Has the UGA offense met its match?

uspw_6582150

The impressive numbers speak for themselves for offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and Co. at Georgia. In five weeks, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall have formed the country’s best backfield duo and have done so as freshmen. Sprinkle in Aaron Murray, a veteran quarterback who has a chance to shatter every passing record at Georgia, and it’s clear to see why the Bulldogs have scored a school-record 40 or more points in every game this season.

But what happens when a prolific offense gets thrown off course? Will the Bulldogs be able to keep the nation’s most well-balanced attack clicking Saturday night in Columbia?

Several outliers will affect Georgia’s ability to sustain drives, starting with South Carolina’s physical front four, the strongest unit of Lorenzo Ward’s attacking defense. What the Gamecocks lack in size and strength compared to Georgia’s three monstrous run-stoppers — John Jenkins, Kwame Geathers and Abry Jones — they make up for with speed and athleticism. All-American candidate bookends Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor are two of the best pass-rushers the Bulldogs will face this season, and they happen to be on the same team.

We all remember Clowney’s fourth-quarter rag doll sack of Murray in Athens last season, a play that resulted in a scoop-and-score for first-round pick Melvin Ingram and ultimately clinched the win for the Gamecocks. But are the Bulldogs ready for Taylor, a 6-foot-8 senior with a knack for batting down passes at the line of scrimmage? Taylor has one of the SEC’s longest wingspans and single-handedly disrupts running plays to the right side of the field. UGA’s Gurley and Marshall’s expertise between the tackles and not outside could be Georgia’s best feasible option on the ground.

South Carolina will look to stop the run first and if that happens, touchdown drives — and UGA’s shot at staying unbeaten — falls on Murray. How has the junior signal-caller performed throughout his career against quality competition? Not well. Last season, more than half (19) of Murray’s 35 touchdown passes came against Coastal Carolina, New Mexico, Georgia Tech, Auburn and Vanderbilt. Against Mississippi State, LSU and Michigan State — all ranked teams — Murray’s numbers were a pedestrian 5 TDs and 7 INTs.

He’s 0-2 against the Gamecocks, winless in bowls and has never won a road game against a ranked SEC team. In all, UGA is just 2-8 against ranked teams with Murray under center. If the passing game is forced to beat South Carolina, that would spell trouble for Georgia. South Carolina’s much-maligned first-team secondary coming into the season without Stephon Gilmore and Antonio Allen has fared better than expected thus far with just two touchdowns allowed through the air but haven’t been largely tested yet. The Gamecocks’ three linebackers are each multi-year senior starters and leaders on defense.

As Georgia coach Mark Richt would attest, this weekend’s road trip is likely the Bulldogs’ toughest test this season. UGA has one other ranked team on the schedule (Florida) and faces two of the West’s worst down the stretch. Saturday would mark Murray’s best collegiate win and one that could impact the Bulldogs’ run to an SEC and perhaps, BCS title.

COMMENTS

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please sign in or register

  • Im not sure why anyone is still comparing this team to last years or certainly 2010. There are very obvious reasons why this year’s unit is different. I get it that you’re a cockfan and you have won the last two games but The offense has been carried on Aaron Murray’s underclassmen shoulders since he’s been here. Not anymore: TG3, Marshall, that offensive line, and all the weapons outside is the difference. SC will get their sacks but they will also get burnt for being over aggressive. We have 4-5 guys that can hurt you in the open feild. those two defensive ends cant get to everyone. As long as we don’t turn the ball over in our territory we win the game. In fact that is the only reason we lost last year. But game on…both teams are undefeated for a reason…who wants it more?

    • Malcolm Mitchell better come ready to play now that Bennett is out for the season…

      • Mitchell, Conley, Brown, Wooten, King…..we’ll be fine.

        • Moreover, you forgot two things.
          Arthur Lynch: 6-5 258 pounds
          Jay Rome: 6-6 265 pounds

          Lynch has quietly worked himself into the offense (6 catches 145 yards 1 TD the last two weeks). Watch for him in the middle of the field as an escape route when Clowney provides pressure.

          Jay Rome is a redshirt freshman. He has yet to get much time, but with that build…damn. Just won, the guy will be a stud. Just wait.

      • Dang just heard this…we have depth but ya cant really replace what he brings to the feild. tough loss

  • So one of the most underrated (outside of WRs) sections of the Dawgs game is their offensive line. Let me run it down for you:
    John Theus: 6-6 309 pounds FR (LT)
    Dallas Lee: 6-4 300 pounds JR (LG)
    David Andrews: 6-2 295 pounds SO (C)
    Chris Burnette: 6-2 322 pounds JR (RG)
    Kenarious Gates: 6-5 318 pounds JR (RT)

    Now the South Carolina D-Line:
    Jadeveon Clowney: 6-6 256 pounds SO (DE)
    Kelcy Quarles: 6-4 286 pounds SO (DT)
    Byron Jerideau: 6-1 316 pounds SR (DT)
    Devin Taylor: 6-8 267 pounds SR (DE)

    So, at first glance one may think that SCar has the advantage, but there is one person you haven;t factored.
    Jay Rome: 6-6 265 pounds FR (TE)

    That boy is a biggen. He is fast, athletic, strong, and smart. What we are going to do is set two bodies on Taylor (Rome and Theus or Gates). Then to deal with Taylor we will have a TB in the back field (Ken Malcome [6-0 224 lbs], or Richard Samuels [6-2 236 lbs]) add an extra blocker to hit Taylor, giving Murray a couple more seconds to throw it downfield to one of our numerous receivers for a big gain.

    Or Richt could just have Rome hit Clowney or Taylor quick then cut inside to give Murray an escape when he feels the pressure.

