|The stadium crowd looked a little less populated two hours later.|
The Dawgs finally came out focused. We scored TDs on our first four possessions basically imposing our will on Auburn's much maligned defense. It was the most balanced the Dawgs had looked on offense in a long time. Murray put up another one of those not high numbered, but very fluid and impressive stat lines. Once again an important factor was no turnovers on offense for the Bulldogs. I was a little worried about how our passing game would look with the absence of first Bennett and now Marlon Brown, but Murray proved that the scheme that has been working all year getting the ball to a plethora of receivers was no fluke.
Gurshall came back with a strong game this week. While Gurley had put up some nice stat lines in the past few games, we really hadn't see a dominating run attack in a few weeks. This all changed Saturday and we were reminded of those early season games, with both runners going over the 100 yd mark. Marshall displayed once again his explosive ability on the long TD run, and Gurley proved to be the workhorse pounding out large chunks of yardage on a consistent basis. The Dawgs averaged over six yards a carry (certainly helped by Marshall's long TD).
The defense came out hitting early and often. The essentially shut down the run game, and forced the ball into the hands of a young untested QB. The scheme was executed flawlessly, and even when Auburn threatened to score deep in our territory, we were able to force a turnover to keep the shutout going.
I was surprised how long the defensive starters stayed in the game, however I guess I respect the notion of letting those guys go out and ensure their shutout. You could tell they were still playing with a great deal of passion at the end of the game, and the guys really wanted to put some emphasis on the game with a 0 in the opponent's score column.
One thing that will get lost in all this domination is how bad it could have been. UGA basically screamed out to a 38 point lead in the middle of the third quarter and took their foot off the gas. Given a few key injuries in the passing game as well as Murray getting a little roughed up I was happy to see the backups get in there early. It was also nice that we came out and provided the opportunity for the backups to get in there early.
The Dawgs were hitting. Great tone setting hits by Jordan Jenkins early on Quan Bray, and Rambo's pop on Emory Blake to force the fumble. Christian Robinson also made his name known with a big hit in the backfield. Great to see the Dawgs flying around knocking some heads.
Chris Conley is a guy that will have to step up given our receiver injuries, so it was great to see him get the first TD and have a great game overall. Tavarres King kept doing what he's been doing, and I keep telling people that the silent performer is good for a TD a game (and almost had two this week). Kind of freaked me out when I saw #15 galavanting over the field before I realized what was going on.
Marshall Morgan had a good day kicking the ball for once. Good to see him get back on track.
Rhett McGowan seems to be our new fair catch man, which given the woes in the punt return game I guess is acceptable.
The Georgia crowd travelled well, and man were they loud in the stadium. Great to see all those Dawg flags driving down and back on 85 Saturday. Kudos as well to the crowd for how long they stayed despite a lackluster 4th quarter to celebrate that hard earned Eastern Division crown. Mark Richt has put the Dawgs in the Dome for the 5th time in 12 years, and despite all the criticism you have to like that stat. Now it's time to go ink another SEC win, and eliminate a few more demons.