ahead and blame the halftime hot dogs. Those things aren't good for you.
-- Kodi Burns on the Wildcat, hands off to McCalebb who goes for a big gain down to the Auburn 37.
-- Todd hits Tommy Trott for a huge gain down the middle. He had a ton of time and found Trott in man against Darryl Gamble who was beaten badly. The play goes for a first down all the way to the Georgia 24.
-- Third-and-3 from the 17. Todd throws to his left tackle, which surprisingly draws a flag. I'll give Todd credit -- at 6-8, 305, the kid is an inviting target.
-- That brings on Wes Bynum for a field-goal attempt. He's missed just one all season, and this one is from 37. It hits the left upright and bounces through... and once again the ball stops bouncing Georgia's way. Tie ballgame. Georgia 17, Auburn 17 (7-56-2:37)
-- Amusing anonymous comment: "Bob Davie called Willie Martinez a "great" defensive coordinator. Interesting. That says a lot about Bob Davie."
-- Amusing comment from Brad: "Was Dewberry hurt on the sideline? Cause I haven't seen him since about 2006."
-- Boykin takes the kickoff and returns it to the 31. Boykin's second return before the half actually set a UGA record for most kick returns in a season with 29. That's what happens when your defense allows a lot of scoring, I suppose.
-- Holy cow... where has Israel Troupe been all year? He lays out to haul in a pass from Cox for a 12-yard gain. That was downright beautiful. It would make "SportsCenter" tonight if ESPN cared about Georgia highlights.
-- I'm not sure how effective rolling Cox out is. He's so slow that it just gives the D more time to read the play.
-- Another flag and another high snap from Ben Jones. The latter is negated by the former, a false start. Again, no personnel change. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted. Second-and-14 at the UGA 44.
-- Handoff to Branden Smith but Bynes is all over it, making a great play in the backfield for a 2-yard loss. That'll bring up third-and-16 to start the fourth quarter. And sadly, that'll do it for the live blog for tonight. Gotta have my gamer written as soon as the final whistle blows.
ONE LAST UPDATE...
-- Just like to point out that I predicted the Caleb TD and the Reshad INT. Thank me later.
Saturday, November 14, 2009