    That is how I would respond at least.

    • Do you not have school or other important things to do? Jesus with these stats. Also cutting inside with Swearinger and Hampton wouldn’t be a great idea.

      • This is what I do. I look up stats. I want to work for a radio show one day, or something in sports journalism. So stats is what I do.

        • I was as jacked up about Rome as you but evidentally the coaches arent seeing something from him yet, and I believe CMR even publically questioned his work ethic in camp.

        • I believe they have more faith in arthur Lynch as a blocker right now and thats what we need for this game

        • I think it was just that he was redshirted last season and that he is still a freshman. But they will want big bodies on Clowney and Taylor. I would use Rome for that but Lynch is another great option at 6-5 260 something.

        • Where are the stats such as the last Georgia passing touchdown in Williams Brice was 2004? That means Murray has never thrown a touchdown there. Or Murray has only beaten 2, thats 2 ranked teams while with Georgia. Murray will fold under pressure, just as the stats say.

        • Well Muttscutts, considering he was a freshman and still went 14-21 with 191 yards and 0 TDs, I think we can excuse him.

          But since 2004 here are the stats of both UGA’s and SCar’s QBs at Williams-Brice:
          UGA: 58/106 (54.7% comp.), 740 passing yards (185 PG), 2 TDs 4 INTs
          SCar: 71/110 (64.5% comp.), 857 passing yards (214.25 PG) 2 TDs 2 INTs

          As would be expected, the home team has looked better (not by much). What is interesting, is that the team that has rushed for more yards in this game, has always won since 2004. In fact here are the rushing stats for both teams since then:
          UGA: 137 carries 519 yards (3.78 ypc) 2 TDs
          SCar: 121 carries 311 yards (2.5 ypc) 2 TDs (it should be noted, SCar has only rushed for 100+ yards once since 2004 in 2010, while UGA has not rushed for 100+ yards only once since 2004, 2010).

          Basically this game will come down to whoever is able to control the run game in my opinion, and I believe that UGA has a back that is better than Lattimore this season (T. Gurley) who combined with his BFF (K. Marshal) form an unstoppable rushing attack.

        • forgot to mention those stats are only for games played at Williams Brice, passing and rushing included.

    • You’re gonna end up missing us whooping that bulldog *** because you’re to busy looking up pointless stats….

  • Great Read! Good insight!

  • Okay, here’s the game in a nutshell. Georgia’s offensive line has shown the tendency to get stronger as the game goes on. The SC D may be quick, but you can get awfully worn down if you have to stay on the field defending against the running game of Georgia. This will be the difference in the end…Georgia’s offense will simply wear down SC’s defense. Georgia’s defense is not without it’s problems, but it appears their performance against Tenn was an aberration. This Georgia team will not quit. Period. Georgia 49, SC 37.

    • Danhodge you obviously do not know your opponent very well. The scar D get stronger as the game goes on and are lights out in the 2nd half. I’m not going to explain in depth because you’ll just spit some bull back out that makes no sense furthering your embarrassment. You’ll see come Saturday.

      • “I’m not going to bother refuting what you’re saying because I’m too smart.” That’s essentially what you’re saying, right? That is a strong debate tactic, maybe you should refer it to our presidential candidates.

        Your poor logic aside, Carolina is a very good team. I look forward to playing them and maybe even getting to meet some Carolina fans while I’m up there.

  • When it comes to this game you can talk stats all you want…It doesnt matter, all that matters in this game is who wants it more and unfortunately since Spurrier (I just puked in my mouth) has been a Cock (since birth) he has had a knack for beating the Dawgs. I just hope we have his number this year, both teams are great but at the end of the day the one with the most drive and heart will win.. GO DAWGS!!!!

  • Key phrase with USCe’s secondary: “but haven’t been largely tested yet.” They’re fixing to be tested by one of the SEC’s best stable of receivers, even without Michael Bennett. Provided “Gurshall” can pick up some yards on the ground, Murray will turn to the play-action pass, which Georgia has been executing with precision so far this season. Bennett’s outside blocking will be missed, but Georgia has two monster TEs in Artie Lynch and Jay Rome who can step up. It’s going to be a great game and I wish it were Saturday right now.

  • Y’all must be real worried the way you’re commenting on every story, every hour of the day. I can’t wait to not see another comment from any of y’all come Sunday.

  • Interesting to note that despite losing Bennet, this line is now flat/pickem. I bet Georgia early in the week at +3. Now you can’t get any points. I think it’s a close game.

  • South Carolina will win because they are at home. This game is a toss up because both teams are equal. The injury of Bennett will hurt Georgia and the South Carolina defense will stop Georgia well. I’m going 21-17 South Carolina.

    • I just have a nightmare scenario of Murray getting tossed around like a rag doll again. Theus is going to need help the whole game with those big fast DE’s. We’ll max protect a ton and hopefully run at Clowney and Taylor to slow their pass rush. Turn overs and field position will be key. I don’t see many length of the field drives happening in this game. UGA usually has issues with mobile QB’s and Shaw can run the zone read option pretty well. UGA throws well on 1st down and USCe is poor on 1st down pass defense. It will be a great game between two very good teams.

  • Calling JecMoore … calling JecMoore … SMH. Three in a row, man. Murray was shook and your ‘Dawgs were outclassed. As predicted.

    Whatcha got to say for yourself?

    • I’ll speak for him and say GO DAWGS GO… congratulations dude you are certainly showing all your “class” but hey enjoy it …revel in it…SCAR jumped all over us and they are certainly legit but you beat a UGA team that didnt show up and that falls on the coaching staff and not JecMoore.

  • I think it’s safe to say the correct answer to this question is “yes.”

    And jecmoore probably needs to update his “stats.”